Highly frustrated with what appears to be systemic incompetence within the "service" sector of AT&T
My story is much like the others I have read in this forum - multiple CSRs on a single service call that keep turning me over to a new one, each requiring a ground-up retelling of the same story, each promising "excellent service" but delivering anything but; a tech company that lacks the basic ability to store and transmit account info and details of the service call from CSR to CSR, thus actually providing the aforementioned "excellent service". But now for my odyssey.
Chapter 1: AT&T kept trying to charge me for HBO Max, a service I was supposed to get for free as part of my packaged wireless account. I contacted AT&T via chat in mid August of 2020 to try and fix the problem. As it turns out, AT&T had multiple user IDs for me on file, which contributed to the problem. The chat CSR, a person ostensibly named Juan, informed me that we had to cancel my "old" HBO Max account, and start a new one. I never fully understood why, but I went with it. After a chat session that lasted almost 2 hours, we finally completed the task, and I finally had HBO Max up and running, for free (apparently).
Chapter 2: AT&T had multiple user IDs associated with my account. The second part of the task dealt with the fact that AT&T had multiple user IDs on file for me, some of which appeared to be auto-generated. I expressed to Juan that I didn't want multiple IDs, I only wanted one (especially if such a problem can potentially result in billing problems). I had to explain that to Juan 3 different times in the same chat. He kept trying to tell me that when I was dealing with AT&T TV Now, as opposed to wireless, I needed to use my "other" user ID. I firmly told him for the third time "I don't want 2 user IDs. That's confusing. I want only 1. Can you not do that for me?" He replied that he could, after a lengthy pause for consultation with his supervisor. He informed me that my new user ID, which I created while on this chat session and under his guidance, would in fact access any and all accounts I have with AT&T. I then asked him, very pointedly, if in fact I would be able to access my TV and wireless services with this one user ID, and agin he repeated "Yes, no worries at all". I thanked him, ordered a transcript of the chat, and filed it away.
Chapter 3: AT&T informed via email my account couldn't be auto-paid. I expected that email, since I changed my debit card as part of an unsuccessful phishing scam. So I simply clicked the link in the email that said "Update Your Payment Information" That took me to an AT&T TV Now account page that looked curiously like I wasn't a customer, judging from the massive headline that read "Start your FREE trial now". When I attempted log in with my new user ID that Juan promised me would access all my accounts, I was taken down a looping path of terrible UX design and tremendous frustration. Nowhere did I see anything that paid off the simple promise of updating my payment information. Finally, I resorted to another chat session for support.
Chapter 4: Incompetent CSRs on Parade. This new chat session, with a CSR named "Vin" began what would be a span of 1.5 hours that encompassed 6 CSRs, all of which required a retelling of the same story, each requiring a ground-up reaffirmation of my identity, two of which were supposedly "supervisors". The third CSR, named "Marcus" informed that I was using the wrong user ID - one that Juan told me two weeks ago would access all my accounts. My frustration at this point reached a fever pitch, and I demanded to speak with a supervisor. Marcus assured me that one would call me "right now". 5 minutes later, my cell phone rang. After having to tell my entire story to this new supervisor, I was put on hold for about 10 minutes, despite the fact that I told him I had to hang up by 10am, since I have a scheduled meeting at that time. When the next person came to the phone, I learned that not only was he not a supervisor, but I in fact had reached another base-level CSR who I had to repeat my story to again. This one finally told me that I had reached the wrong department, that my issue was not a billing one. Now it's 9:58am, my meeting starts in 2 minutes, and after 1.5 hours, I am exactly at square one.
Chapter 5: Hang up and do nothing. I was so frustrated, I could feel my blood pressure reaching unsafe levels. I decided that the email telling me my service couldn't be paid for might in fact be for one of the errant accounts AT&T had incompetently set up for me, so I decided it might actually be easier - and healthier - for me to simply ignore it. After all, I have a new bill from AT&T showing me the "new" AT&T TV Now account actually showed a credit of $1. So I delete the email. And I wait. What's next? Do i come home from work one day on the near future and turn on my TV only to find my service has been interrupted? And if so, how do I address that? By another fruitless, 2-hour, head-exploding chat session?
Epilogue: Too Big To Fail (Succeed). AT&T has become a megacorporation that is too large to be efficient. It cannot solve simple problems easily. It's outsourced technical support and customer service excel only at dispensing "excellent lip service" and are systemically incapable of solving your problem. Is the solution to just "nuke it from orbit" and go with Verizon? But what if Verizon isn't available in my area? Or worse, what if they're just as bad?