Google’s new “Talk to a Live Representative” feature will call a business for you, wait on hold for you, and call you when a human representative is available. 

Being Tested 

Similar to Google Pixel’s existing “Hold for Me” feature, “Talk to a Live Representative” is currently in testing in the US by Google’s Search Labs members (those who experiment with early-stage Google Search products) on the Google app (Android and iOS) and desktop Chrome. Following (successful) testing it’s been reported that the feature will be made available for all search users, i.e. on all devices, not just on Google Pixel phones. 

Improved Version of Hold For Me 

Although “Talk to a Live Representative” is similar to “Hold for Me,” where the Google Assistant waits on hold for you and notifies you when the support representative is ready to speak with you, it’s slightly improved in that it handles the entire process and shortens it. For example, “Talk to a Live Representative” proactively calls the business on your behalf in the first place and asks you the reason for the call so the customer service representative will already know why you’re calling. 

In short, the one major time and hassle-saving point of the “Talk to a Live Representative” feature is that you only need to actually pick up your phone when a human at the company is available to talk to you. 

‘Request A Call’ Button 

Users will know if they can use the feature to call a business’s customer service number because Google will display a “Request a call” button next to its search listing if that business is supported. The button can then be used to select the reason for your call and Google texts you with updates about its progress and calls you when a human customer representative becomes available. 

Some Companies Already Supported 

Although the customer service numbers for some companies are already supported by the new feature, it’s perhaps not surprising that these few are large, mostly US-based companies such as airlines (Delta and Alaska Airlines), retail giants (Costco and Walmart) and others including Samsung, ADT, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and more. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

Although this is an updated/improved existing product being rolled out to a much wider market beyond Pixel phone users, it will be easy for any businessperson to see its potential value. Most of us will have experienced the frustration and inconvenience of having to be made to wait a long time on hold on customer service numbers (often being cut off) whilst also being distracted, having our attention divided, and feeling stressed by having to monitor the phone to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity when it’s answered.

Provided it gets successfully through the testing phase and does what it says on the tin, “Talk to a Live Representative” sounds like a feature that could be of real, practical use to UK businesses large and small. It sounds as though it could save businesses time, hassle, and stress and help them to concentrate more on their work, and help minimise disruption. Unfortunately, there’s no clear date for its general roll-out … if only Google could call us when the feature’s ready to use.

By Mike Knight

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