Sunday, April 1, 2012

AT&T U-verse: Using Social Media Right

This is a follow-up or continuation of my comment to my last Blog Post. My last post was about who had the best DVR Service (on a separate note, Dish Network's Hopper service is now available). Right after I posted and said that out of what I have actually used, the AT&T U-verse DVR was the best. So, of course, the box took a dump that same night and I lost everything I had recorded (85% of the hard drive was full). So, I spent over hour and a half one night and half hour the following day on the phone with tech support and customer service.  Both were awful.  The tech support manager blatantly lied to me and the customer service manager was rude and condescending. I told them both I wanted the name and phone number of a director, VP or CEO...anyone that would actually help me.  To be fair, they did take care of getting me a new DVR box, but I still lost everything. I thought for the amount of programming lost, that a full month credit for my video service was a fair request...they did not. The highest they would go on the phone was a $50 credit, which they gave me. They also offered to upgrade my service or give me additional premium channels at no charge for 3 months.  I didn't go for that since I didn't want more channels that I didn't need and have to pay for them in the long run.

So, after futile attempts to state my case and argue, they refused to help.  So, I did what any smart marketer or social media savvy person would do...I took to Facebook and Twitter with my experience. I wasn't overly bashing, just posted what happened and what I was upset that point, the lying and the rudeness. I understand cable services and equipment can go bad sometimes. I had taken the same route with Verizon Wireless when they overcharged my early termination fees, and they completely ignored my postings. So, I was pleasantly surprised when AT&T reached out to me on Twitter. They asked me what the problem was and how they could help. At this point, I asked them for their email address so I could explain the experience. I went through the whole ordeal and at the end asked for the contact information of their VP of Marketing, VP of Customer Relations and their CEO. They took my information and apologized and said they had passed it on the Office of the President for the Midwest region and I should hear from them by phone in about 3 days or sooner. I had a voicemail message from them the same day.

I talked to Deb and she was incredible. She apologized profusely for the experience and appreciated that I had given them the feedback and they would look into that. She explained that they do not expect their customers to have to deal with that type of behavior. On top of the apology and taking the time to personally contact me, she gave me a bigger credit than I had originally asked for and said that she appreciated that I didn't drop their service (which I was very close to doing, especially with the new WOW Ultra TV). Needless to say, she was able to win me back over to being a fan of AT&T U-verse.
So what's my point in telling you that story? It's not just to let you know I got what I wanted or that I like their service. It's mainly to show you that social media has a great effect on businesses and can be very beneficial to you...especially with businesses that understand how to use it.  Clearly, AT&T does (and Verizon Wireless does not).  Overall, I spent probably 2 hours on the phone talking to 6 different people (and spending 75% of that time on hold) and got nothing but frustration. I spent about 10 minutes on Twitter and Facebook and maybe 15-20 minutes typing one email. That roughly 30 minutes got me better results than I was looking for.  So, the next time you're not happy with service that you receive or specific product, consider social media as an outlet. I wouldn't replace it with calling their customer service, but especially if they aren't helpful, social media gives you a much larger audience that hears your frustrations.  With social media, companies have a huge opportunity to turn around a bad situation and make it right...all while a large audience is watching.  Those that get it and understand their opportunity are going to make a lot of upset customers happy.  One piece of advice on this tactic, keep your postings respectful and accurate. If you go off the deep end complaining, you risk turning off your supporters by sounding like you're being unreasonable. You don't need to embellish if they're really treating you badly.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment if you've had similar experiences or have any questions.  Please follow my post so you know when I update it.

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