serendipitous reflections

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A failure in customer service

Let me start by being fair, and saying that for over two years we have had AT&T U-Verse service with minimal issue. That being said, it is a shame when failure in customer service puts a negative haze over a good product.

On Saturday, the cable was being goofy. When you would change to a channel it would play for a few seconds, then the picture would freeze. I called technical support and, while on hold as he checked something, it started working right again. He noted that we had a weak signal and would send someone over to check it out. Also, for our trouble, they sped up our internet access for a year, free.

The tech guy is there Sunday morning before 9:30 am to check things out. Turns out that the hardware outside was three upgrades old and was stealing some signal strength. He upgraded everything, had me check our cable and it was working fine. He said bye, I went to the gym, met a friend for lunch, did some other things during the afternoon.

When I returned Sunday night the cable was out. Angry red light flashing on the main box. I called tech support and they had me try to reset the box (I'd already tried unplugging it). That didn't work. They set up another service call, which aggravated me because the guy was just here, and now one of us will have to miss work for this. After she got off the phone with me, I unplugged the box and plugged it in again -- why not? And sure enough, it came back on -- no red light. But I decided to leave the service call on the books, just in case. Good thing, too, because Monday after I got home from work the cable was out and no unplugging was going to fix it.

Now Jeni had been out of town through all this, and she had work to catch up on. So we called AT&T and let them know that when the guy is on his way, for him to call her cell phone. They always call about 20 minutes before they get there anyway. This would give her plenty of time to meet the guy at home so she doesn't miss more work than necessary. Well, surprise surprise, the doofus calls our home number and leaves a mumbled "AT&T U-Verse" message. Not "Hi, this is Joe from AT&T -- I'm on my way. Be there in 15." What if she was out getting the mail, or away from the phone. Plus, he called at 3:27 for a 4:00 at the earliest appointment. So she had no expectation of being home at 3:27 anyway.

Well, Jeni gets home a little after 6:00 pm thinking he's still going to come only to get the message on the phone. She calls tech support and says that they called the wrong number, and his failure is why this appointment was missed. If he had called the right number, she would have been there. The guy even confirmed that the cell number was the primary number. But he called around and all the service techs were already in for the night. Now if the block of time is from 4-9 pm, then someone should be available to come out from 4-9 pm. They ask us to give them a five hour window, so I think it is reasonable to get the same.

Jeni spoke to several people at AT&T that night trying to get someone out so she wouldn't have to miss work. Of course that didn't happen. "That's impossible" was their response. Not "I'm sorry. Our guy goofed. Unfortunately, they're on the other side of town now." What further ticked Jeni off was the manager said there were too many other service tickets out for them to add us back on, after the other guy said everyone was done for the night. Someone had their story wrong, and I'm thinking it was the manager, and not the guy who actually tried to call to get someone out for us.

In the end, we're hoping they call the right phone today so we can get our internet and phone back. If they had said "I'm sorry" it would have made things a little better. If they had tried to make it work in any way, it would have softened the frustration. But instead they dug their heels in, said it's this way or no way, and never tried to make the customer feel right at all.

Let's hope they show up tonight, and for his sake, let's hope it's not the same guy from yesterday, because Jeni will give him an earful if it is.

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