Customer perception 101

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Customer perception 101

[ Edited ]

Attn: Rich (edited for personal information), Vice President and General Manager AT&T - North Florida

 

Dear Mr. (edited for personal information),

 

Thank you for the warm letter of appreciation for your customers, and reminder of what you are doing to improve your network and how you are giving back to our community here in Central Florida.  Unfortunately, I recently relocated into the Ocala National Forest (Zip 34488) and found I had no ATT service at all. 

 

I have been a loyal paying AT&T customer for many years but found that for safety and convenience, I really needed to have service in my surrounding area.  Here is my dilemma, and an example of what AT&T is doing to ensure they LOOSE customers for a lifetime…

 

After moving to my new residence in May I realized my service contract wasn’t up until November of this year.  After several months, and since I wasn’t using as many minutes (until I got into a service area in Ocala) I dropped my service plan to the lowest rate plan of 450-minutes. 

 

Reluctantly I changed carriers in November and paid my last bill of $20.45 to AT&T on Dec 1st… my number was ported on the 21st of November.  And then I got the shock of my life!  It seems that my contract wasn’t up until November 30th and I just received a bill notification I owed another $69.51 because of 9-days of early termination!!  Yet I was paid up until Dec 6th!! 

 

I thought surely the friendly AT&T representatives would understand and work with me, so I called and talked to a “Josh” and when he said he was unable to do anything he put me on hold for quite a while and a Heather  came on the line.  She said she was a customer “service” specialist… but it didn’t take long to gather from her cold and unyielding corporate pat answer responses, that I was not entitled to any “service” since I was now a “former” customer… she was not the pleasant, friendly, knowledgeable representative I had expected at all, and then I realized what this was really about.  She was simply the enforcer of legal and binding contracts without regard for moral, ethical, or common human decency considerations.

 

And then I thought how sad, what a terrible business model… and what a terrible work environment this has created at the front line of customer contact…  And I thought about what I had heard on the nightly news the other day… how AT&T Wireless had been rated as worst in customer service among providers.  And it all began to make sense.  I am witness to the death of a giant, and one not too big to fail.

 

I hope this note will provide some small measure of a teachable moment, for I am not afraid to write.  You see, I may not always live outside the reaches of your cell-towers, but the message I have received loud and clear is that you never want me back as your customer!

 

Sincerely,

Tommy {Personal content removed for your safety}

Message 1 of 13 (1,230 Views)
Former Employee

Re: Customer perception 101

Well the thing is that every carrier in US will do the same exact thing in regards to contracts. Contract is a legally binding agreement that can not be voided at will and/or on request.

Message 2 of 13 (1,228 Views)

Re: Customer perception 101

If you terminate before the contract is expired then an ETF is billed. Thats with any wireless contract. You should have ported your number back to AT&T as the ETF would have been reversed, then finished the contract. Expecting it to be waived is just not possible. Really though, were you honestly thinking the rep would "understand" that you broke your contract by mistake becuase you didn't know it was over and promptly waive your ETF for you? Did you check online or call customer service to check your contract end date, or did you assume it was over?

 

 

Message 3 of 13 (1,193 Views)
Scholar

Re: Customer perception 101

im sorry to hear your relocation to a non at&t service is disrupted coverage in your area but at&t reps have guidelines to follow  here are what we have to follow :

 

 

1.2 What Happens If My Service Is Cancelled Or Terminated Before The End Of My Agreement? Is There A Cancellation/Early Termination Fee?Print this section | Print this pageIf you terminate your Agreement within three (3) days of accepting the Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any, but you must return the Equipment purchased in connection with your Agreement.

You may terminate this Agreement, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of accepting your Agreement, PROVIDED, you will remain responsible for any Services fees and charges incurred. If you purchase Equipment directly from AT&T in connection with your Agreement, but you terminate within 30 days and fail to return the Equipment to AT&T, you will be subject to an Equipment Fee in the maximum amount of the difference between the no-commitment price of the Equipment and the amount you actually paid for the Equipment. AT&T may charge you a restocking fee for any returned Equipment. Some dealers impose additional fees.

