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Posted Feb 4, 2014
11:52:03 PM
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Retrain staff - stop blaming customers for issues

Hello AT&T:

 

I have been an AT&T customer both directly and indirectly for 31 years - I was with Pacific Bell before SBC bought them, then with AT&T after AT&T bought SBC. In the last year, I had quite a bit of customer frustration, as AT&T's first option when supporting me was to blame me for technical problems. I have Uverse internet access, which was reinstalled about a year ago - it didn't work at first, and AT&T was all set to charge me for a service call (I didn't know I didn't have an inside wiring plan, when previously, I did every time). At first, I went through the online/telephone support - they indicated the problem was a setting on my computer. After going back and forth with settings for ~4 days, they sent out a technician. The technician indicated I did not have an inside wiring plan (although one appeared on my bill), and were going to charge me - they replaced the UVerse controller. Then another service call to replace the wall jack. Then another to replace the inside wiring. Then another to replace the outside wiring. Then another to fix problems created by the other technicians. Then another to replace the UVerse controller again. And this repeated over and over. Each time they said the problem was fixed and each time the problem persisted. After a month and a half, they sent someone to actually check the telephone poles - he actually found and fixed the problem, but he said he had to climb 3 poles and cut through quite a few splices to fix it. All in all, it took 9 service calls with different technicians to determine the problem was not my fault. My question here is why couldn't AT&T check the line first, rather than saying it was a problem on my computer?

 

Another problem I had, had to do with AT&T contracting an international spam protection agency, called Spamhaus. AT&T said they were offering this service free and as a courtesy to their customers. What the service does is prevents suspicious email from even reaching you, so you never know you were spammed. However, I was jobless and applying for jobs in other countries, several of which informed me that they received an error "521" when sending an email to my account, indicating they were blocked as spammers. In other words, it also blocked wanted email. After contacting support almost every day for 2 weeks, with them claiming the problem was on my end, I finally reached someone who knew about this and said there was no way to disable this feature. I had to open an email account outside of AT&T in order to get email from perspective employers.

 

About a month ago, email access went down. I contacted support - they again started saying the problem was on my end. It turned out a server was down, and there was a problem resetting my password.

 

More recently, a problem occurred yesterday. Yahoo mail went out, and I couldn't access email either via my email client or via web mail. I contacted support via a chat, and the support person at first said there was an outage, but it was fixed, so the problem has to be on my end. They said because I could log into att.net, that there was no email problem. After resetting the password with no effect 3-4 times, and the support person profusely blaming the problems on something on my end, he said he was just notified that the email server was down.

 

These reasons alone are enough for me to consider switching to a cable television service provider for Internet/telephone/television services. I have more technical knowledge than probably most of the support people, having written several operating systems, and the one thing the problem isn't, is my fault. I really hate to do it, but just can't deal any more with AT&T's "it's the customers' fault" attitude.

 

To put a different perspective on this: 1) It's not the customers' fault because AT&T has no backup for their email servers; 2) It's not the customers fault when an email server goes down; 3) It's not (usually) the customers' fault when there is are problems on telephone poles outside. AT&T has the technology to develop things such as data redundancy, backups, fault isolation and testing. I suggest doing these rather than blaming the customer as a first choice of support options.

 

Lance

 

Hello AT&T:

 

I have been an AT&T customer both directly and indirectly for 31 years - I was with Pacific Bell before SBC bought them, then with AT&T after AT&T bought SBC. In the last year, I had quite a bit of customer frustration, as AT&T's first option when supporting me was to blame me for technical problems. I have Uverse internet access, which was reinstalled about a year ago - it didn't work at first, and AT&T was all set to charge me for a service call (I didn't know I didn't have an inside wiring plan, when previously, I did every time). At first, I went through the online/telephone support - they indicated the problem was a setting on my computer. After going back and forth with settings for ~4 days, they sent out a technician. The technician indicated I did not have an inside wiring plan (although one appeared on my bill), and were going to charge me - they replaced the UVerse controller. Then another service call to replace the wall jack. Then another to replace the inside wiring. Then another to replace the outside wiring. Then another to fix problems created by the other technicians. Then another to replace the UVerse controller again. And this repeated over and over. Each time they said the problem was fixed and each time the problem persisted. After a month and a half, they sent someone to actually check the telephone poles - he actually found and fixed the problem, but he said he had to climb 3 poles and cut through quite a few splices to fix it. All in all, it took 9 service calls with different technicians to determine the problem was not my fault. My question here is why couldn't AT&T check the line first, rather than saying it was a problem on my computer?

