I was on a U.S. carrier's web site today looking up some information on 3G phones. All of a sudden a "chat" box opened up. I thought what fun. I'm searching for this information and now someone is here to help me. The problem was … they seemed to have NO IDEA what I was talking about.

Our conversation (with the wireless service provider name deleted for privacy)

Thank you for your patience! [Carrier] sales representative will be with you shortly.

You are now chatting with Mary M, [carrier] sales representative.

julie: hi mary

julie: i have a quick question for you

julie: what do you call your 3G network

Mary M: Welcome to [Carrier] online Sales support. I am reading your question and will be right with you.

julie: how do I know if I have a phone or plan connected to your fast network

julie: Mary … are you there?

Mary M: Do you currently have a wireless phone?

julie: i do

julie: but that's a separate topic

julie: i'm wondering how you market to consumers

Mary M: What are you looking for?

julie: how can I tell if a phone is on your 3G network or not

julie: what "key words" do I search on

Mary M: Are you asking about how to find out if a phone we don't sell will work on our network?

julie: no – what I'm wondering is

julie: if I wanted to get a phone that was 3G-capable, how would I search for that feature among phones on your site?

julie: and how can I look up how much a data plan (for web access) would be for that phone?

Mary M: You can view our phones by going to shop/ phones and devices. From there you can filter the phones by features you would like.

julie: ok – I'm on that section of the site, but I don't see where I can sort on phones, for example, with access to the "high speed wireless broadband" or "3G" or something like that

Mary M: Unfortunately, we don't have a way to single out only those phones in your search. The best way would be to select the features you can filter with such ad PDA, manufacturer, etc and see what 3G phones are available.

julie: ok, thanks

Mary M: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Mary M: I haven't heard from you so I'm going to close the chat session now. Thank you xxx. Have a nice day.

The chat session has been closed by [carrier] sales representative.