CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Google Service Offers to Wait on Hold on Users’ Behalf

“Your call is very important to us. Please continue to hold …”

With luck, that message is followed by the option to leave your callback number for the customer service department you’re trying to reach.

Now, Google reportedly wants to make this process even easier, according to a Friday (Feb. 16) TechCrunch article. 

Per that report, Google has begun testing a feature that will call a business on a user’s behalf, wait on hold, and then call the user once a live customer service rep is ready to talk.

This feature is known as “Talk to a Live Rep,” aimed at eliminating the days when consumers had to spend untold minutes — if not hours — on hold, listening to music and prerecorded messages, waiting to connect with a customer service agent. 

According to the report, Google says the feature is available now in English for U.S. members who have signed up for Search Labs, its program for users to explore early-stage Google Search experiences, and who have opted into the Talk to a Live Rep experiment. 

TechCrunch said that while the Google Pixel smartphone has a similar feature called “Hold For Me,” using some of the same technology, Talk to a Live Rep takes things further, with Google’s systems navigating the phone tree for a user and then calling them back once a customer service agent is available. 

Hold For Me, on the other hand, can only be activated once a caller is already on hold. It’s also only available via Pixel phones; Talk to a Live Rep is available on all devices. It also asks users the reason for their call, which means customer service reps will know, too, and can update users about the progress of their call via text message.

The news follows reports from last week that Google parent Alphabet’s shares fell following word that OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, was developing a Microsoft-powered search product that would directly compete with Google.

This could potentially create a risk for Google’s search business, which generates the majority of Alphabet’s revenue via digital advertising sales, according to a Bloomberg News report, though some analysts believe that the risk to Alphabet from an OpenAI search product is relatively mild.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS Intelligence research has shown that consumers favor retailers that make digital innovations to their customer service offerings.