You may have read my past blogs about my bad customer experiences with AT&T. I have blogged, twittered and called them too many times. They have sent 2 technicians to my home and still problems persist (our supposed high-speed internet service cuts out multiple times per day) and they continue to send weekly spam about their U-verse product.

And now I’m done with AT&T. If I can’t get reliable service and they can’t treat me like a person instead of a robot who loves spam, then this just isn’t a good match. After a mailing from the competition, I’m finally switching to Time Warner Cable. Right now, they are my savior. They have an extra glow around them because they are my answer to getting rid of AT&T. We’ll see how they hold up to my expectations.

While I don’t want to imagine Time Warner Cable as anything but perfect right now, it is going to take 2-3 weeks from the time I placed my order until I get their service (lame) and I will have to endure a 4 hour in-home set up so that the phone, internet and cable package works right. But I’d rather have that than AT&T right now, so it’s fine.

Key lessons for AT&T to learn here:

  • Look at your outbound marketing efforts and how many times each week and each month your customer will get your messages. This is a key factor of customer engagement, customer-experience management and marketing today – also known as lifecycle marketing. I was talking with a company a few weeks ago about how many emails one customer could get in a week. They told me it was a very high number. Look at your marketing from a customer viewpoint – imagine how many times they will hear from you. If you send more than one message per month that is likely too much unless your product happens to be highly important to someone’s life.
  • On a related note: Stop with the U-verse spam. I get weekly mail on this topic, every time I log into their website they push the ads in front of my path, and they call me at least a few times a month. During the last call, I told the fellow that AT&T was so bad that I was leaving them (even though he was a personable telemarketer). Everyone I know is getting overwhelmed by this product and its incessant promotion.
  • Clarity of communication and follow through is important when customers have service problems. After the technician visits the customer’s house, there should be clear resolution or definition of follow-up of what the customer should do if the issue is not resolved. Because of lack of clarity and resolution, AT&T had to send a second technician to our home (a cost for them) and the issue is still unresolved.

This is the experience of a long-time customer. I know that means little to a company so big – and that’s why customers are frustrated, why they post blogs like this one. and why they tell friends to avoid the companies that make their lives more difficult.

In contrast, some large companies do get it. When I had a negative experience with the Amica insurance company and blogged about it, they called me to try to resolve the issue. Now that is great customer service – and it’s the reason I’m staying with them – they care.