This App To Fix Customer Service Woes Just Got Even Better

Photo: Courtesy of Service.

Update: Struggling with customer service is pretty much the worst. Maybe you've sat through phone calls that involve insufferable wait times accompanied by the most awful Muzak in existence. Or fought, unsuccessfully, IRL with a particularly rude salesperson, attempting in vain to get your money back for something. Service, a site and app that launched last year, set out to make things easier (and less rage-inducing) by acting as a liason between businesses and customers. And now, the startup wants to streamline that maddening back-and-forth with its newest feature that launched this week, dubbed Protect.

The feature compiles your receipts by finding them in your email and filing a customer service complaint for you, once you've provided some basic information about the situation. That then eliminates the often-futile search for that crumpled paper receipt you used as a gum wrapper yesterday, or the confirmation email lost in the disorganized abyss that is your inbox.

Beyond dealing with post-shopping situations, the souped-up Service can help you resolve airport nightmares with (slightly) less drama: The Protect function will automatically scour your email, once you've linked it up, for compensation you could be getting for flight delays or cancellations. The company expects to be able to do the same kind of automatic monitoring for other purchases soon, too; like, say, your mysteriously MIA packages from last week's online shopping rampage.

"A lot of what can be frustrating about resolving customer service issues is repeating your problem ad nauseam, struggling to find the right documentation, struggling to find the right channels," a Service rep told Refinery29. "Protect will build that dashboard of your receipts, so complaining about issues with a retailer will be much easier."

Some fashion retailers, like these, are known for having great customer service, but there are still many that definitely aren't a breeze to deal with post-purchase. Service and, specifically, its new Protect add-on just might come in handy.

This story was originally published on December 28, 2015.

Dealing with customer service, whether you want to complain about a crappy experience or negotiate a tricky refund, can be a whole ordeal. Or more often than not, just something that lingers on those to-do lists, but never actually gets done. Now, you can just have someone else do it for you — for free. Service is a site (and newly launched app) that touts itself as the middleman between a customer and a business.

Since launching six months ago, Service claims to have saved customers nearly $250K. Service's CEO and founder, Michael Schneider, came up with the concept while he was seated next to a guy who bought a Wi-Fi internet pass, plugged his computer into the plane's power ports, and proceeded to spend the last 20 minutes of his laptop's juice finding and completing complaint forms on both the airline and Wi-Fi provider's websites.

"I found it very strange that in 2015 — the 'on demand' era — when we can literally get anything from food to laundry to a massage on demand, we still have to waste our own valuable time dealing with customer service," Schneider told Refinery29. "I was sick of spending my own time on hold dealing with customer service."

It takes approximately one minute to file a case on Service's site or app, so it's an obvious time-saver for shoppers. What, if anything, could a fashion retailer (or any sort of business) gain from Service? "We’re usually getting to a consumer just before the negative social media post, sparing them brand damage," Schneider says. "We're also protecting their brand from frivolous claims, since we only take on legit cases." That said, Service doesn't always get customers what they want: Thus far, they have a 50% success rate.
Photo: Courtesy of Service.
"Consumers want to feel that a retailer doesn’t only care about them during the sale and when money is involved; they want to know a business will be there for them and treat them fairly if something goes wrong," Schneider says. Feeling like a business isn't out to screw you (or just take your money) is a good way to ensure you'll be a repeat customer.

While it may seem easier to sort out your service needs solo, delegating the sometimes-arduous experience might save you quite a lot of precious time in the long run. According to the startup, the average wait time for customer service is 20 minutes per call, or roughly 13 hours a year (a.k.a. 43 days of your life spent on hold). So, would you outsource your customer service needs to an app?

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