Comcast vs AT&T – Customer Service Don’ts

When you don't have confidence in a company's service, it's hard to trust them with more of your business.

Wouldn’t you like to meet Kevin M. Kearney?  If you have AT&T for your small business phones, Mr. Kearney is the one who sends you those nice letters every month just in case it “slipped your mind” that your calling plan is about to expire.

I’ve received letters from Kevin more times than I’d care to count. I wonder what that has cost him and his direct marketing budget.

And because I have essentially no faith at all in AT&T I have dutifully called the customer service number provided and spoken to whoever answers the phone. It’s never the same person of course. And despite the specific file and confirmation numbers I provide them – from the last call or two or three that I had with their colleagues – they can never seem to find the notes about my situation.

You see my account isn’t going to expire – or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  They don’t understand why I keep getting the letters. They’re sorry. They’ll put a note in the file. Yes, I can rest assured that things are fine.  Oh, they did notice that the plan I was told about on the last call was wrong and no longer exists.  Oh, no problem they can fix it.  No service interruptions.  Here’s the confirmation number.

And then the pitch.  Have you considered adding wireless or data services from AT&T?

No, I’d prefer that you got your core business fixed before you try to sell me another service.  Thanks. And please thank Kevin.

And then there’s Comcast.  Some months ago they added new a charge to my bill. I called to ask about it and was told it was a maintenance fee for a piece of equipment I have in my office.  Now the equipment has been there for years, but now there is a maintenance fee.  I asked about the fee and about the hardware. I then asked if I could just go buy the piece of equipment since the purchase price of the box would have paid out within ten months at the rate of the maintenance fee.  Yes I could, but then they couldn’t guarantee the service would continue to work.

And then the pitch.  Yep, would I consider adding my phone lines to the Comcast account?  Are you serious, I said? Please don’t try to sell me things while we’re still debating this phantom charge.  At which point I was told not to tell her how to do her job. I’d like to speak to a supervisor.  Click.  Yep. Hung up.

I’d like to tell you this has been resolved. I really would.  I thought it had been – several times.  I finally got to someone who agreed that since there had been no notice of the new charge (and there was actually no added benefit at all to the service I would receive) I would be credited.  Here’s the confirmation number.  No problem. Thanks for your business.

Only the next bill showed the credit and right below it the system had reversed the credit out.

This has been going on for months.  I call back. Get a supervisor.  Am assured that the credit will go through this time. Nope.

I’ve concluded that the only way to have a chance of getting their attention is to call back regularly, tie up as many of the customer service people as I can on the phone until the cost of the resources being burned up in the customer service unit is greater than actually providing customer service.

I’ve explained to both AT&T and Comcast that the only reason either of them is still in business is that the other one is still in business and the choices we have are bad and worse.

So if anybody see’s Kevin, please tell him I’d like to talk to him.  He has some customer service issues.