attThere are many reasons to rant in this world – customer service is often not what it needs to be, and sometimes getting simple things done takes way more effort and is far more frustrating than should be the case.  As a blogger, I try to resist the temptation to use my blog as a venting platform, but every now and again I find myself getting so steamed, I have to rant!

I feel some justification in this case.  It was exactly 1 year ago today that I extolled the virtues of AT&T’s U-Verse service, and exactly 1 month later that I reported my first glitches, which were a result of AT&T’s lack of integrated billing.  This lack of integration (1 year later, no less!!!) bit me again and cost me hours on a phone being routed from person to person in AT&T trying to achieve a very basic need.  My company is moving some voicemail servers, so I needed to change the phone number that my office line call forwards to on busy or no answer.  Simple, right?  You’d think so.  I assumed this could be done on line (which it was for my wireless service) but for the land line that was not the case.  Note, my land line is not on U-Verse, but AT&T seems to have a hard time figuring that out.  It has literally taken me 3 weeks to reach the right person to make this change – a time-frame exacerbated by the fact that I travel and there are fairly narrow windows when I can spend time making this type of service request.

It all came to a head yesterday when I eventually reached a service tech who took all the details, then figured out (what I had told him at the start of the call) that I was referring to a land line.  “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with this, but I can pass you on to the person that can.”  I quickly objected, telling the service rep that I’d been down this path several times, and was either passed on to a line that was (a) never answered, or (b) rang twice then dropped, or (c) was another rep in the same department who was equally unable to help me.  He assured me that he would get me to the right person.  I was put on hold, and… you guessed it, found myself in the same U-Verse hole I’d started in!

Eventually, I did get to the right department, and the requested change to my call forwarding number has been made.  I’m sure the folk inside AT&T are thinking, “What’s the big deal, landlines, wireless and U-Verse are separate organizations with separate systems?”  But from my perspective, part of the AT&T value proposition is a single provider supposedly creating an integrated, uniform and satisfying customer experience.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Three different web-sites, different billing systems, different support systems, and zero appreciation or concern for the customer experience.

What sort of experiences do you create for your customers?  Does the customer experience you create keep them loyal, happy and expanding their relationship with you?  Or, like me, are they ‘running for the door’ and actively looking for an alternate provider who will deliver on the promise of their value proposition?