You have received certain benefits from us in exchange for any Service Commitment greater than one month. If we terminate your Services for nonpayment or other default before the end of your Service Commitment, or if you terminate your Services for any reason other than (a) in accordance with the cancellation policy; or (b) pursuant to a change of terms, conditions or rates as set forth below, you agree to pay us with respect to each device identifier or telephone number assigned to you, in addition to all other amounts owed, an Early Termination Fee in the amount specified below ("Early Termination Fee"). If your Service Commitment includes the purchase of certain specified Equipment on or after June 1, 2010, the Early Termination Fee will be $325 minus $10 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete. (For a complete list of the specified Equipment, check att.com/equipmentETF). Otherwise your Early Termination Fee will be $150 minus $4 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete. The Early Termination Fee is not a penalty, but rather a charge to compensate us for your failure to satisfy the Service Commitment on which your rate plan is based.

Either party may terminate this Agreement at any time after your Service Commitment ends with thirty (30) days notice to the other party. We may terminate this Agreement at any time without notice if we cease to provide Services in your area. We may interrupt or terminate your Services without notice:

for any conduct that we believe violates this Agreement,
if you behave in an abusive, derogatory, or similarly unreasonable manner with any of our representatives,
if we discover that you are underage,
if you fail to make all required payments when due,
if we have reasonable cause to believe that your Equipment is being used for an unlawful purpose or in a way that (i) is harmful to, interferes with, or may adversely affect our Services or the network of any other provider, (ii) interferes with the use or enjoyment of Services received by others, (iii) infringes intellectual property rights, (iv) results in the publication of threatening or offensive material, or (v) constitutes spam or other abusive messaging or calling, a security risk, or a violation of privacy,
if you provided inaccurate credit information, or
we believe your credit has deteriorated and you refuse to pay any requested advance payment or deposit.
If you sign a new Agreement before the end of your original Agreement, but terminate the new Agreement within 30 days as allowed above, the new Agreement will terminate and you agree to be bound to the terms and conditions of your original Agreement, including any remaining Service Commitment

 

 

the etf covers the cost of the equipment not the service http://www.att.com/equipmentETF

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Message 4 of 13 (1,188 Views)
Tutor

Re: Customer perception 101

[ Edited ]

To Drumn_bass, Yes, and that is exactly why you will continue to lose customers to the secondary wholesale market, where there are no contracts.  Since you are an employee, please tell me what your upper management has done to improve your customer service perception?

Message 5 of 13 (1,166 Views)
Tutor

Re: Customer perception 101

And to aristizzle, yes, I suppose I was naive enough to think that AT&T customer service might listen and consider individual circumstances and come to an equitable resolution.  You yourself have made several false assumptions, which further underscore the horrible presumptiveness of your customer service directives.  The fact is I never canceled my contract; I personally never contacted anyone to end my contract; I simply had my telephone number ported so that I could have service where I live.   I would have gladly paid my regular service contract charges up to and through whatever arbitrary date was established as my contract end date.  Which in this case was a mere 9-days after porting to a pre-pay.  You in fact are charging me 3-times the cost of my regular monthly service for 9-days???  That is absurd, and though it may be legal for you to do, it will cost you far more than you will ever hope to gain in the long run.

 

And upon cursory investigation, there is NOTHING in your contract that specifically states that number porting is prohibited and constitutes breach of contract.  Perhaps this needs to have a larger audience involved… but I am still waiting to see what happens with my bill.

 

The greater fact that remains, one which will resonate with customers everywhere, is that AT&T is using this contract clause (in some cases) to literally steal unearned revenue from its customers.  And to levy such punitive fees is morally reprehensible, and as an employee, you should be ashamed of what  you are being told to do.

Message 6 of 13 (1,163 Views)
Tutor

Re: Customer perception 101

And to savior (I have one of those 2 J)… finally I received a little consideration and customer service! Beginners… please take note of the following:

 

Dear Tommy G,

 

Thank you for contacting AT&T about your wireless service. My name is Jean M. I can understand your concern and I would be more than happy to assist you with your inquiry regarding your Early Termination Fee (ETF).

 

I see from the notes on your account that you spoke with us on Oct. 10 about the possibility of canceling your account. I do apologize, because it seems from what you have said that the associate did not prepare you fully for what to expect.

 

When an account is cancelled, the bill is not prorated. If you cancel three days before the end of the bill cycle or 20 days before the end of the cycle, you do not get a refund even though you pay your bill in advance.

