Alexa devices just got a new use case: live customer service help. This morning, Amazon’s e-book company Audible announced the first live customer service experience on Alexa devices, activated through voice commands. Instead of dialing a phone number or writing an email, Audible customers can ask Alexa to reach Audible on their behalf. They’re then connected to a customer service expert who can help them with their account, resolve technical problems, answer questions and even make book recommendations.
To use the option, Alexa device owners just have to say “Alexa, call Audible,” to get started.
This is not the first time Amazon (or in this case, a subsidiary) has tried to connect users to live help through a hardware device. In previous years, Amazon offered a service called Mayday on its Fire tablets that could put people immediately in touch with Amazon’s own customer service agents. However, that service shut down last June.
With Alexa devices, however, the process of reaching out to customer service may feel more natural than on tablets, because Echo owners already know how to use their devices to call friends, drop-in on family members and otherwise get connected using the calling functions. Echo devices have supported Alexa calling since 2017, for example, and the ability to call businesses following select voice commands since December.
Similarly, the new Audible voice command is able to trigger a call to the e-book company’s customer service department, as Alexa apps are assigned a phone number to facilitate these sorts of outbound calls.
“At Audible, we are always looking to further personalize the listening experience on behalf of the millions of customers we serve,” said Abhinav Mathur, Audible’s senior vice president of Global Customer Care, in a statement. “Audible isn’t just a destination, it’s a lifestyle that keeps people entertained and inspired while going about their daily routines, so we’re thrilled to offer listeners hands-free customer support from a live person while they cook, craft, or relax at home. Enjoying Audible on Alexa has never been so easy and convenient, and we hope this innovation ushers in a new era of customer service,” he added.
Audible already supported several other Alexa commands before today, including “Alexa, play my book,” “Alexa, read faster,” Alexa, next chapter,” “Alexa, what’s free on Audible?” and others.
The new customer service voice command is currently available to Alexa device owners in the U.S., 24/7.