Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Technology and Customer Service

I frequently struggle with how to curate the 'perfect' blog, wondering if certain post-worthy topics are really appropriate for a blog aimed at teaching and technology. But sometimes I encounter really cool things and it seems a shame not to write about them, if for no other reason than to preserve my memories. And so....

A few nights ago I encountered the most mind-blowing intersection of technology and customer service. I was using my Jetblue American Express card to buy a holiday gift via phone, from a restaurant located on the opposite side of the country. I recognize this set of circumstances is basically one giant screaming red flag: A purchase was made in California, using a credit card based in New York, and the card itself was not present at the time of the transaction. I suppose it's not so shocking that Amex picked up on this abnormality and put a hold on the card, but the what happened next is what really impressed me.

I received an email saying the credit card company suspected fraud. The email asked me to call a customer service number to check out the charges, which I did from my iPhone. The automated operator on the other side of the line asked for all the usual forms of credentials, and then offered to text message me with a link to the suspected charges. This SMS came in while I was still on the call, and it suggested I switch to speaker phone. What came next was an amazing feat of synchronization: All of the sudden, the automated operator was aware of the fact that I was looking at the link Amex had sent me. The phone call and the web page I was viewing synced up, so that when I clicked "Approve Charges" in my browser window, the operator confirmed via phone that the charges were OK. I have already come to expect pretty great customer service from both American Express and Jetblue, but I sat in total awe of the magic that went on before me as they ensured there were no erroneous charges on my card.

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