The Jerusalem Post

Comms firms told to give customer service via text apps


Israel’s communicat­ions companies will soon be required to take customer inquiries via digital chat services like WhatsApp, SMS, website chat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Communicat­ions Minister Yoaz Hendel announced the ruling Wednesday, following a ministry hearing last month.

The purpose of the move is to improve the quality of customer service provided by the companies under the Communicat­ions Ministry’s control, which includes Bezeq and Internet and cellular operators. Customers find these channels easier to use, and during the past three years, such requests have increased threefold while phone calls for support have declined 21%, the ministry said.

At the same time, the ministry will allow telecommun­ications companies to reduce the operating obligation of call centers to 45 hours per week, to streamline the call centers and encourage competitio­n for quality customer service to the consumer.

Call centers for inquiries regarding malfunctio­n, overseas roaming services and theft or loss of equipment will continue to operate without change, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The companies’ obligation to comply with the provisions regarding the response times set forth in their license will continue to apply, the ministry clarified.

The ministry has not yet decided how to ensure optimal service for subscriber­s 65 and over who are uncomforta­ble with chat, and will make a final decision about that soon, it said.

“With the WhatsApp reform, we continue to promote an innovative consumer world, with more text messages and public inquiries, and less online waiting times,” Handel said. “The reform will allow companies to invest in new channels of service centers. We will continue to work for quality service for citizens in the communicat­ions and cellular market in Israel.”

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