Tag Archives: customer service

“Valued” or Why I cancelled my AT&T internet exemplified by trying to cancel

When I moved to Chicago almost 4 years ago I setup AT&T DSL.

Toward the end of last year I upgraded the Mac Mini hooked up to my TV to the newer server model and decided I needed a static IP address. However AT&T’s pricing for such options were not great and I found I was able to get a better deal elsewhere. Even so, I decided to hold off.

I decided around the same time to disconnect my landline phone. AT&T offered a “dry loop” option so I moved to it to lower my rates. However, doing so raised my internet rates but not my total bill (since phone cost was removed). Soon after, I started getting hounded via email to combine my wireless service with my internet service or they would raise my rates again. I looked into this and learned that the discount I received from my employer on my wireless service would be removed so I opted not to. Still I received pseudo-threatening emails to do so.

Then the last straw came when I learned about the new DSL terms and conditions introducing data caps and other customer hostile tactics. I contacted a new provider, had them set up and called on Saturday to attempt to cancel my service. The setup took all day Friday and once I was up and running I saw it was past business hours so I would call AT&T in the morning to cancel.

However, it seems AT&T’s billing department was not open on Saturday. So I called customer support, they let me know they were unable to cancel my account on the weekend but gave me a direct line to call and do so on Monday. He ends the call with “Thank you for calling AT&T where you are a valued customer.”

If their customers are so valued, why is the billings department only open weekdays from 8-5? Most people have Monday to Friday jobs during those hours, making it very hard to call to straighten out a billing issue if necessary. Doesn’t seem like AT&T values my time. Luckily I had today (Thursday) off and I gave them a ring. Here is what followed.

The first rep answers the phone doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is confused when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and then tells me she needs to transfer me to billing.

The second rep picks up doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is confused when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and then tells me she needs to transfer me because she’s in Texas.

The third rep picks up actually gives me her name, asks for my phone number understands when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and asks what I need. I tell her I’d like to cancel, she tells me she needs to transfer me. I tell her this will be my third transfer and I keep being told that I’m being directed to the right person. She apologizes thoroughly and promises this will be my last transfer, gives me a new direct line to call incase I get disconnected.

The fourth rep picks up doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is annoyed when I tell her I have a dry loop, I give her my account number. Asks for the rate I paid on my last bill and is annoyed when I don’t know. She asks again. I tell her I get paperless billing and I am unsure of the exact amount.

She then, angrily tells me she cannot allow me to pay over the phone if I don’t have more information about my account and that i’ll have to call back with the right information. I thank her for my help and tell her I wasn’t calling to pay a bill, that I’m calling to cancel my account. She is stunned and gets quiet for a moment before asking why I am canceling. I tell her I got a better rate somewhere else and the service has already been installed. She then tells me she needs to transfer me. I then tell her that the last rep promised this was my final transfer and that she was the fourth person I’ve talked to and I was assured she could handle my problem. She then half sincerely apologizes and stays on the line until I am to my next rep.

The fifth rep picks up, her name is Vanessa, she asks me what she can do to make me a satisfied customer today. I tell her that I’m sorry and there is nothing she can do as I have decided to switch and I am calling to cancel my service. She asks why, I tell her I got a better rate through another provider with a heavy discount. She says she understands, “especially in this economy” and asks if they’ve already set it up. I tell her they have. She then goes ahead and cancels my account and asks if there is anything else I need today. I ask her what I am to do with my worthless DSL modem. She tells me I own it.

Each person simply passed the buck, rarely could they be bothered to try and get things right. Sure I was trying to cancel and they had no chance of keeping me but the way this was handled exemplifies the kind of “service” AT&T offers. Rarely was I treated like a human, I was passed around like a piece of garbage that no one knew where to dispose of. I don’t feel like I was very valued at all, but hey, now I’ve got a worthless DSL modem to throw out, thanks AT&T!

iRobot understands that sales and support are one.

In recent weeks I’ve been working hard at cleaning my apartment, throwing things out and simplifying constantly. My hope is that if I really manage to throw out stuff, organize and streamline I’ll be able to keep the place in better shape consistently.

So far, so good.

That said a big part is just general cleanliness. To which I owe much of my help on my Roomba 530 cleaning robot.

I’ve had the little guy for around 3 years and have gotten used to doing routine maintenance to clean it and keep it running smoothly. However, recently one of my brushes broke. It’s completely removable so I decided I could just order a new one and install it myself.

However when I went to the site they didn’t have the brush I needed (6 bristles for a 500 series). I figured it had to be there, I was just missing something. Confused, I called their sales line to attempt to order the proper part.

When I got the rep on the phone he immediately introduced himself and asked for my name. I explained to him that I was having this issue with my 530 and I couldn’t find the proper part. He apologized and informed me that it was a common issue and that the part had actually been redesigned to a stronger three brush design and knew exactly which part I needed.

A few moments later I had ordered the parts I needed (and some extra filters) and I was off the phone with the receipt in my inbox.

Sounds pretty simple right? Here is what stood out for me:

  • The employee lead with a friendly greeting that did not at all seem forced. He didn’t at all seem annoyed that I didn’t know what part I really needed.
  • I was calling sales with what was essentially a support issue and he was able acknowledge my concerns, tell me why I was having trouble and offer me a solution in a matter of moments.
  • The transaction was fast! I spent no time on hold, I was on the line, speaking to someone and had everything resolved in less than 5 minutes.

Too often these days companies separate their sales and support to a degree that one department cannot assist you with both without transferring you. In my experience today it was no trouble at all. The employee was clearly spoken and genuine. You could tell he was not reading from a script, he had his own friendly personality showing through. The experience did a lot to impress me with their company, obviously so much so that I felt to write a blog entry. I will happily recommend them to friends and family now too. Other companies could learn a thing or two from iRobot.

Thanks iRobot!