 

I do see the associate noted he had educated you about the ETF and that you understood. However, I can understand how you might assume that since you had paid through the end of both the cycle and the contract that the ETF would not apply.

 

I am happy to credit your account for the current balance due of $69.51, thus closing the account completely. This is effective immediately.

     

If you have any additional questions about your account, Tommy, please hit Reply. Thank you for being an AT&T customer.

 

Jean M

eCare Customer Service Specialist

AT&T Business Solutions Customer Care

Business Care: 611 or 1-800-331-0500

Online account management:

Message 7 of 13 (1,160 Views)
Employee

Re: Customer perception 101

When you say you never canceled but you ported out..porting cancels your account automatically.has always been that way for any carrier
Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 8 of 13 (1,146 Views)

Re: Customer perception 101

[ Edited ]

wormdust wrote:

And to aristizzle, yes, I suppose I was naive enough to think that AT&T customer service might listen and consider individual circumstances and come to an equitable resolution.  You yourself have made several false assumptions, which further underscore the horrible presumptiveness of your customer service directives.  The fact is I never canceled my contract; I personally never contacted anyone to end my contract; I simply had my telephone number ported so that I could have service where I live.   I would have gladly paid my regular service contract charges up to and through whatever arbitrary date was established as my contract end date.  Which in this case was a mere 9-days after porting to a pre-pay.  You in fact are charging me 3-times the cost of my regular monthly service for 9-days???  That is absurd, and though it may be legal for you to do, it will cost you far more than you will ever hope to gain in the long run.

 

And upon cursory investigation, there is NOTHING in your contract that specifically states that number porting is prohibited and constitutes breach of contract.  Perhaps this needs to have a larger audience involved… but I am still waiting to see what happens with my bill.

 

The greater fact that remains, one which will resonate with customers everywhere, is that AT&T is using this contract clause (in some cases) to literally steal unearned revenue from its customers.  And to levy such punitive fees is morally reprehensible, and as an employee, you should be ashamed of what  you are being told to do.


Porting out is a cancellation lets just make that clear, your taking your phone number and activating it with another carrier. It is cancelled with AT&T, and active with the other carrier. You dont need to contact anyone to cancel service if you port out becuase it is automatically cancelled, thats with any carrier. If you would have ported from say Verizon to AT&T and you had a contract with Verizon, you would be billed the ETF becuase your contract is still active with Verizon and it is cancelled on their end after the port out is completed. Customer services reps do listen and come to a solution, but when it comes to the contract if you cancel before the contract end date the ETF is billed, theres no way around that and nothing that can be done.

 

It is not stealing, it is part of the contract that you signed and agreed to. You should have read the contract before you signed it, and not signed it if there was something you didn't agree with. Unfortunately you learned the hard way, which is sad but its a binding contract, all contracts are the same. I'm glad you were able to get it sorted though.

 

And as for being ashamed, I'm not ashamed whatsoever. It's my job, if itt's AT&T policy it is my responsibility to uphear to and follow those policies. Morals do not waive ETF"s sorry to say.

Message 9 of 13 (1,106 Views)
Employee

Re: Customer perception 101

Morals don't pay my bills.
Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 10 of 13 (1,097 Views)
Tutor

Re: Customer perception 101

Then you are obviously working at the right place Czar, and I am very fortunate to have ended my relationship with you… something that was indeed worth the price.  But tell me, when your last customer jumps ship, who will pay your bills then? 

Message 11 of 13 (984 Views)
Employee

Re: Customer perception 101

I gotta say, if I was the csr on this call, I would have made the adjustment immediately. You had paid the bill up to a point after the contract expires. I'm sorry that this happened and that you went through that much hassel. The billing system has a set of rules it has no choice but to follow. That's why us csr's have a job. In this case, the csr needed to look at the bigger picture and maybe think outside the box. I'm glad that this issue was able to be resolved though! Good luck!
Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 12 of 13 (976 Views)
Tutor

Re: Customer perception 101

Thank you grasshopper... you are now Master Ninja! Smiley Happy

 

I only hope you will share your wisdom with your co-workers before it is too late.

 

      - Wormdust {Over & Out}

Message 13 of 13 (969 Views)
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