Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Liveperson says: "I have not taken the Turing test."
Should customer service have to pass the Turing test?
I had the misfortune to have to contact Earthlink today about a customer service issue, on behalf of a friend I was trying to help. (To be clear, Earthlink is not my ISP, and does not host this Web site. But over the years they have acquired various other companies, including Mindspring, to whom members of IGC including Peacenet, of which I used to be a member, had previously been sold. So I know several Earthlink customers.)
Earthlink doesn't publish a customer service e-mail address, so I couldn't send an e-mail message, go about my other business, and check for any response at a later time of my convenience. Instead, my only choices were to wait on hold for half an hour to talk to someone, or take the time for "live" chat with Liveperson.net, to whom Earthlink has outsourced its customer relations.
I did the latter, but it wasn't clear whether I was interacting with anything live at all -- so much so that eventually I had to ask:
'Sharon Wayne' says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?
Sharon Wayne: You can contact us anytime via Live chat or call us at 1-888-327-8454.
Me: What is the e-mail address for customer service? Chat is very inconvenient and unnecessarily time-consuming.
Sharon Wayne: You can contact us on -888-327-8454 as we do not have any email address for customer service department.
Me: Please report a customer request that you implement a customer service e-mail address, and advise me of the ticket number for that report so that I can follow up if I don't get a better explanation for your lack of e-mail support.
Sharon Wayne: We do have a section on the EarthLink support page which you can use to submit your view point.
Sharon Wayne: Let me get that for you.
Sharon Wayne: You can get back us on the following link.
Sharon Wayne: http://support.earthlink.net/contact/customer-feedback.php
Me: The page you referred me to says, "NOTE: If you need a response to your issue, please click here to chat with a live EarthLink representative." That's what I have done, since I do need a response.
Sharon Wayne: Just to confirm, are you saying that you want me to let EarthLink know to have them implement a customer service email address.
Me: Yes, and advise me of the ticket number on that request and how to follow up on it if I don't get an answer.
Sharon Wayne: With regards to the implementation request I will let my supervisor know. But I would also want you to use the link I gave you as you will hear from EarthLink.
Me: I used the link you gave me. It told me to use this chat. Please advise the ticket number for this request, and how to follow up on it if I don't get an answer.
Sharon Wayne: Okay. Kindly give me a moment.
Me: Thank you.
Sharon Wayne: You are welcome.
Sharon Wayne: Thank you for your patience.
Sharon Wayne: The Ticket number for this request is XXXXXXXXX.
Sharon Wayne: I do not mean to rush you, but are you still with me?
Me: Yes. I am waiting for the information on how to follow up if I don't get a response.
Sharon Wayne: The Ticket number for your request is XXXXXXXXX.
Me: I am trying to work on other things, and checking this chat window intermittently -- just as you, I presume, are trying to engage in multiple chat sessions simultaneously.
Sharon Wayne: Okay.
Sharon Wayne: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
Me: Yes. I am still waiting for the information on how to follow up if I don't get a response to my request for e-mail support.
Sharon Wayne: You can contact us on -888-327-8454.
Sharon Wayne: You can contact us on 1-888-327-8454.
Me: Okay. Do you pass the Turing test?
Sharon Wayne: You will get a call back on the customer service email address implementation issue.
Sharon Wayne: Else you can contact us on 1-888-327-8454.
Me: I will take that to mean, "No, I do not pass the Turing test."
Sharon Wayne: I have not taken the Turing test.
Me: I thought so. Good night!
Sharon Wayne: Thank you for using EarthLink LiveChat.
Sharon Wayne: It was a pleasure assisting you. Have a great day and take care.
Sharon Wayne: Bye.
Sharon Wayne: Should you need further assistance, please contact us again.
Extra points for anyone who can figure out from the odd syntax and Capitalization what the native language was of the person who wrote the scripts for this 'bot. I don't know, so leave your guesses in the comments!Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 2 March 2011, 13:12 ( 1:12 PM)