AT&T Launching Software to Handle Customer Complaints

John Krautzel
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AT&T plans to launch new customer complaint software that provides real-time data to its customer service employees. The program classifies complaints by location, verbal keywords and callers' emotions. Another facet of the software analyzes social media posts that impact the company's reputation.

When AT&T receives a ton of customer complaint calls from one area, the software analysis directs representatives to a possible course of action. Employees can reassure an individual customer that he is not the only person with this problem and that AT&T is working to correct the issue. If there is bad weather, an electrical outage or some other local issue, the representative can communicate that to customers thanks to the location-searching software.

The program records various keywords during a call. These keywords develop product pitches for the same customer related to that person's interests. A customer complaint then turns into a possible sales advantage. AT&T can improve customer relations on the spot thanks to its new computer program.

The customer complaint software even senses emotions based on word usage and a person's tone of voice. An angry customer may be eligible for a discount to mitigate the complaint more quickly. A discount off next month's bill saves employee workloads and encourages the customer to order more products from AT&T later. A happy customer may get two or three sales pitches based on what that person said on the phone. An increase in sales for happy clients makes up for any freebies given to unhappy customers.

AT&T's analysis even reaches into social media. The system tracks keywords on posts made to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. When people discuss AT&T negatively or positively, the company notices and reacts quickly. Social media users expect a response to their complaints within an hour, yet nearly three-fourths of companies ignore social media complaints entirely. AT&T wants to fix that detriment.

Social media has transformed the way companies deal with customer service. When "X-Men" star Sir Patrick Stewart complained about Comcast on Twitter, the media noticed and the massive cable company engaged in damage control for a week. AT&T's new software alleviates a problem like Comcast's difficulty in less time.

Other companies approached AT&T to install their customer complaint software in their systems. The value of this type of real-time data analysis is clear. When a company reacts to complaints faster, paying customers are more likely to stay. If response times are slow, another company steps in to fill the void left by busy signals, hang ups and a lack of social media response.

A strongly worded letter or angry phone call no longer denotes a customer complaint. Proactive outreach with real-time data, social media awareness and better software marks changes in the way companies must compete for revenue by automating the complaint process. Automation saves time, money and customers without sacrificing quality.


Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart at



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