Monday, March 3, 2008

Solve your customer's problems, not your own

I recently opened a new cell phone account with AT&T. Tiffany was very helpful and told me they could transfer my phone number from my company's corporate account to my new personal account, as long as my company put a note on the account giving permission for the transfer. She told me to call back once the note was in place.

I called AT&T back to complete the transfer. Tiffany was off that day. I asked the gentleman who answered the phone if he could help me, here is what transpired:

Me: Hi, I'd like to transfer a phone number from my company's corporate account to the new account I opened with you a few days ago. There is a note on the account allowing the transfer.

AT&T: That's complicated. If we do that it will no longer count as a new activation and you will lose all the discounts associated with the account.

Me: I don't understand, Tiffany said this would be no problem. Why wouldn't this count as a new activation, since I'm a totally new account for you?

AT&T: The number you want to transfer already resides with AT&T, so it's not a new account.

Me: That doesn't make any sense to me. I'm just looking to transfer the phone number, not close another account. The corporate phone will have a new number, I just want to move the numbers to different phones. What do I need to do to make that happen?

AT&T: Did you purchase the phone through us?

Me: No, I got the phone as a gift, I just activated a service plan with you.

AT&T: Oh, well that's a different story, we can transfer the number in that case.

Me: Can you explain that to me? You make money on cell phone plans, not on the phones right? Why do I still not count as a new activation. There is a new account and a new bill being paid every month that AT&T didn't have before.

AT&T: It doesn't count as a new activation unless there is a new phone and phone number.

Me: That's idiotic, but I give up. What do I have to do to get the number transferred.

AT&T: It's probably best for you to come in to do that.

Me: But Tiffany told me I could just call her and she would take care of it.

AT&T: She's in tomorrow after 11.

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