How to Deliver Terrible Customer Service


Three Faces of Customer Service

Tin-Can-TelephoneAT&T’s Customer Service

I have phone service with AT&T. Since moving to a new office in April of 2013, I have experienced a great number of problems with my service. The most recent issue involved resetting preferences for my voice mail. We have two phone lines, one of me and one for my husband’s office. Separate phone numbers, separate businesses.

Something that I expected to take a few minutes turned into a two and a half day marathon of phone calls to get the problem resolved. In the course of this interaction the following happened:

  1. I was on a video call when my office phone rang, and rang, and rang.
  2. I was puzzled as to why my call didn’t go to voice mail after 4 rings.
  3. It was then that I discovered that my voice mail wasn’t working.
  4. I logged into my AT&T account to manage my settings and was unable to fix the problem or do anything besides logging in.
  5. I called AT&T to report the issue.
  6. The AT&T agent didn’t listen when I told him that we had two separate phone lines and he reset the passcode to my husband’s account.
  7. The AT&T agent said he needed to send out a service technician – which didn’t make sense since this was a problem that would be handled in the office.
  8. Made an appointment for a technician to come out.
  9. Technician arrived and said that there was nothing he could do to fix the issue (big surprise).
  10. Called AT&T again.
  11. This time, the agent said they could fix the issue and make sure that both of our separate lines were set up correctly to receive voice mail.
  12. We tested the pass codes and voice mail on both lines.
  13. Still not working correctly.
  14. The next agent co-mingled our voice mail.
  15. After two and half days, the account issue was resolved.
  16. We have two separate phone numbers and voice mail accounts.
  17. The accounts can be viewed online.
  18. Calls are forwarded to voicemail if we are unable to pick up the live call.

I will be happy to use a different phone service provider when I have the option to do so. The amount of time and stress from my experience working with AT&T has been costly.

AT&T earns a grade of D from me

1987 Macintosh Computer

AppleCare is the Exception

On the other side of the customer service coin, I have had almost entirely positive experiences working with Apple support agents. I have invested in AppleCare on all of my p

urchases from Apple since 1987. Apple replaced faulty parts and even swapped out an entire computer under this program. A year after the warranty ran out on my laptop, Apple discovered a problem with the video processor and extended the warranty for that part on the computer model I had. When the video processor failed, Apple replaced it at no cost to me.

A few days ago, I had some problems with my new iMac and here is the sequence of events:

  1. Went to the Apple Support page and scheduled a call back at a time convenient to me.
  2. Got a call at the appointed time.
  3. The agent walked me through several steps to resolve the problem.
  4. We tested the computer and all seemed fine.
  5. I had the case number if anything else related to this incident showed up.
  6. At the end of the day, I experienced one of the issues again.
  7. I went online and scheduled a new call back.
  8. This time, I spoke to another agent who was able to quickly pull up the details of my previous case.
  9. The Apple agent  listened to the problems I was having with the computer.
  10. She walked me through several steps to resolve the problem.
  11. It turned out I had to reinstall the operating system.
  12. We got that going and because it was going to take about an hour to complete, I suggested that the Apple agent call me back rather than stay on hold while this was happening.
  13. She gave me her direct line to call her and promised that if she was on the phone at that time, she would call me back in a few minutes.
  14. I called her after the installation was finished and left a message.
  15. She called me back.
  16. There was one more thing to resolve and she helped me with that.
  17. The call(s) were pleasant and the problems were fixed.

Apple earns a solid A

After reinstalling the system, I noted that one of the services I use was not working. Which leads me to the next story.

CrashPlan Customer Service

One thing that didn’t work after my operating system reinstall is my back up service through CrashPlan. I called them and was told they were so busy that an agent would call me back. He did while we were trying to fix the issue with the phones, so I missed the call and the message landed in my husbands’ voice mail.

  1. I called CrashPlan again, but it was too late in their day while it was before 5pm PDT my time. I was told to try calling the next day at 7:30 am.
  2. I did receive an email response  to my query. The answer I received was not to the question or problem I had identified.
  3. Now in day three of the issue without help, I called CrashPlan again.
  4. I was put on hold for close to 10 minutes before I was transferred to an agent.
  5. The agent I spoke with today connected to my computer and did a screen share.
  6. He copied the file logs to examine and then said he would be sending me an email with what to do next.
  7. I exclaimed: “You are going to send me an email at the end of the day instead of helping me resolve this issue now? I put in my first service request two days ago and I am still in the back of the que? I am not very happy. I don’t know if this is the right service for me.”
  8. He was polite, said he had many other cases to review. He said the original agent assigned to my case called me while he and I were talking.
  9. I checked my voice mail and the original agent said he would call me back in a few minutes.
  10. That was over an hour ago.
  11. Still waiting for a phone call.

CrashPlan earns a C, no, make that a B+

Update to the CrashPlan Story, when the customer support team member finally called me back, he was able to fix the problem in about a half an hour on both of the computers. He is going to check back with me on Sunday to be sure all is still running well. I appreciate the help and this was not an issue I could have fixed myself. 

Send Me Your Customer Service Stories

If you have a story about a positive or negative  customer service experience, please share it with me.


About Judy Baker

Judy Baker helps authors sell more books. She trains speakers to cultivate clients and grow their profits. Ms. Baker is a branding expert who builds brands, creates compelling conversations and memorable visuals. She transforms your passion into profits, one-step-at-a-time.