 

Another problem I had, had to do with AT&T contracting an international spam protection agency, called Spamhaus. AT&T said they were offering this service free and as a courtesy to their customers. What the service does is prevents suspicious email from even reaching you, so you never know you were spammed. However, I was jobless and applying for jobs in other countries, several of which informed me that they received an error "521" when sending an email to my account, indicating they were blocked as spammers. In other words, it also blocked wanted email. After contacting support almost every day for 2 weeks, with them claiming the problem was on my end, I finally reached someone who knew about this and said there was no way to disable this feature. I had to open an email account outside of AT&T in order to get email from perspective employers.

 

About a month ago, email access went down. I contacted support - they again started saying the problem was on my end. It turned out a server was down, and there was a problem resetting my password.

 

More recently, a problem occurred yesterday. Yahoo mail went out, and I couldn't access email either via my email client or via web mail. I contacted support via a chat, and the support person at first said there was an outage, but it was fixed, so the problem has to be on my end. They said because I could log into att.net, that there was no email problem. After resetting the password with no effect 3-4 times, and the support person profusely blaming the problems on something on my end, he said he was just notified that the email server was down.

 

These reasons alone are enough for me to consider switching to a cable television service provider for Internet/telephone/television services. I have more technical knowledge than probably most of the support people, having written several operating systems, and the one thing the problem isn't, is my fault. I really hate to do it, but just can't deal any more with AT&T's "it's the customers' fault" attitude.

 

To put a different perspective on this: 1) It's not the customers' fault because AT&T has no backup for their email servers; 2) It's not the customers fault when an email server goes down; 3) It's not (usually) the customers' fault when there is are problems on telephone poles outside. AT&T has the technology to develop things such as data redundancy, backups, fault isolation and testing. I suggest doing these rather than blaming the customer as a first choice of support options.

 

Lance

 

Retrain staff - stop blaming customers for issues

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Feb 5, 2014 5:21:03 AM
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Hello, Statue!

 

Thanks for posting. I'm so sorry to hear that your recent experiences with your U-verse services have been so negative. If there is anything we can do to help, please click here to send us a private message.

 

This is not the same customer care team you've worked with over the phone; this team is dedicated to handling escalations from the forums, and they will work very hard to find an acceptable resolution.

 

If you send us a message, please include your name, phone number, email address, and the best time to reach you. Keep an eye on the little blue envelope icon in the top right corner of your screen.

 

In the meantime, please don't hesitate to message me with any other questions or concerns!

 

-Mariana


Rethink Possible


Did a post have a solution that worked for you? Help other people find solutions faster by marking posts that helped you as an "Accepted Solution". Learn about accepted solutions: Learn More.

Hello, Statue!

 

Thanks for posting. I'm so sorry to hear that your recent experiences with your U-verse services have been so negative. If there is anything we can do to help, please click here to send us a private message.

 

This is not the same customer care team you've worked with over the phone; this team is dedicated to handling escalations from the forums, and they will work very hard to find an acceptable resolution.

 

If you send us a message, please include your name, phone number, email address, and the best time to reach you. Keep an eye on the little blue envelope icon in the top right corner of your screen.

 

In the meantime, please don't hesitate to message me with any other questions or concerns!

 

-Mariana


Rethink Possible


Did a post have a solution that worked for you? Help other people find solutions faster by marking posts that helped you as an "Accepted Solution". Learn about accepted solutions: Learn More.

