Onlookers hoping for the rollout of T-Mobile US’ Layer3 TV offering at its latest Uncarrier event today (15 August) were left disappointed, as the operator instead revealed an overhaul of its customer care model.

T-Mobile said it is dropping automated call menus from its customer service set-up, connecting subscribers directly to a live service team to address their problems. Customers will be able to schedule care calls at the time of their choosing and will be connected to the same care team if follow up interactions are necessary.

US-based teams will field daytime calls, while international employees will serve customers who call after hours or during periods of high call volumes, a T-Mobile representative told Mobile World Live (MWL).

The operator said it spent the past two years testing and scaling the programme, which is now live for post paid consumers nationwide, and is being rolled out to business and public-sector customers.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere (pictured) noted the design will be extended across operations if its proposed merger with Sprint is approved and will serve as the customer service foundation for its forthcoming Layer3 TV offering.

The operator also announced it is giving subscribers a free year subscription to Pandora Plus’ music streaming service and will offer customers exclusive access to concert and event tickets via a new partnership with LiveNation.

Addressing frustration
T-Mobile said the service shift is meant to address widespread consumer frustration with automated and bot-based systems which make it hard to connect with care representatives. T-Mobile EVP of customer care Callie Field said the model will also help reduce turnover among call centre employees by reducing the amount of abuse they endure from exasperated customers.

Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, a director at analyst company Strategy Analytics, told MWL the move will give T-Mobile a new way to differentiate itself and manage churn as US network parity and smartphone penetration increase.

But it could also help T-Mobile fulfill a promise to add “thousands” of jobs should its merger with Sprint be approved. Matt Staneff, T-Mobile’s chief commercial officer, told MWL the plan to launch its new customer care model was in place when the merger was announced, adding the company will hire as needed to support its growing customer base.