Saturday, April 13, 2024

A New Google Feature Could End Waiting on Hold Forever

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Many of us have spent hours waiting on the phone — sometimes during a single call — for customer service to address an issue. But the days of listening to an endless loop of hold music and a promise to speak with “the next available agent” may be coming to a close.

A Google Search Labs feature now being tested offers a way to skip the hold line entirely, by placing customer service calls on your behalf. Once Google gets to the front of the line, it gives you a call and hands over the conversation. Text message updates are available in the meantime.

This feature, called “Talk to a live representative,” is beginning to appear in Google searches for specific businesses. According to the blog 9to5Google, currently supported companies include:

  • Airlines: Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines
  • Telecommunications: Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile, Charter Communications, Cricket Wireless, Samsung, Sprint (presumably T-Mobile)
  • Retail: Best Buy, Costco, Gamestop, Home Depot, Walmart Services
  • Services: ADT, DHL, FedEx, Grubhub, Instacart, Securus Technologies, Stubhub, UPS, and Waste Management, Zelle
  • Insurance: Esurance, State Farm

You see an estimated wait time and specify the reason for the call when you first place the request.

This feature is similar to the AI-powered Hold for Me option that Google first introduced for its Pixel phones in 2020, but it is available for a much wider range of devices. You can “talk to a live representative” through the Google app on Android and Apple devices and on desktop computers using the Chrome browser.

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