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T-Mobile promises to make customer service less painful with Team of Experts

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
T-Mobile says it’s going to fix the worst parts of customer service.

T-Mobile (TMUS) announced changes to the way it handles customer service on Wednesday, with an initiative called Team of Experts. Marketed as one of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier moves, Team of Experts is meant to address customers’ myriad complaints about dealing with customer service hotlines.

From the top, T-Mobile says you won’t have to talk to an automated service if you don’t want to. Instead, you’ll be able to talk to a living, breathing human. Yahoo Finance’s Ethan Wolff-Mann previously explained how to bypass a company’s robo system, but this way seems to involve a lot less screaming and cursing.

You’ll still get a robot answering the phone when you initially call in, but will then automatically be moved over to a real person. T-Mobile also says that if the Team of Experts gets backed up, they will let you choose a time when they can call you back. That’s not exactly new — I’ve had plenty of companies tell me that they can call back — but it’s still helpful.

But getting in touch with an actual person is only half the trouble when calling a customer service line. You usually end up being passed from one operator to another, repeating your issue each time, until you either give up, or finally manage to get someone who can resolve your problem.

T-Mobile’s Team of Experts program, however, will provide you with a specific group of people who will address problems with your phone or account regardless of when you call or where you call from. That alone should make for a better customer service experience.

Available to all postpaid customers

The company says Team of Experts personnel will be available to all postpaid T-Mobile customers at no additional expense, so it’s not like you have to sign up for a premium service plan to see any benefits. Postpaid customers are those who pay for their monthly service at the end of a billing cycle. Prepaid customers pay for a set amount of data, texts or call time at the beginning of a billing cycle.

No one likes calling customer service agents — not even the customer service agents — so it will be interesting to see if this plan actually takes off and becomes a successful model for other companies and industries going forward.

It’s also nice to see T-Mobile putting such an emphasis on actually calling customer service reps, considering so many other companies push either messaging bots or the aforementioned robo systems. It’ll be especially interesting to see if millennial consumers will want to talk to human agents, especially since so many younger users don’t like talking on the phone.

T-Mobile is also in the midst of trying to convince federal regulators that it should be allowed to merge with competitor Sprint (S) to better take on the likes of Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) in the wireless market.

(Verizon is the parent company of Yahoo Finance.)

The proposed $26 billion merger would whittle the wireless industry down from four major carriers to just three, and the FCC has not yet blessed the deal.

Team of Experts will be available 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, and T-Mobile’s Customer Care team will pick up from there. The company says that in early 2019 Team of Experts will be available to postpaid customers 24/7.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect that Team of Experts is only available for postpaid customers.

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Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@oath.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley. Follow Yahoo Finance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn