I’m a Sucker for Crappy Customer Service

sucker for bad customer serviceHello. My name is Erika and I’m a sucker for crappy customer service. (Hi, Erika)

I own an iPhone, which should actually be called the iPod Touch with Optional Calling Feature. I drop calls to friends, family, clients and other AT&T subscribers on a daily basis. Hell, I even drop calls to AT&T Customer Service.

I have a Facebook Fan Page and I love it even though there’s really no way to get in touch with Facebook’s Customer Service Department (oh – that’s because it doesn’t exist). You can’t get a malicious fan page imitating a key client taken down because, in spite of rallying 20 colleagues to submit a Fake Profile notice, Facebook’s too busy jacking around with privacy settings and figuring out how to monetize the client base they don’t service.

But I’m not leaving either one. And it’s likely because I’m an idiot.

My iPhone has the most user-friendly interface of any mobile device on the market and as a new Mac convert, I’m never going back to the clunky Windows OS. It doesn’t matter that half the planet uses the Marimba ring tone for their phone or the Glass sound for text messages so I’m always in some frantic “Is that MY phone?!” scramble. The only way to get more ringtones is to jailbreak my phone (which I’m not far from doing, for the record), but then I lose my visual voicemail which I do so enjoy (even though I sometimes don’t get voicemail notifications for hours and the phone doesn’t even ring when I have a call).

My Facebook Fan Page not only serves as a hub for those who enjoy my content, it allows them to connect with one another. No matter where I go, I can let everyone know through Facebook. I can drive traffic from Twitter to Facebook to my blog, from my blog to Facebook and Twitter. Followers can share cool links with me on my Fan Page wall. I love the interaction though it’s impossible to get Facebook to remove me as an admin on Facebook Fan Pages I built for clients.

Why do we do it?

Business is about cost versus benefit. For all my bitching, I’d still yearn for an iPhone if I didn’t have one. I’d miss the lively interaction on my Facebook Fan Page and personal profile if I walked away from a company run by a 26-year-old whose built something bigger than he can handle and doesn’t know the first thing about servicing those on which your relevance relies.

Does AT&T suck? Amen and pass the salt.

Does Facebook have absolutely no concept of customer service? Without a doubt.

But I’m staying with both. Somehow technology gets a hall pass when every other transaction in my life can’t escape the scrutiny of a discerning eye. I can’t explain it – except to say that I’m a sucker.

Are you a sucker for anything?

28 replies
  1. Chad Gardner
    Chad Gardner says:

    I can never tell if AT&T hangs up on me for yelling or I just dropped the call. I am guessing the latter.

    Oh, and you don’t need to jailbreak your iPhone for ringtones. http://bit.ly/cGXC2Z I probably made the steps a lot more complicated than they should be.

  2. chicksclimbing
    chicksclimbing says:

    Yes, I am definitely a sucker for the iPhone as well. It doesn't even receive calls in the new house I moved into (I had to get a LAND LINE!), but yet I can't let go of it for the interactivity and connectivity to social networks.

  3. jim
    jim says:

    Companies do good customer service when there's a compelling competitive reason to do so. Until then, not so much. I work for a software company; we make a product that Fortune 400 companies use in their daily business. Our customer service doesn't suck, thank goodness, but I guarantee you it it rises to just the goodness level necessary to keep our customers around when the annual product subscription renewal comes up. We do have fierce competitors, after all, who would love to nab our customers. And while our product is class leading in many respects, it's not so head-and-shoulders above the rest that it's a no-brainer to choose us, and it's not one that inspires lust as the iPhone does.

  4. Elisa Hebert
    Elisa Hebert says:

    I'd venture to say that though the iPhone might be your personal pet, keeping a Facebook fan page (or is it called a 'Like' page now? Ugh) is part of YOUR kick-ass customer service.

  5. Ashley Festa
    Ashley Festa says:

    I ask myself this on a regular basis — why do I put up with it? That’s what I was asking myself the other day when I had to call Time Warner about why the Wifi wasn’t working on my friend’s computer in my house. The first customer service rep I talked to told me she couldn’t find the account after getting ALL our personal info. She said she needed my husband’s Social Security number to verify. Um, no? THEN I got disconnected twice and had to wind my way through the menu and wait on hold because “all of our customer service representatives are currently assisting other customers.” Fat chance.

    Whether it was two dropped calls because of AT&T or problems at Time Warner, I still don’t know. I was furious by the time I finally got someone on the line who could help.

    And yet, I’m keeping AT&T and Time Warner. There are no lesser evils, unless I just don’t want phone or internet service.

  6. Andygirl
    Andygirl says:

    Do I actually get to give advice to you? Little ol' me? But, but. You're my guru?

    Okay, I'll dive in. I run a Facebook page for my company and in order to (one) be able to interact on the page as a fan and not an admin and (two) easily pass the page off when I leave, I created a dummy Facebook account and that account admins the page. If you do that, just friend the dummy account, have that account remove you as an admin, and voila! And you can give your client the login to that account too. I really hope that was helpful.

    My bad service addiction? Verizon internet. I end up screaming at someone over the phone at least once a month. But do I cancel? noooo.

