Clip: This Is Southwest Calling …

New on the CIO Insight website:

Southwest Upgrades Customer Service

Story about how Southwest Airlines is using automated phone calls to alert travelers to flight cancellations and other disruptions. Funny, I hate marketing and political robo-calls, but I think I’d be pretty happy it they used the technology to let me know about a problem before I got to the airport, told me my options, and let me connect with a customer service rep to rebook, if necessary.

So it’s all about context and courtesy.

The vendor involved, Varolii, has a bunch of airline clients. Another rich vein for them has been doing collection calls, particularly for banks, which some of the banks say is actually more comfortable for some customers who get embarrassed talking with a human agent and may respond better to an automated prompt to make that mortgage payment, or partial payment.

Varolii supports a number of other interaction modes, such as email and (through a partner) bulk email, with the idea that they can reach you one way if not another.So far, Southwest is just doing voice calls, partly because they need to rework their customer database to do a better job of distinguishing between cell phones and landlines before they can do mobile phone messaging effectively.

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