This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is There Still Hope?

We have been with AT&T U-Verse for at least two and a half years. Over those years, I have had to contact support several times.

When we got back from our vacation in Florida, the girls and I noticed that our reception on our bedroom receivers were freezing and every five seconds. I could shut it down and start it back up and it would be a good picture for about 10-15 minutes, then it would go on again. This is not good for someone who likes her TV.

We also noticed that our internet was sluggish: like we had 20 people in the house on a dial-up.

Today I finally set up time out of my day to contact the support team. In the past, the service has been rote: did you do this? did you do that? will you do this again? will you do that again? I know all the steps by heart. I hate going through the same things again when I have already been there done that.

One very cool thing about AT&T support is the chat. I hate the phone. I don't like talking on the phone. If I could do everything by email, IM or text, I'd be a happy camper. I got on the chat and within about 20 minutes, I finally got a "live" person.

The thing I have always had with U-Verse support contact? Extremely friendly service. Both by phone or by chat.  I tell them my issue and they apologize for my trouble and inconvenience and they will do everything they can to resolve my issue.

And guess what? They do.

The chat guy said that we would get a technician tomorrow between 12-4. His mistake was that the technician actually came out today from 12-4. I "hung up" with the chat support person at 11:40AM.

What did he do? He looked at my main DVR unit, checked the cabling, went to each of the other rooms where we had receivers and checked them out. Two of the receivers, he replaced cabling. I mentioned that our network was sluggish, to which he said, after working on the receivers for about 40 minutes, 'your modem is old; I'll just replace it with our new ones'. I also asked if he had extra remotes since my daughters lost theirs; he brought us four (for each receiver).

He replaced the modem and reconfigured our network. He also set up the main remote control for us. I asked him if he had a name and address that I could contact someone to express how great a job he did. He said 'that's not necessary. you may get a survey tomorrow.'

Every time we have had to contact someone, we get near instant help. Today was the first day I waited a bit longer for help via chat. But it certainly was the fastest in regard to having a technician come out to look at our line and equipment.

These guys are fricking technical too. They aren't the Geek Squad from Best Buy, these are people that I could hang with.

This service is 100% the complete OPPOSITE of what I got from Time Warner. We were always on hold for much longer and the person on the other line? NEVER NICE. Almost like 'why the hell are you bugging me' attitude. I had to return my DVRs at least twice for replacements. I remember the last scenario very well:
Drive clear across town to their office.
Wait in line.
Watch one person working, shuffling along as though this was the last place on earth they ever wanted to be in.
Facial expression is the lamest, most dreadful, "i-don't-want-any-shit-from-you" face one could put on.
When it's my turn, a give an enthusiastic hello and smile (because I always seem to think I'm different and will make a positive difference to every person I meet) which I get 'help ya?'
I explain my problem, hand over the DVR, she literally tosses the DVR in a drawer with others, then pulls out a different one and hands it to me.
I noted that the model number appeared to be a lower number than the one I turned in.
Doesn't matter, she says.
I sign the paper work and I'm on my way to hook it all up myself.

I have never touched anything on my AT&T equipment, except the power off/on on my DVR. The techs, or my hardware guy (AKA Tim) are the only two who have done more than I have...and Tim, only because he moves the equipment around to get a better "stack".

I am impressed. And this is the kind of service that I would never have expected because who delivers this kind of customer service anymore? It's just unheard of. Especially from a megacorp like AT&T. I hope I didn't curse myself and it goes downhill from here on out.

One thing I did notice is the technician had an iPad. He used it to get the network set up on our modem. This is one of my recent projects at work: researching how people use tablets...and then there's the curiosity of how people use this for actual work vs. being just a consumer and viewing things. I sat near him, looking over his shoulder, watching him do his work, looking at the software. He was soooo nice to accommodate my geeky curiosity. And I now, not only do I have a new modem, new remotes, new cables...I now have new information that I can use at work.

That's how all customer support should work all the time...and then some.

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