  7. Angel K
    Angel K says:

    I'm happy to hear someone complain about an Apple product. The Macs in my office are RIDDLED with problems: hard drives failing, backups stalling, file uploads rejected and more yet the MAC users NEVER complain. Was wondering if they make you sign some kind of “I promise not to complain about my MAC else Steve Jobs will come and strangle me with his black mock turtleneck.”

  8. Shiva
    Shiva says:

    are you the girl that puts on handcuffs when you call customer service and get put on hold?

    I seem to be a sucker for Facebook, I seldom use it but I do have all of the people I used to work with on my friends list. I even have a widget on Firefox that shows me all of their daily posts without having to go to Facebook. This may sound normal, but I'm addicted to seeing which of the asinine games they are playing. So-and-so just found Loot, so-and-so just adopted a baby penguin, so-and-so just cooked too many tortillas. I don't understand why I allow this! I feel so emasculated

  9. The Redhead
    The Redhead says:

    Funny – I started doing that with the dummy accounts about 6 months ago. SAGE ADVICE for anyone creating FB fan pages for clients, however! Thanks, Andy!

  10. Peter
    Peter says:

    AMEN. AT&T has the absolute worst customer service I've ever dealt with aside from Expedia, Orbitz, Time Warner and the DMV. Plus, once you actually get through the 7-hour hold period, the agent you get is so pissed off from the last 300 annoyed customers that you're lucky if they even attempt to solve your problem… But damn, my iphone is just so freaking useful.

    The other networks may have better customer service, but you're not going to escape dropped calls, late messages and bogged-down networks — that's just 'cuz there are too many people with cell phones.

    Wait, gotta take this…

  11. Mike Stenger
    Mike Stenger says:

    I'm a sucker for good food, great women, and anyone who will boost my ego.

    On serious note (Ok, I joked about that last one about my ego), I'm a sucker for services that after reading about them, sound like they'll add a great value to my life but after trying it out, I realize I don't really need it/will use it in the first place.

  12. Melinda Caroline
    Melinda Caroline says:

    I actually used to do CS work for AT&T… or rather, for AT&T via an outsourcer who shall remain nameless. Granted, it wasn't for their wireless division, so I can't speak for that part of the business, nor do I even know if those folks are in-house or outsourced. But I will say this: It was, in fact, hell. Part of that was the customers, because it seems that a lot of people will say and do just about any old rude thing when they can't see your face. But part of it was AT&T, who did not seem to be willing or able to keep their reps informed or empowered to actually help the customers. At any given time, there was a general policy about how to handle CS requests, and you really had very little choice about what to do outside of that policy. It was pretty good when the policy was to trust the customer and give them what they needed. But when policy changed to “push back on more or less everything,” it became a pretty crappy job. Nobody was happy– not the customers, not the reps, and I'd bet AT&T's bottom line wasn't any the better for it, either. Seems they've learned little to nothing in the decade or more since I extricated myself from that situation….

  13. alexwhalley
    alexwhalley says:

    I have an iPhone that I call an ipod touch with no phone features! Work Dagnabbit!!! It drives me insane and I could not live without it. I love my iPhone! I think perhaps I may be with you in the 'sucker for technology that doesn't work' boat.

    I'm also a sucker for a redhead!

  14. AngelKelly
    AngelKelly says:

    I'm a sucker for a real human being providing service, who treats me like a real human being. I spent 90 minutes on the phone with AT &T tonight after realizing I had a couple phone bills in the few hundred dollar range. I'm happy to say Josh Lambarto or what ever his exact name was was a total sweet heart & fixed everythinng & even sent me off with 1000 new roll over minutes as a cushion (I had burn through mine slowly over a couple of months which had kept me from realizing i needed a plan with more minutes) and I have had a preliminary conv. with my boss, she needs to kick in $$on the plan upgrade, since most of those calls are for work…anyway…..that's me…trying to be available & privide good customer service….thanks!

  15. Suzy
    Suzy says:

    A Huge Thank You for putting words to my frustration with what I refer to as a Goliath company. Their customer service or lack of it “sucks” simply because it can. It's a classic example of how “Past performance predicts future behavior” Why should they change? This works for them.
    As for me, it's Walmart. I don't know how many times I've sworn to never walk through those doors again.
    It's almost like their mocking us because they know they've got us by the short-n-curlies.

  16. The Redhead
    The Redhead says:

    I can't agree more…thanks for stopping by! And you're right – the behemoths would be even more commanding in their space if they upped their customer service game.

  17. JGibbard
    JGibbard says:

    I like you share this same addiction. The only thing I like more is calling it out. I've called out Amtrak, Facebook for Fan Page issues and most recently US Airways…the topic of todays blog post: US Airways, a Living Social Media Case Study – http://ow.ly/17JoqN

    I want to figure out how we can get their attention. AT&T has been a trending topic since nearly the birth of Twitter yet they are doing virtually nothing because they have the exclusivity with Apple for the iPhone…BUNK I SAY!

    Keep calling them out Erika, this post is what's known in my world as: The Good Sh*t!


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