A Day in Customer Disservice HELL

Oatmeal knows from customer service pain. Well, I lived this the other day and am gonna try something different.


I’m barely two months into my Uverse service and so far, I like the features: more TV shows to distract me, faster downloads to make slacking off multitasking easier, the phone works, and love: I can set up the DVR via my iPad app, from anywhere! So that’s good. Now for the very bad.

Dear Customer Service of the World, this is what NOT to do

09:45 a.m. Cable TV, phone and Internet go completely out.

09:45:27 a.m. This techno-junkie has 34 different heart attacks, refills the coffee and digs in.

09:55 a.m. After my self-help does NADA, I break out the number and call from my cell, since the land line is dead.

10:04 a.m. First call to AT&T Uverse is placed, goes unanswered in the hold queue – with no updates of any kind – for about 12 minutes.

10:16 a.m. Second call is made, more automated unhelp nonsupport. Finally get through to a person, who blames the power outages in the northeast for my long hold time. Excuse me?! Unusually high calls means you call up your 2nd shift in Bangladesh and get them on the phone already. I am disconnected. Uverse 1, Me O.

10: 21 a.m. Third call, actually reach a person who, while yes their English is probably better than my Urdu, is less than helpful, but at least we found the problem (faulty equipment). I get disconnected trying to reach someone who can help after 31 minutes. Uverse 2, Me O.

10: 53 a.m. Fourth call and this one is a doozy that lasted 28 minutes. At which point I get transferred to the manufacturer of said faulty equipment and am told to work it out. With. Them.

Seriously, making ME fix YOUR mistakes? WTH?!

This is Groupon blaming viewers for not ‘getting’ their ‘clever’ ads. This is Netflix dissing its members, pawning the solution to their problems off on the paying customers.

So yes the equipment is under warranty and the company will replace it. In 5 to 10 business days. Because sure, I can go without Phone, TV and INTERNET for almost 2 weeks???!!!!!

11:21 a.m. Feels like call 3,492 but it’s only the 5th try. In which 1) I make it clear I need more help 2) stress the disconnect problem and the fact they need to call my CELL phone in the event we are cut off as my land line isn’t working. After explaining the whole “your equipment, YOU fix it” issue in a 14 minute call, I am yes.. put on hold and eventually, disconnected. Uverse 3, Me O.

11:36 a.m. Call #6 was the lucky one, reached a nice lady who goes by “Cindy” who by noon did agree to send a technician out. Then it was the old four-hour window of service wait, in which I did sneak out for lunch and quick hit of WiFi and the solo PR chat.

03:15 p.m. A very nice, helpful technician replaces the bad doodad and all is right in my wired, wired world.

Biggest Lie in Customer Service

I put this on Google+ before: “A good number to call you back in case we are disconnected?” If that’s not the biggest bunch of bullshit, it’s gotta be top 5.

Normally I don’t call out brands like this, but THIS is why companies get a bad rap. See above, I’m actually liking Uverse. When it works. It’s the support after the sale, when something gets messed up, that needs fixing. What’s worse, it’s highly fixable.. they just don’t seem to try. FWIW.

Thoughts, other stories to share, like why we put up with this crap? 

Photo: used this Despair before but don’t care as it is PERFECT for this rant.

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12 thoughts on “A Day in Customer Disservice HELL

  1. Just found your blog and have to say that this post hit home with me. I don’t think I have ever had one good experience with any cable/internet company. Not sure why but they seem to lack basic customer service skills. The best is when you get a person on the phone and they make you feel like you are bothering them by asking them a question… um, isn’t that your job as a customer support rep?

    I don’t think I would have as much patience as you did though!
    Tiffany recently posted..Recommended Reading – The Barefoot Executive Book by Carrie Wilkerson

    1. You know Tiffany, I’ve heard of Comcast having some decent social media case studies. But then I still hear horror stories so no, I think rumors of a decent cable/utility company tech support/service are possibly urban legend.

      What gets me is when they’re annoyed by your frustration, and have the NERVE to go off script, having already gone through all the self help steps. Esp. when you’ve already told your story to about 4 different people, and are having to repeat it.

      Wasn’t patience, just the need to connect to the outside world. Otherwise, I might have just walked away, gone for a cocktail. FWIW.

  2. This EXACT thing happened to me with Uverse last week. The only difference? I didn’t have faulty equipment. They didn’t accept my online payment. Why? Because I’d never made one before – I’d only sent checks (which, BTW, is their “policy” – you have to send an actual check before they’ll let you sign up online). I just don’t understand how every cable company is SO BAD.
    Gini Dietrich recently posted..The Value of the TweetUp

    1. Other support is bad, but utilities know they are practically the only game in town, that your 1 or 2 alternatives up the street are just as crappy so they really don’t seem to try. And per my previous post, location based places like dry cleaners seem almost impervious to bad WOM, don’t mind losing a customer – plenty other suckers out there.

      Honestly Gini I’m surprised BoA and the rest caves on debit card fees, but perhaps there are enough other banks, credit unions to take away business. Frustrating as it’s not necessarily the service/product itself, but the customer service – rather, the lack thereof – that’s the killer. FWIW.

  3. Wow, that was a bad one; at least the Bengal Bayou Tigers won, huh?

    That is horrific customer service; that’s almost a postal if you could get your hands on someone. You would think they would have some kind of game plan in place in case this happened. It sounds like they were clueless, but then again it probably was a call center and they were clueless…………

    Thanks for sharing.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..I was almost duped into oblivion

    1. How many posts, stories, calls, angry letters does it take to get things to change Bill? Service would cost more, meaning more charges? The FTC let’s utilities sneak in 47 additional service and line charges, all this crap.. but oh vey.

      Lots of football left, sure Ole Miss and Arkansas will play us hard, and hopefully we make and win the SEC title game. Then it’s New Orleans and the big one. 🙂

    1. Thanks Peggy, happy to amuse you with my tale of woe. I would have given up but I mean, I was like O-for-connecting with anyone, cut off from the world so it had to get done.

    1. Hey, I knew I should have Googled which language. The thing Shonali, I’ve heard horror stories about Comcast, DirecTV, Charter (which was ok, but average)… so it’s a case of the devil we know. Whatever, but maybe just maybe some call center manager will see and take this under advisement. FWIW.

    1. That’s the thing Jayme.. I’ve liked it. My Interwebs are faster, my DVR had no problem holding all the high-def recordings while I was out of town. It’s just… when something went wrong, I had to light myself on fire, jump through 348 hoops to get it made right. Even still.. it’s not enough to make me go through the hassle of switching back, paying all those fees. Or at least, not yet. FWIW.

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