*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s position, strategies or opinions.

Re: Retrain staff - stop blaming customers for issues

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Feb 5, 2014 8:30:37 AM
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Hello Mariana:

 

I appreciate your prompt response, but I do not see what would be in a private message that isn't in my original posting here. As far as not being the same customer care team - i've heard that before. With problems I've had the in the past, I was issued credits for downtime and such, but in my opinion, because the problems were not my fault, it is preferred this time that AT&T actually work on improving their support, which hasn't happened yet, as the frequency of the problems is increasing. As alluded to in the original posting, I believe the only way this can be corrected is by retraining the support staff to be more open to the possibility that a server or telephone outage is not the cause of a customer. If that's the only thing support is going to contribute to a user who is having trouble, and can not access the internet, phone, or email, then it might as well be automated and the employees laid off. Otherwise, AT&T needs people who were more like that of Pacific Bell - customer support people who try to help the customer, rather than torment them. After the recent support issue, there was a survey regarding my support experience - I indicated an unsatisfactory result to all responses (i.e. the support was unsatisfactory, the issue was not resolved, etc.).

 

Literally, I went from the last problem where I was considering whether or not to leave AT&T, to now just setting a date when I'm going to switch to something else. My cell phone is also AT&T, and I am looking into switching to a different cell phone provider as well - the problem there is AT&T always says not to text and drive, yet the only texts I receive from anyone are from AT&T and only when I'm driving - and apparently there's no way to turn off texting from AT&T unless I switch to a different plan. I use a phone to make calls - not text, and the text messages I receive from AT&T are for advertising (i.e. one message indicated something about using my cell phone for store purchases - that one almost caused a big accident on the 405 freeway - I have a witness who was in the car with me. So as far as cell phones goes, AT&T, while touting not to text and drive, is the only company who attempted to cause an accident by doing this. The message could have been sent in the evening - no, it had to be between 11am and 2pm. That's just hypicritical stupidity.

 

Note that the original posting here is now Google-searchable.

 

Lance

 

Hello Mariana:

 

I appreciate your prompt response, but I do not see what would be in a private message that isn't in my original posting here. As far as not being the same customer care team - i've heard that before. With problems I've had the in the past, I was issued credits for downtime and such, but in my opinion, because the problems were not my fault, it is preferred this time that AT&T actually work on improving their support, which hasn't happened yet, as the frequency of the problems is increasing. As alluded to in the original posting, I believe the only way this can be corrected is by retraining the support staff to be more open to the possibility that a server or telephone outage is not the cause of a customer. If that's the only thing support is going to contribute to a user who is having trouble, and can not access the internet, phone, or email, then it might as well be automated and the employees laid off. Otherwise, AT&T needs people who were more like that of Pacific Bell - customer support people who try to help the customer, rather than torment them. After the recent support issue, there was a survey regarding my support experience - I indicated an unsatisfactory result to all responses (i.e. the support was unsatisfactory, the issue was not resolved, etc.).

 

Literally, I went from the last problem where I was considering whether or not to leave AT&T, to now just setting a date when I'm going to switch to something else. My cell phone is also AT&T, and I am looking into switching to a different cell phone provider as well - the problem there is AT&T always says not to text and drive, yet the only texts I receive from anyone are from AT&T and only when I'm driving - and apparently there's no way to turn off texting from AT&T unless I switch to a different plan. I use a phone to make calls - not text, and the text messages I receive from AT&T are for advertising (i.e. one message indicated something about using my cell phone for store purchases - that one almost caused a big accident on the 405 freeway - I have a witness who was in the car with me. So as far as cell phones goes, AT&T, while touting not to text and drive, is the only company who attempted to cause an accident by doing this. The message could have been sent in the evening - no, it had to be between 11am and 2pm. That's just hypicritical stupidity.

 

Note that the original posting here is now Google-searchable.

 

Lance

 

Re: Retrain staff - stop blaming customers for issues

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