Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Customer Is Al- ... Eh, On Second Thought, Screw 'Em ...

We've had a stormy spring, thunder and wind and rain.

Looking out my dining-room window, I can see some branches on the phone lines that run along the back edge of my yard. Big branches. Not wee branches. Dead leaves. Sad.

Being a fan of phone service – and an even bigger fan of DSL – I called AT&T to report the branches on the lines.

I figured AT&T would want to know. I would think that phone lines generally like to be free of debris.

A customer-service rep came on the line after just a few minutes – that was nice – and took my name and address and asked about my problem. I told him that I wanted to let AT&T know about the downed branches.

The gist of his reply was, "Yeah, we don't care."

What he said was something to the effect of, "We haven't had a tree-trimming service for, oh, at least a dozen years."

"I would think AT&T would want to maintain its equipment," I said.

"I apologize," he said.

"You don't need to apologize," I said. (I feel for CSRs. Theirs must be a very thankless job, bearing the brunt of anger in situations they had no hand in creating.) "I've done my due diligence. I've let you know about the problem. If AT&T doesn't care to do anything about it, that's its prerogative."

He thanked me and that was that.

So, given that AT&T doesn't care to address a known situation, I can only surmise that its plan in this instance is to either hope the limbs blow off the lines at some point or wait until the weight of the limbs takes down the lines, at which point I will suddenly be without phone service, and will need to contact the company again to let it know. Isn't that a good plan? Instead of responding to a customer who took the time to alert it to a problem, it would prefer to wait until that proactive customer (who believes she pays too much for phone service, by the way) is inconvenienced and then address the situation.

Gosh, isn't that just super swell?

So much for customer service.


Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

I'm sure they did the cost benefit analysis of it and determined it was just cheaper to react to the problem instead of be proactive. The PR benefit of doing the right thing doesn't come into that equation.

my word: roofi - no kidding

2:53 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh, I'm sure you're right. Cheaper to send out a guy once power is lost than to send out a different guy to make sure power's not lost in the first place.

What. EVER. If only I could hone my telepathy skills, then I wouldn't need a phone! :o )

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

I doubt AT&T even "owns" those lines. They probably haven't since the days of Ma Bell. It's all shared infrastructure now with actual responsibility very difficult to pin down. It's usually local city workers who clear up after storms.

It's also why different brands bragging about their networks is a load of rubbish, they all buy time on each others! If that were not so the Internet would be an impossibility.

Except AT&T Wireless that years ago committed to the wrong mobile technology platform. Their wireless network truly is inferior and will always remain so.

5:18 PM  

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