Verizon is launching a new tool to help customers troubleshoot issues remotely, the company announced today. The tool should allow Verizon to support customers without requiring a field technician to step inside their home. Verizon told The Verge it was piloting a “virtual assistant tech tool” last week, and now it’s sharing more information about it.
“This new tool gives us the ability to provide the excellent service our customers deserve while keeping them and our technicians safe in these unprecedented times,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, in a statement.
The tool is intended to be used for service calls that need to be completed in your home, such as troubleshooting your router. To use it, Verizon will send you a text with a link, and you’ll have to tap that to open the tool in a web browser. From there, you’ll be able to share pictures or live video with a Verizon technician who will remain outside your house during the call so they can see the issue you’re trying to fix and give you recommendations. The Verizon technician can even draw or circle things on the images you send to suggest ways to fix the problem.
Verizon says it will still be dispatching technicians for needed repairs that take place outside, but it told The Verge last week that it’s “making every attempt to perform work without going inside homes or small businesses” to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As part of those efforts, it has been canceling scheduled appointments for internet installation and repairs, though self-install options are available for “qualified service orders.”
Update April 13th, 2:45PM ET: Added link to Verizon’s press release.