ME: Hi. I was supposed to have local landline service setup last Thursday and I’m calling to find out why that hasn’t happened yet seeing as today is Saturday. I have the order number if that helps? It’s #########.
AT&T AGENT: Great. Let me look that up. Did they provide you a phone number?
ME: Yes, they did. It’s ###-###-####.
AT&T AGENT: Ok. And for security purposes can you provide a order number or the last four digits of your social security number?
ME: …isn’t the order number the number I just gave you?
AT&T AGENT: That’s the phone number.
ME: … …right, I’m sorry, I meant the number 3 seconds before that…you know, the number you used to lookup the account.
That little conversation snippet is only the most recent display of incompetence. Let me start from the beginning.
On a Monday I called AT&T in order to setup local landline home phone service. I gave the gentleman my address (including apartment number – this is important), SS# and all other relevant information and he setup a service turn-on date for Thursday of that same week. Easy enough.
On Wednesday morning I wake up to a voicemail from an AT&T agent telling me they have to reschedule the turn-on date because they don’t have my apartment number.
Grumble. Fine. I call back and speak with a guy who sounds like he’s watching a football game on blast and it takes him, no exaggeration, 25 minutes to add my apartment number and make sure the turn-on date is still set for Thursday.
Today is Saturday. Then phone line is not connected so naturally I call AT&T to find out what’s wrong.
For those of you unaware, AT&T is closed on the weekends. So, I do some online exploring and find their “Check Order Status” page. I input my order number and an error message pops up saying the service is temporarily down…I guess their computers take the weekends off too.
Then I find their emergencies number: 1-800-253-6262, where I patiently wait on hold for 37 minutes despite the recording that tells me all agents are busy but someone will be with me in approximately 1 minute.
Finally, someone answers. And that’s where we began with the conversation snippet above. What follows is the agent telling me that they don’t have my apartment number on file and so service could not be turned-on.
Useless. I hung up and figured I’d call back on Monday when I can speak to a manager.
I’m even considering canceling it altogether and going with Time Warners phone service at a $10 premium and we all know how awful Time Warner customer service is, so that’s saying something.
How can this issue be fixed?
Simple. When agents input address information the system should check to see if it is a valid address and if anything is invalid or missing, like an apartment number, it should prompt the agent to get that information before issuing an order number.
It’s not only customer service, folks, it’s practicality and well-rounded systems that actually solve problems, instead of create them. Get it together, AT&T.