AT&T Business Care(less)

I was on the phone the other day with AT&T. I manage wireless phones for the company I work for and I needed to upgrade one employee’s phone and remove two numbers from suspension so I could issue phones to a couple of new employees. That should be simple process. It should take less than five minutes per task to complete. The problem is that there is a difference between “should” and “is”.

Let me take a quick moment to explain how business accounts work. You have a Foundation Account Number or FAN. This is the master account. Under this (like subfolders on a computer) you have Billing Account Numbers or BANs. These are where Subscriber Lines (phones) are located. This allows you to separate groups of numbers by department or region or manager. Now that we have that down…back to the story.

Apparently AT&T has decided that we need a new FAN but didn’t bother to tell me or give me access to it on the Premier site. For the past week or so I have noticed that I haven’t been able to pull up information on voice lines (our air cards are on another BAN and require far less maintenance). Any time I tried to get into the information or perform an upgrade I got a notice about technical difficulties with some long unintelligible string of characters in pretty red text. I tried to give it a little time because I knew that Premier isn’t exactly known for being the most reliable system out there. Go Java!

So anyway, I get tired of this and call the Premier support number. I run through the voice menu options that make the most sense and finally get a person on the phone. This person is not in Premier Support. He advises me I should call this number to get to the proper department…which was the number I dialed that sent me to him. AT&T – Your World Delivered (to the wrong place). We argued back and forth about whether I called the correct number or not and eventually I convinced him that I did indeed dial the correct number and that he should try to get someone on the phone from the correct department to help me out. This results in me being put on hold.

About twenty minutes later I’m finally back on with this guy who tells me the proper option sequence to select in the voice menu system to get to the support department. Someone tell me why the number dedicated to Premier Support puts the option to actually get Premier Support down at option three. Apparently when it asks if you are having trouble with your service on the Premier Support line it doesn’t mean Premier. AT&T wins again with great design. Okay, enough digressing…the guy informed me he had the right place and was transferring me now. I thanked him and heard myself transferred…to the call queue. Yep, stupid music met my ears and the recorded voice thanking me for my patience. Apparently he failed in locating a fellow human being. At this point we’re nearly forty-five minutes into the call when all I wanted was three little things done. Oh, those tasks still haven’t been completed.

Here I am in the call queue of what I can only hope is the right place. I’m not really holding my breath because I usually get transferred incorrectly at least twice before I get to a person that can actually help me. I started all of this at roughly three o’clock. I hit the queue just a little before four o’clock. It is now four forty-five and I am still listening to stupid music and annoying recorded voices thanking me for my patience. I hung up and haven’t gotten my problem fixed yet. And don’t bother trying to get help from your account representative. That’s not his job any more. He’s there to put contracts in front of you and to tell you which useless numbers to call for help. This isn’t like the old days when a rep actually tried to get problems resolved. Nope. He’s a paper and responsibility pusher.

I’d like to thank AT&T for this absolutely wonderful lack of service, confusing voice menus, and absolute most retarded customer service restructure in the history of man. If the guy in charge of my account isn’t really there to service my account. Then call him by a different title. I suggest going with something like Corporate Rape Specialist or Blame Pusher.

  • Joe

    I can so feel your pain here. I deal with this type of thing all the time in my company as well, same exact issues, word for word. And if you have international travelers, ever notice how the international calling features drop off their accounts now and then? Its a feature….

  • Oh I haven't even gotten started on how making ANY change to a line or the BAN results in losing all Opt-Out features on said lines or BANs. Yep…it's a feature for their bottom line…

  • Jack

    Hey, AT&T has sucked for about a decade now. I can remember when you got excellent support from AT&T but back then, you had a dedicated sales rep who managed to stop by for a visit once a month or so for a chat to see if you needed anything and make sure everything was working well. He/She was always on top of things and you had great service and was happy. Then, AT&T decided to take away the dedicated local reps and instead put you in the hands of some jackass idiot back at some office located hundreds or thousands of miles away whom you never really met or got to know and who didn't give a rats butt whether you were a happy customer or not. I went through this nightmare years ago with them after they took away our local rep and after more than a year of trying to get somewhere with the desk-bound “rep” and his boss and his boss's boss and so on with no results, I told them to kiss my butt and switched all of our business over to SBC. Can you believe I wanted to add a new service to our account with AT&T and couldn't get it done for over a year?! The stupid rep kept giving me the run around and I kept calling trying to get something done and the prick had the nerve to stop taking my calls. I tried to go over his head and his manager's were just as non-responsive as he was. Heck, I went all the way to the presidents office, supposedly, and couldn't get anything done with them and I was trying to give them more money for crying out loud. But guess what, SBC had local reps and they took good care of us and we were very happy for several years again. Our SBC rep lived right here in the same town where our company was located and he was easy to deal with and always anxious to try to meet our needs. Later when I switched companies, I ended up with AT&T yet again and if anything, their support and service had gotten worse; so as soon as the contracts expired, I replaced them all with SBC contracts and I was happy again… For about a year anyway, then SBC does something really stupid, they buy AT&T. No, that in and of itself wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but instead of making AT&T take SBC's business policies, SBC basically transformed themselves into AT&T, they even took the name!!! Now, again I'm stuck with AT&T and not just for my local and LD service, they transformed Cingular into AT&T too! The first thing that happened after SBC became AT&T, was they did away with the local reps again. For close to a year, I didn't have an idea of who my rep was and then when I finally got notice from the newly assigned rep, they had several shuffles that left me wondering from month to month who to call. I had some issues that needed to be handled during that time and every time I got a new rep (almost monthly), I'd have to start the process all over again. But finally, I did get a rep who could be considered local. He's only about 60 miles away and he does come to see me a couple times a year and he has been able to help get everything lined out so at the moment, I'm pretty happy with AT&T for local and LD. But I'm having similar issues with the Premier side of things and so far I haven't been able to get that fixed. My issue is that the login they gave me doesn't work and when I call support to try to get help, I get some fool who doesn't even know what a TCM is much less how to reset the password. I literally hate companies like this where you as a customer have to spend hours on the phone for something that should be a minor issue and you can't even get competent service. I'm convinced that they hire the absolute dumbest people they can find to man their phones. It's so very frustrating!

  • Congratulation! Best Wishes and thank you for your interest, it is much appreciated. But I didn't have an idea of who my rep was and then when I finally got notice from the newly assigned rep, they had several shuffles that left me wondering from month to month who to call.

  • Congratulation! Best Wishes and thank you for your interest, it is much appreciated. But I didn't have an idea of who my rep was and then when I finally got notice from the newly assigned rep, they had several shuffles that left me wondering from month to month who to call.