AT&T: Customer Service, Soviet-Style

iPhone 3GSI’m ready to upgrade to the new iPhone GS.  But I’ve got a couple of questions, so I called the Fairfield AT&T store, where I got my (now obsolete) first-generation iPhone.

A perky voice said all staff members were busy assisting other customers.  I had 3 options:

  • Leave a message
  • Get automated information on store hours and directions
  • Place an order by credit card

I hit ol’ reliable “0” for operator.  No go.  I was hurled back to the original menu.

So AT&T — the company that promises “sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses,” and which for over a century has “consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services and excellent customer care” — can’t figure out how to let customers stay on the line, and wait for human help.

Although I’m sure if they found a way to do it and bill me, they would.

10 responses to “AT&T: Customer Service, Soviet-Style

  1. Reality Check

    They’re getting you acclimated to the way things will be run when we go to socialized medicine.

  2. Dan:
    Why didn’t you try calling the 800-331-0500 number on your bill? I have found the operators there (mostly in Atlanta) to be extremely helpful.

    Try it out and let us know if you change your mind.

  3. Hi Richard:

    Because I was calling the AT&T store in Fairfield specifically, to see if I needed to pre-order; how many phones they would have on hand, and whether they would be able to transfer certain info from my current iPhone. It was a store-specific call.

  4. Is the Fairfield store an AT&T-owned store or is a franchisee?

  5. I have no idea. Should it matter when it comes to customer service? Just askin’…

  6. BTW, I am always amused by the irony of how “communications” companies fail at the communicating part of their business.

  7. “I have no idea. Should it matter when it comes to customer service? Just askin’…”

    It may matter because the franchisee may not have the staffing resources to answer, while a company store should send you to the central telephone unit rather than put you into voice mail.

    Also why the rush to upgrade to the S model? Apple has a history of hardware/software glitches with new equipment models. I find it is better to wait a few months and not be a guinea pig.

    Oh yeah, I use an AT&T BlackBerry Curve, which I don’t feel compelled to upgrade just because there are newer models – because it works great as is.

    I don’t find the iPhone compelling. I dislike Apple’s closed, Soviet-style censoring, proprietary handheld systems even if the world thinks they are “da bomb”.

    I do have an iPod Touch, which I upgraded two days ago to OS 3.0, not because I cared but in case a client does that and needs support. I haven’t see anything new that warranted $9.95 + tax.

    • My reasons for upgrading:

      1) I’ve had my iPhone for 2 years; like any electronic device that’s used so regularly, and for so many purposes, it’s starting to show its age.

      2) The new iPhone 3G S has many amazing features that work for me. The speed, versatility and new improvements and additions make it all worthwhile. I am especially interested in the camera — I think “06880” users will see major improvements in my photos.

      3) Fellow Westporter David Pogue gave it a great review in yesterday’s Times. That’s good enough for me.

  8. this is how apple develops their products

    Steve Jobbs: Lets make a phone with everything apple has to offer and put it on the market now!

    Employee: WAIT! we should dumb it down so we can keep coming out with revisions and add different letters on the end to each model (g, s, q, p)

    Steve Jobbs: Sure. Lets just take all their money!

    I kid, but, Im waiting for another model to come out before I even think of upgrading

  9. *iPhone 3GS