Verizon FiOS has done an admirable job with their online chat-based customer service, making it seem incredibly real and human. You almost forget that you’re not talking to a person over the phone. One of the ways they make this simulacrum seem so life-like is that you can be transferred from one agent to another, and then there’s silence on the other end because there’s no one there — just like the real thing! Reader Michael shares a recent chat transcript to illustrate:
Chat Subject:FiOS Telephone (Other)
Your Question:Status/billing of recent service visit.
A Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you.
10:50:30 Estimated wait time is 1 min 4 secs. We apologize for the delay. You are next in the queue. A representative will be with you shortly.
Agent Tina has joined. (10:50:40)
Tina : Chat ID for this session is xxxxxxxxxxx. (10:50:40)
Tina(10:50:45): Thank you for using Verizon FiOS Technical Support. My name is Tina, for security purposes please post the name, address, and telephone number on the account as well as a good can be reached telephone number.
Michael(10:51:08): Michael ***
Tina(10:52:19): Ok, sir is your questions billing related?
Michael(10:53:08): Partially, we had a service disruption due to a contractor damaging our incoming line. You guys sent someone out last week to put in a new line and someone else buried that line this morning.
Michael(10:53:39): Is there a fee for this service? If so, I will need a bill generated soon so I can have my contractor pay it.
Tina(10:54:34): Ok, i need to transfer you to the billing department for this matter
Tina(10:54:34): please allow me one moment
This session is being transferred. (10:55:20)
This session is transferred to Melinda. (10:55:30)
Agent Melinda has joined. (10:55:30)
Michael(10:58:25): Is someone there or not????
Michael(10:59:23): I see that you have accurately reproduced the experience of calling your 1-800 number with a new chat environment.
Michael(10:59:50): Kudos, for turning an internet-based tool into a slow mechanism for answering a quick question.
Michael(11:00:58): FYI, I have no intention of closing this chat session because I want to see just how long it takes you, and I think the consumerist.com would be curious to see this as well
Michael(11:01:07): 6 minutes and counting…
Your session is now closed.
Thank you, have a nice day.
Congratulations, Verizon FiOS. It’s so real, so dynamic, almost sensual. You can bury your line in my yard any time.