Is Tech Support Passe?

The next time you think you are getting bad tech support, think about AT&T. AT&T is king of poor customer service and even worse at tech support. It is bad enough that when I go to an AT&T store it always takes a minimum of 2 hours and the result is that they try to sell me something, but this recent experience really took it over the top:

We actually had everything working the way we wanted. We have a micro cell in our house so that we can actually get service where we live. Caller ID was working well. Then we got the letter…”You have been automatically upgraded to our new and improved plan – you don’t have to do anything. Congratulations!”

All of a sudden, when we place outgoing calls, everyone on our plan sees “Fort Lupton, Colorado” instead of our names. Yes, I live in Colorado, but no-where near Fort Lupton. Friends and customers stopped taking our phone calls because they couldn’t see it was us, just an unidentified number from Fort Lupton.

So we called AT&T – and of course got the obligatory support technician from somewhere overseas. Sorry sir, we will have this fixed for you in 3 business days. Three business days! Can’t they just update a database record and have it work again? After all, I didn’t request this “upgrade”. All I want is for people to see it is me when I call them. So we wait for 6 days and nothing changed. We call AT&T again.

This time we ask to speak to a supervisor. We explain the situation: Our plan was automatically “upgraded” and now no one can see who is calling them on their caller id – they just get a generic “Fort Lupton, Colorado” indicator rather than our names. Since we use our cell phones for business, it is critical that the person we are calling can see who it is. Please change it back so that our names show up on people’s caller’s id. No problem sir – it will take 3 business day. You’ve got to be kidding! Three business days! so we patiently wait 3 days (actually, we wait 5 just to make sure).

Nothing has changed, so we call again. For some lucky reason, we actually get connected to a guy that speaks English! We explain the whole problem to him again. He seems to know what he is talking about and assures us the problem will be resolved (in 3 days of course!). Of course nothing has changed – our customers still can’t see our names when we call them. This has become totally annoying. we never asked for this upgrade in the first place and now it has caused us all kinds of problems and we’ve spent hours on the phone waiting for customer support.

One final attempt: we call again. this time here is what we are told: We can’t fix this! Sorry loyal customer it is your problem. the only way to resolve this is to have all of our friends, family, and customers contact their phone company and ask them to re-set their caller id! What?! So you are saying we need to have several hundred people call Qwest or whoever and ask them to re-install their caller id so they can see who is calling them, even though this is something you broke? Look, I just want out of my contract so I can start over with someone else.

Sorry sir, that is not an option – you are committed to using AT&T for one more year.

The next time one of our customer’s feels like they are getting bad customer service because it takes me an hour or two to get back to them – I hope they read this story. Is it any wonder that our economy is broken?

Here is a related story from over 4 years ago – and AT&T still hasn’t fixed their service issue:
http://consumerist.com/2008/03/10-confessions-of-a-telephone-tech-support-quality-assurance-guy.html

and another one from last year:
http://crosslandteam.com/blog/2011/09/08/dear-att-i-received-your-love-letter/

Bottom line: Do NOT purchase anything from AT&T ever!