Telstra BigPond launches customer service centre in Second Life

Telstra today took the next step in the ongoing evolution of their significant presence in Second Life with the launch of a staffed customer service centre. There’ll be Telstra-employed avatars available between 11am and 10pm Monday to Friday AEST to answer “service-related queries”. Obviously there won’t be too many queries from those whose connection has gone down but it’s a worthy expansion of customer service in-world.

A launch party was held from 5pm today:

There’s plenty of space to wait if it comes to that:

With sixteen sims, Telstra are a corporate behemoth in Second Life and a successful one at that. It’ll be interesting to see how many people utilise the service. The press release states that “this initiative was driven by the popularity of this virtual world with BigPond customers”. We’ve asked for some figures on this – the common assumption behind Telstra’s popularity is that BigPond customers have their Second Life usage unmetered and it’d be good to get some solid figures behind the claim.

The natural reaction from non-Second Life residents would be to ask why you’d bother logging in to ask a question when it’s easier to phone or email the query. To some extent this is valid but it misses the point of the exercise (beyond its PR value) – it’s one of the few corporate experiments in actual virtual world customer service. Whether it’s successful is only part of the equation – it’s useful research for the future when virtual worlds more successfully enable business transactions. This sort of exercise is fodder for that future.

Check it out in-world.

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