A Lesson in Customer Service

Posted on: May 22, 2011

Just recently I had an experience with AT&T U-verse (cable/internet/phone provider) that I would like to share. I am getting ready to move, today actually in a few hours (which hopefully explains my recent blogging absence!), and of course with all the pains of moving comes the additional trouble of moving all services. Let me just say, I LOVE U-verse cable. I used to have the local Charter service and it was terrible. The one flaw with U-verse is that it is not available everywhere yet and AT&T has a hard time keeping their system updated with the most current availability information. I have recommended U-verse to many friends, and each one has had the same experience: they call and are told U-verse is not availabe in their area and then when the technician comes out, in fact it is available. So, needless to say I was not looking forward to trying to move my service. Of course, they told me that it was not available at my new address, even though I personally verified with my new apartment complex that others had this service. The agent I initially spoke to was less than helpful and let me know that they do not update their systems often and therefore I probably could get service, however, I’d be referred to investigations so they could verify the availability. Oh yes, and that process would take no less than a week. Great.

So, a few days later I decided to do a little investigating on my own. I went online and started the process of ordering cable online through the U-verse website. Unfortunately they are not able to offer the moving of service on their website, which I find to be pretty unbelievable in such a technological age. So, I start the ordering process with NO issues whatsoever with my new address. So I called back in. I spoke to a very nice, helpful agent who told me there was no problem moving my service, and I could upgrade for a great price. BUT, I could not get my service moved for 2 weeks. UGH. I am currently in an online class finishing up my MBA and no internet for 2 weeks just will not do! She said I could call back daily to see about cancellations, and that was that.

The  next day I called in and spoke to an even more helpful person in the cancellation department, because I threatened to cancel my internet service and go to a provider that could install service sooner than 2 weeks. He was able to get me an appointment the following Monday (I called Friday). That means cable and internet will arrive tomorrow!

Throughout this process, I tweeted my dis-satisfaction with AT&T and received no feedback on the matter. However, after they fixed the problems, I made sure to give credit where credit is due.

Some lessons in customer service:

1. Appreciation: As a customer, all you want is to feel like the company appreciates your patronage. After all, with all the competitors out there in almost any industry, it is very easy for a customer to take their business elsewhere. I was thanked for my loyal service to AT&T (I have ALL my services through them) and I was given an additional discount for my trouble. Appreciation, people, is the name of the game.

2. Don’t be dismissive: While I’m sure that a customer service line hears the worst of the worst in terms of abusive and complaining customers, each call should be handled as if it was the first complaint you’ve ever heard. Do not dismiss the problems of your guests just because you are sick of hearing people complain. The customer wants to feel like you actually care that they are having a problem and that you will do everything you can to fix it.

3. FIX IT: Not only does the customer want to feel like you will help them with their issue, they will be even more appreciative when you do fix the issue! Of course, all issues are not always resolvable, however you should always do everything in your power to make it happen for the guest. They will walk away satisfied, tell their friends…and maybe even become a brand evangelist!

Do you have any lessons in customer service that you’d like to share?


1 Response to "A Lesson in Customer Service"

Good luck with your moving. I am also ready to move out. I packed everything during the last two weekends and I should have been out by yesterday. At the last minute I postponed the move to next weekend. Too Lazy 🙂

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