Disclaimer

The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Example of AT&T Wireless Bad Customer Service

Here is a "chat" session, in its entirety, as I attempted to place an order on AT&T's website:

  • Andy Glew: So, I am about to place my order. Can you see my "cart"?
  • Andy Glew: In case you cannot, I am
  • Andy Glew: a) have an existing account - Family Plan ...
  • Andy Glew: b) am upgrading my phone, to a refurb tilt
  • Andy Glew: b') am adding a data plan for tilt
  • Andy Glew: So, my questions:
  • Andy Glew: Q1: I want to make sure that our phone numbers will stay the same: me (503-XXX-YYY4), my wife (503-XXX-YYY5)
  • Andy Glew: Q2: I want to make sure that caller ID for my wife will read her name (Rhonda Patten), not my name (Andy Glew). ---- currently it reads Andy Glew for both lines; could never get that fixed.
  • Andy Glew: Q3: my wife is not at all certain she wants to change phones - but since the new phone is free, why not get it? ---- So, I want to ask: can she move SIMM card between old phone and new phone? ----- both are AT&T phones.
  • Andy Glew: Q4: do we keep old SIMM cards? Or will you be sending us new ones?
  • Andy Glew: Those are my questions. Is there anyone there?
  • Andy Glew: ??
  • Andy Glew: I am going to assume that there is nobody there. Great Customer Service, AT&T!!!!!!
  • Andy Glew: Adding one extra line, so I can cut and paste the conversation to my blog.
More background:

There are no timestamps up above, but this spread out over a 30 minute period. I.e. I got no response from AT&T's chat support system, in more than 30 minutes.

I understand why companies like "chat": it is easier to a help person to multiplex, supporting multiple people, via chat than phone. But no response in 30 minutes?

Oftentimes I have multiple questions, as above. It might be easier to send this via email, but no, they only provide chat support.

I'm happy enough with chat support - it also allows me to multiplex - but I *do* wish that I could enter multiple lines in the text box. AT&T's submitted every time I hit enter, alt-enter, ctl-enter.

But at least AT&T's chat app allowed me to cut and paste this example...

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Still more background:

I have spent pretty much all morning trying to place this order. At work. I don't care if work complains - I am submitting this to get a phone that I can synch with my Outlook calendar (if IT allows) - i.e. I consider this work related. If company IT did their frigging job, I wouldn't be wasting my time on this.

I have spent all morning because AT&T's website keeps resetting my order. I want a family plan, and just to upgrade my own phone in that family plan. But every time I do that, it decides to give me an individual only plan. After lots of clicking, I can figure out how to persuade it to leave the plan unchanged, and upgrade the phone - but the moment I click on something, it loses all of that effort and I have to start over.

Not only does AT&T have lousy web chat customer service, but they also have a badly designed website.

I would not be using AT&T Wireless, except for 2 reasons:

(1) AT&T works inside my employer's buildings. Verizon doesn't.

(2) AT&T has GSM. Verizon doesn't.

I really wish that I did not have to use AT&T, although the reasons above outweigh

(a) AT&T's lousy service, compared to Verizon's better service and better webpages

(b) AT&T has lousy coverage elsewhere, e.g. at the Oregon coast, where Verizon does better. There are places in Oregon where only analog works - but I can't get analog from AT&T any more.

(c) AT&T has much worse coverage, requiring much more expensive roaming charges, in Canada than Verizon.

But, as usual, you can't mix and match your wants.

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Why do I post this? A vain hope that somehow, making complaints about AT&T visible might give them incentive to improve.

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Oh, did I mention that I have had to log into AT&T Wireless' account page circa once every 15 minutes? I wish that I could say that it was a security related timeout; it seems, rather, to just be caused by colliding cookies.

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I eventually found a way to email a comment to AMD. Of course, it wasn't real email - it was one of thise annoying web forms - "Choose an inappropriate topic for your email", "Choose an inappropriate subtopic for your email", "Enter text in form".

The text box seemed to indicate a 1000 character limit. So I cut & pasted this blog items' URL. But I also cut and pasted the entire blog item's text. The webform accepted it, no matter the putative text limit.

But, of course, all newlines and formatting was lost in the submission: all of the text appeared as a single paragraph.

A pox on all stupid webform and database designers!!!


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Did I mention that I was half-way through this process last night when AT&T took their webserver down for service.

TOOK THEIR WEBSERVER DOWN FOR SERVICE????!!!!!! What sort of penny-ante company doesn't stay up 24x7 in this day and age? OK, so I can't really call AT&T penny ante - but I can say, with justification, that they aren't really playing in the web era.

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Finally, taking a completely different path into AT&T's website - not beginning from the link that my company had sent me, but coming in through my existing account online - I was able to find a phone number.

The phone support person blames my issues on the Cingular to AT&T transition, and has reportedly "updated my code" to indicate that I am allowed to stay with a family plan when upgrading my phone.

OK, this makes the problems understandable. Annoying, and inexusable, but understandable.

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