Customer Relationship Management

Dear AT&T U-Verse

Dear AT&T,

I’m already a customer of yours. I have both home phone and DSL through you (previously SBC). I like the service but wish to upgrade the DSL as well as take advantage of the great TV service you have. You see, my apartment only offers a basic package and I’d like to upgrade.

For the last couple years, you’ve sent some incredibly enticing direct mail requesting that I upgrade. I get them about once a month addressed properly to my apartment. One month you even sent a full color book that described all of the packages for both DSL and Television. You got me… I’m sold! I need to upgrade to U-Verse to see the Colts win on Sunday in all their splendid glory.

This is what you show me… and yes, I am ready!

So, I visit AT&T.com and click on the Upgrade Now button. Doh! First I have to check for availability. I know it’s available, though, because my neighbor in #1324 had the service for over a year (he moved out). That’s on the third story… I’m on the second story. So, I submit my address and phone number…

Service Not Available.

My first question, Dear AT&T, is why would you send advertisements to my address for the last year asking that I upgrade to your service if it’s truly not available (which I know is not true). You’ve spent quite a bit of money on this constant barrage of direct mail. …

Oh well… I decide to take another route. I click on the Chat Online Now service on your page. I’m in queue with 15 customers waiting. I think you can drop the Now. I clicked close on the window and decide to call instead. I click Contact Us… thankfully you have the phone numbers available.

The phone answers with an automated voice and asks me to enter my account phone number. I do. It then asks me what I’d like to do, I carefully say “Get U-Verse” thinking “U-Verse” is a pretty good sound to catch on. No go… “I’m sorry, I don’t understand your request.” Now I’m getting a little bit frustrated. “Upgrade to U-Verse”… that works.

The system tells me that I can’t upgrade, I owe some kind of back balance. So, I pay it over the phone by credit card by typing in all my numbers. Curious why you didn’t tell me this on the web page where I logged in and requested the service.

Anyways, I’m connected with a rep, Shannah, and she’s fantastic. We have some small talk about The Colts beating the Saints this weekend. She tells me her husband is a Bears fan. I ask, “Are they still in the NFL?”. She got a chuckle out of that. She tells me her system says it’s not available either. I tell her that my neighbor had it and she asks their address. I have to run out of the apartment, up the stairs, and get the number. I run back down and tell her #1324.

She continues and thinks she’s making progress. I’m pretty excited. Then the call is dropped.

No one calls back… I guess the system didn’t track my number and I don’t have a means of getting a hold of Shannah now to continue the pursuit. I tried dialing through to the operator a second time but now there was a wait again.

So… I visit the website again and decide to write an email. I click Contact Us on the bottom of the page and type “Upgrade to U-Verse” in the field that’s available. I click submit and the page reloads with a couple e-mail options below. I click the first e-mail option… and instead of an email address or form, I’m presented with a link back to the U-Verse web site. That’s the site I was already at.

It makes me curious if you’ve ever done user-testing with your own site to find out how easy or difficult it might be for your customers to utilize your online services. I wonder how many hundreds or thousands of other customers are willing to pay more and become more valuable customers to your organization – but can’t.

There you have it, AT&T. I’m a (previously) happy customer who wishes to upgrade their account. I’ve paid my bills, I’ve got money, and you’ve been marketing to me to do it for a couple years. You really do want me to upgrade, right? If you do, your web site isn’t optimized, your online chat isn’t keeping up, your system isn’t accurate, and your phone system (ironically) may have dropped my call.

I’m ready when you are.

Obviously, that’s not today.
Thanks!
Douglas Karr

2 Comments

  1. 1

    I had the same experience with u-verse. It’s awesome. I want it SO bad. I received emails and even telemarketing calls about it. Service not available in our area. All in all, I’ve never seen a company so bad at serving their customers.

  2. 2

    That definitely sounds like a hassle. Did you ever end up getting the upgrade you were looking for? Personally, I would rather stick with my DISH Network service. I’ve been a subscriber for a long time and recently I became an employee too. DISH still has more HD channels than anyone else in the industry along with great deals like HD free for life. Plus there are other things to think about too, for instance reliability. When you’re getting all your entertainment / communication services from a single source, if one has an outage, they all do. At least if one of my services experiences a hiccup I can still enjoy the others.

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