Google Tests New Innovation That Allows Customers to Skip Contact Center Queues

The “Talk to a Live Representative” capability is a step forward in the evolution of machine customers

Google Tests New Innovation That Skips Contact Center Queues
Contact CentreLatest News

Published: February 19, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Google is testing a feature that allows customers to automate the beginning of contact center conversations.

The “Talk to a Live Representative” feature acts as a bot that navigates the IVR and sits on the call queue until an agent picks up.

When the agent does so, the customer receives a call, and they can begin the conversation.

As such, it acts like a “call back” tool, but the customer is the person who initiates it – not the contact center.

The experimental feature is now available via Google Search Labs – as spotted by a user on X.

The “Hold for Me” reference in the social media post compares the solution to an older capability on Google Pixel 3.

Yet, that feature required the user to dial the business and navigate the IVR/voicebot before holding their place in the queue.

The “Talk to a Live Representative” capability removes that busy work and is available across any smartphone.

Indeed, iOS and Android users – alongside those on a Chrome desktop – may access it via the Google app.

When enabled, users may search for a business’s contact details, and Google will present a “Request a Call” button in the search results.

Once pressed, the customer chooses the call reason, and Google then provides SMS updates on the contact’s progress.

Once an agent is on the phone, Google initiates a call, which the customer can pick up and immediately begin their conversation.

Unfortunately, the solution is only currently available in the US. Yet, users in the country may now contact various American airlines, insurers, retailers, telcos, and other service businesses.

A Step Forwards for Machine Customers

The innovation is also a step forward for machine customers, which is the overarching term for bots that perform tasks service-based activities for customers.

Last year, Gartner estimated that 20 percent of contact center traffic will come from machine customers by 2026 – and these innovations make that prediction even more likely.

While that may prove a positive for customers, if such solutions gain momentum, agents may end up waiting for customers to join the conversation.

If that’s the case, it will suck up more of their time, increase labor costs, and – according to Sr. Director Analyst at Gartner Uma Challa – impact agent performance.

As a result, Challa advocates for contact centers to create a machine customer strategy. She noted:

Organizations without a machine customer strategy in place won’t have a good way of distinguishing between human and machine customers. They may see their non-chatbot channel performance get worse without understanding why.

Tracking these interactions, innovating around the routing process, and creating new agent guidance – so they understand precisely what to do when handling these interactions – are likely critical pillars of this strategy.

Yet, whatever the case, talk of this new product underlines the increased accessibility of automated assistants that allow customers to behave in new, surprising ways.


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Brands mentioned in this article.


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