T-Mobile Touts Customer Care Reorg and Not New OTT Service at Anticipated Press Event

Those hoping that Wednesday morning’s highly anticipated T-Mobile press event would provide details on the wireless operator’s upcoming OTT service came away disappointed.

With T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeting daily in the run-up to the secretive presser, billing it as the company’s next big “Un-carrier” announcement, a conventional wisdom took hold that the No. 4 U.S. wireless company was finally going to take the veil off a video platform it originally announced back in December, when T-Mobile bought pay TV start-up Layer3 TV.

The company’s big announcement, however, was a new customer service scheme, which it calls “Team of Experts." The system, T-Mobile said, eschews the interactive voice response (IVR) systems it claims are a major contributor to the unpopular reputations of most U.S. cable and wireless companies.

Related: T-Mobile: Layer3 TV Hindered by High Programming Costs

Under the new system, customers are assigned call centers dedicated to their specific region, with limited IVR and AI interaction. The program officially rolled out Wednesday (English only for now), but T-Mobile’s Callie Field, executive VP of customer care, said that testing of the new system improved T-Mobile’s Net Promotor score by 60%.

“You’ll never be bounced from department to department. You’ll have a team of experts that will completely own your experience end to end,” Field said. “If you call back the next day, it’s going to go right back to the same team. They’re going to make sure that it is solved and that you’re happy with the resolution.”

T-Mobile didn’t disclose how much it’s spending on the initiative … or how many customer service reps, if any, will be hired. It did say that customer care teams will be divided by geography, with each rep situated on a team that is “highly trained to handle a wide range of topics, sometimes working with specialists....to solve even the most complex issues.”

“Most companies build these huge walls of technology because it’s cheaper for them,” added Mike Seaver, president and COO of T-Mobile. “They base everything on call deflection, which is a measure of how well they’re doing not talking to you. Call deflection is how they measure success.”

Just as he did in December, when he touted the Layer3 TV purchase as the foundation of a new T-Mobile OTT platform, Legere kicked off Wednesday’s event by telling the room that the operator was about to take care of another “pain point” plaguing the telecom industry.

But it soon became apparent that he was deflecting the announcement of the video service down the road.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!