I’d been putting off buying an iPhone for several reasons, but a key one was the horror stories I’d heard about the AT&T customer service. I was a happy Verizon customer, often being amazed at the great customer service when I called in with a question.
My Verizon contract had ended. I waited a few more months to see if the iPhone would be available with other carriers after the initial 2-year monopoly. It didn’t. I could wait no longer. I pre-ordered mine on June 8, the first day orders could be placed.
I received a notice on June 12 that my number would be ported over to AT&T on the 19th, when I was slated to receive my iPhone. However, the number they were confirming would be transferred was my office number, not my cell phone number. This would not do.
On June 15 I called the AT&T number I was given and was connected to the amazingly helpful Linda (unfortunately I didn’t catch her last name). She quickly understood the issue and tried to change the order on her end. She could not without my order number, which I didn’t have with me. So she asked if I’d like her to call Apple to get my order number. She conferenced me in on the conversation with the Apple rep, who was also very helpful. Linda got the needed information, we hung up with the Apple rep and Linda proceeded on her end.
She ran into a snag and said we needed to call Verizon to release the number on June 19. Would I like her to call Verizon? Absolutely! Again, she conferenced me in while she explained to the helpful Verizon rep what we needed. They were friendly and cheerful with each other and with me.
After almost an hour on the phone, she said she’d done everything she could on her end, but that the SIM card would come with my office number on it, which won’t work. She said I’d need to go into the AT&T store to get a new SIM card.
I was grateful that she had stayed on the phone and interfaced with the other reps. Others might have just told me to call Apple and Verizon myself and get back to them with the information. Her staying on the line smoothed the process.
I dreaded going into the AT&T store on June 19, as I was sure it would be swamped. I called the store on the 18th to see if there was an expedited line for transactions such as mine, since I didn’t need to go through all the paperwork needed as I’d completed mine online and would have iPhone in hand. They said there was no such line, but they expected the lines to die down after 3:00.
I arrived at 3:45 and there was one man ahead of me on the sign in sheet. But the customers with reps seemed to be taking forever. After about 20 minutes, Jeremy Woolley, one of the reps, called my name and asked what I needed. He was on hold for something else but said he could help with the SIM exchange as that was easy. He was friendly and helpful, even though he said he’d been at the store since 6:30 a.m. to prepare for the onslaught of customers when the doors opened at 7:00.
Unfortunately, it was not as easy as he thought. He called his manager over. They went into the back room to try to resolve the issue with the main AT&T office. They called Verizon, which hadn’t released the number yet. He updated me regularly on the status. He thanked me for my patience. I asked him some questions about my new service while he was on hold with Verizon. He was pleasant and cheerful through the whole transaction.
When I left at 5:00 having it all straightened out, I commented that I might not have been as cheerful after 10 hours of helping a slew of customers. He said he’d had plenty of people who were upset that day with things taking longer than he hoped. He was grateful that I had been understanding. I said it was easy to be when he was so helpful.
At one point, I observed the manager going around the store with a pin knife cutting down the balloons decorating the store. I thought, “How odd that he would spend 15 minutes doing this inconsequential task when 10 customers were waiting for help. Wouldn’t it been a better to help customers instead of taking down balloons? No one cared if they were taken down or not, so couldn’t it wait until after hours or the next day?”
- Do your service providers help the customer get their issues resolved so they can use your product, as Linda did?
- Are your folks cheerful and helpful, even after 10 hours on their feet on a very busy day?
- Are your managers doing unimportant tasks while customers wait in a long line?
(BTW, I love my new iPhone!)
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