Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Press 1 for English, Oprime dos para espanol

A new business called Bringo! has arisen to alleviate the frustrations associated with calling companies' customer service lines. Below is how one of the founders, Marcin Musiolik, describes the company:
"Our mission is to help users skip phone trees and connect with a real human on the customer support phone lines at many companies throughout the U.S. Users simply choose the company they wish to call, and we’ll dial the company directly, navigate their phone tree, and call them back when they are in queue for an operator or customer service representative.”
Do you think this is a sustainable business idea? Any thoughts on who their real market would be or who they should market to?

(after looking at their site, they don't have a number, address, or email where you can contact them, which would make me nervous if I was giving them my phone number)

(Source: Freakonomics Blog)


Anonymous said...

How can a company just have a business based on helping people avoid phone trees? Where is there any revenue in that? If I were calling a 1-800 number, I would not pay any extra money to a service just because I am too lazy to wait to press a couple of buttons. I do not see how this can be a company that wiill survive. However, the company does have the advantage of a broad amount of consumers. Pretty much everyone is going to have to call their credit card company over a discrepancy of some sort, and "Bringo" has a list of 65 different contacts within these companys.
I cannot see how this business will produce any sort of revenue, but it does have the advantage of a large group of consumers. I guess whether this will succeed or not depends on whether we are too lazy to sit and press a couple of keys, or just get the number straight from "Bringo," which is probably just as much trouble.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Schulz when he asks about the revenue for the company, but I believe that the idea is pretty genius. If you take a look at society today, people are VERY lazy, and the economy is based heavily on "service" jobs and businesses. America is a company where many people are in a hurry and if they had the option to sit and listen to a phone tree or do the 10 million other things they have to do, I think they would chose to do something else. If someone else is willing to sit and listen to the phone tree for you...why not?

-Sara Diehl

Anonymous said...

I do not see how "Bringo" is a sustainable buisness idea. As Nick and Sara both have said there is no visible revenue being generated to support the efforts of this company. How can a company survive solely on helping lazy or extremely busy people navigate phone trees? Even with a broad range of consumers such as travel agents and computer services, it would be difficult to find any source of income by only helping with the phone serivce.

However i do see an opportunity for revenue in advertising. The name "Bringo" could be worth more on billboards and websites then the services they offer. So instead of making money off physically navigating the phone tree, their company and name could be used to promote other companies or sponsor events generating considerable income.

-john schmidt

Anonymous said...

a) charging money for the service
(this is only the beta version, when the full version comes out they may begin to charge)
b) advertising
it's a website. if it becomes popular, they can start charging for advertising. how do you think search engines like yahoo and google made their first profits?

i think they need to work on their promises of reliability...right now it looks as though they may be making a little cash on the side by selling our phone numbers to telemarketers. this website lets them know what services we're interested in, after all...

Anonymous said...

To me, it only seems like this could be a sustainable business if calling the companies directly were the only option. Most people could probably answer their questions or clear up problems by going to the companies' web sites. The small minority of customers who are unable to solve their problems this way are not likely to be able to support the company. It seems to me that the best market to approach with this idea would be the elderly, most of whom are probably computer illiterate. I think there might be a possibility to increase revenue, however, if they played an advertisement every time they called a customer. They could navigate the tree, but, in return, you would have to listen to a 30 second pitch from some random company.

-Jordan Croom

Anonymous said...

Convenience drives the market for goods. Say your computer crashes and you call Dell or HP or Apple (a Mac would NEVER crash, though). Typically, troubleshooters have to go through a slew of menu options before even speaking to a real human being. This is quite time consuming. "Bringo" says that they will call when one of the operators is available, instead of the troubleshooter having to stay on the line for a representative. I think this could do very well for the technological support industry. Granted, "Bringo" wouldnt solve the outsourcing problem for most tech support divisions but it would make it a little more convenient. There are always flaws in any beta structure and one of the flaws i notice would be the possibility of spammers flooding the lines just as junk email eats up bandwidth of email providers.