Embarq puts live people (gasp!) back answering customer calls

First, the U.S. average price of gas goes below $2.00 a gallon. Now, the fourth-largest phone company is running a trial to put live human beings in the loop to answer customer calls. What will they think of next?

Embarq announced the move to try out live customer service reps on Monday, with 15 representatives based in North Carolina picking up the phone for customers who call Embarq customer service at 1-800-EMBARQ. 

Embarq launched the program Nov. 3 in response to complaints from customers who are sick of IVR phone hell. The trial will continue for three months, and if it proves successful with customers, the company will likely continue using real people to answer customer calls. Embarq has another 10 reps trained and available if the number of customer calls increases.

IVR is not gone, however. The company is keeping three numbers that put callers through an automated menu of options, including the main customer service number that appears on customer bills.

For more:
- Charlotte News-Observer tells the remarkable story.

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