Products + Test-drives

Serenity Now: Why you should pay startups to deal with all your customer service hassles

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 13, 2015 - 1:59PM

Dealing with a service call to Time Warner is the stuff of New York legend at this point, and rightfully so. But in fairness, any call to most utilities companies—or for that matter, any customer service line—isn't what your average sane person would call a "pleasant" experience. (Have you ever tried to get your name taken off a Con Ed account? That process is NO. JOKE.) 

Enter AirPaper, a new Oakland-based startup with an incredibly simple M.O.—pay them $5, and in exchange, they'll cancel your Comcast service for you. They explain their mission as such:

"Billions of hours of beautiful human life are lost each year to terrible but required processes. At AirPaper we're dedicated to helping people spend as much time as possible doing the things they love. We love turning bureaucratic processes into surprisingly pleasant processes we call 'AirPapers'."

As CityLab points out, users do run the risk of entrusting their personal account information to an unknown startup, though AirPaper promises never to sell or otherwise misuse customer data. Naturally, they're working on expanding the service to other paperwork-heavy nuisances, and encourage visitors to the site to write the founders with suggestions.

In the meantime, we're all for the idea of outsourcing these kinds of tasks in any way possible. (This is the best kind of version of throwing money at your problems.) For instance, after less-than-stellar service from a startup that we won't name here, one Brick staffer recently set their Zirtual Assistant to the task of reaching the company's suspiciously hard to locate customer service line. (Presumably one could use TaskRabbit and other sites like it to similar ends.)

Just think of it: Play your cards right, and you could never have to listen to hold music ever again.


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