Get ready for an “Ohio”-type story*—this is going to take a while. But I’ll start off with the bottom line.
It all started yesterday afternoon when I tried to rent a movie from U-verse on Demand. (The Grand Budapest Hotel, if you are interested.) I was about twenty minutes into the movie when an error message came up telling me the movie was no longer available and I should contact U-verse.
Sigh. I bit the bullet and dialed U-verse and waded through half a dozen prompts and requests. Before I could reach a live person, my movie mysteriously came back on. I stopped waiting patiently on hold and went back to watching my movie. Although it wouldn’t let me pick up where I left off, I was willing to watch the first 20 minutes again. I was enjoying my movie, happily munching popcorn and drinking little Cokes for about an hour when the movie cut off again. Same message.
FINE. I called U-verse again, went through the prompts and tests, and finally reached a non-English-speaking customer service representative who couldn’t help me but was happy to schedule an appointment for a technician to come to my house today between 12 noon and 4 p.m. On a Sunday? Yes, he promised. I agreed to the appointment. I even received three text messages confirming it.
I waited for the appointed time, and moments before 4 p.m. I received a text message that the tech had been delayed but would be at my house within the hour.
I waited. He wasn’t. Another text message arrived asking me to reschedule. No.
Next, I had a painful text conversation with some poor guy in India or possibly Thailand that AT&T is probably paying under a dollar to handle customer service and angry customers. One of my biggest issues with AT&T is their pretend customer service. I hate their platitudes squeezed in between reminders not to text and drive. If they cared about customer service, they would pay people to provide it. They would train and empower people instead of giving them poorly crafted scripts and threats of what would happen if they lost customers on their watch. How can you put a powerless person in the position of customer service? You can’t. It’s wrong.
Here is the conversation (and yes it has it’s funny moments go ahead and laugh)
You are now texting with Sangeetha. Please note messages over 160 characters may not be received. As a reminder, Don’t Text and Drive. It Can Wait!
Hi. Would you like to get a status or reschedule?
I can help you with that,
For your security and to ensure we protect your privacy, I must authenticate your account before I can access your records to assist you.
Could you please provide the four digit Passcode associated with this Account?
Thank you. I have authenticated you.
Katybeth, I’m sorry. I see that, we need to reschedule the appointment with you to fix the issue.
No thanks I waited all day.
I apologize for the inconvenience. Please do not feel that way. Due to excessive workload, dispatch team was not able to assign a technician. Please give us a chance, this time sure technician will be assigned and resolve the issue.
No thank you.
I understand how inconvenience it would be from your part. Please wait, I will try everything possible from my end to help you today.
No thank you.
Please wait, I’m trying to get in touch with the dispatch team.
Let me try to get a technician today if possible.
Please wait I’ll be right back with you.
I’m still try to get a representative from the dispatch team.
Katybeth, for the inconvenience cause, I will go ahead and process a credit of $10 from my end.
I have processed the credit for you. You can check the adjustments online or on your next bill.
Thank you. It’s not your fault. I won’t give a bad review. Eating dinner. Goodnight.
Thank you for understanding. What are you having for dinner?
Good. Please don’t go. I’m still trying to get an agent from dispatch team.
I’m sorry delay, Katybeth. Have your finished potatoes?
I’m sorry for the delay..
I really need to go
Thank you for waiting, Katybeth. Please don’t go yet. Be patient little longer. You’ll be rewarded.
I would request you to wait for the technician today. Since the technicians works till 8.00pm, they are possible technician can work on your issue and fix the trouble.
(I walked away from phone at this point)
If you have replied, I did not receive your text. Some phones restrict texts to 160 characters. Please shorten your reply and resend.
I have not received a response from you. Please let me know if you are receiving my texts so that we can continue.
Katybeth did you leave me? Please come back. Technician could come. Reply please.
Thank you for your effort. I’ll be here if the technician arrives.
You are welcome. I want you to be happy. Are you happy?
A representative from AT&T just called to reschedule my appointment.
Patience worked. Glad I could help.
You are welcome. Thank you for choosing AT&T. We appreciate your business.
While I was texting with Sangeetha, I returned a pair of Cole’s shoes to Zappos that we had bought in April but that were falling apart already. The Zappos representative spoke English, was friendly, exchanged the shoes for a different pair that cost more money, and did not charge me for the difference in price. She then e-mailed me a postage-paid return label. While we were working out the details, I learned it was raining in Las Vegas (where she was), and she asked me if I’d gone to Lollapalooza this past weekend. She was so happy to help me and hoped I would come back to shop at Zappos.com again soon.
Zappos appreciates my business. AT&T sucks. I’m ordering a pair of sandals and canceling my U-verse.
Odd Loves Company,
*If you are new to Odd, you may not know, that we call any story that takes a long time to get to the point an Ohio story, because people from Ohio (we love them all, very much) have a meandering approach to storytelling.