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When Satisfied Isn’t Satisfactory

Our home phone line was having problems a few days ago. When someone called, our phone would ring once and then nothing more. Even the answering machine wouldn’t pick up. So I called AT&T to get some repair service.

Through the push-button choices, I chose to talk to an agent. After a minute on hold, an agent answered. I told her my phone problem and she said she’d put me through to the repair department. While on hold, waiting for them, the agent gave me a sales spiel.

She asked me about having repair insurance, and explained AT&T’s deal. I said, “No thanks.”

She asked me about Internet service, and explained AT&T’s deal. I said, “No thanks.”

She asked me if anyone in my family needed wireless service, and explained AT&T’s deal. I said, “No thanks.”

She said we were still on hold for the repair department – “I’m keeping an eye on it.” I thought it odd to be on hold like this (the agent continuing to talk to me), and soon I came to not believe it.

Then she asked me to rate her customer service: satisfied or very satisfied (apparently it’s not an option to be less than satisfied).

I said, “Satisfied.”

She said, “You’re not very satisfied?”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not talking to the repair department yet.”

“Yes sir,” she said, “we should be through to them in only another minute. Is there anything I could have done or can do to make your experience with AT&T customer service very satisfied?”

I said: “I can’t think of anything other than get me through to the repair department.”

She said: “OK. Just for clarity, if during your call, you get asked to rate customer service, the question is only for your dealings with me.”

I said: “OK”

I was put on hold. About 2 seconds later, another woman answered and introduced herself as the previous woman’s supervisor. She wanted to ask me why I wasn’t very satisfied with her handling of my call. She said they strive for very satisfied.

I said: “Well, I need my phone line repaired, and that’s not exactly something she can help me with.”

She said: “I understand. Is there anything we can do to make your experience with us very satisfied?”

I laughed out loud, and said: “I still need my phone line repaired. I could talk to the repair department.”

She agreed to put me through to the repair department, but before letting me go she reminded me that if I get asked to rate customer service, the question only pertains to my dealings with the previous representative.

At last, I was put through to the repair department. But I only got a computer wanting me to give my phone number and answer yes or no questions. At one point when I was trying to give my phone number, the computer cut me off with, “You have answered that you wish to discontinue this phone call . . .”

“No,” I said. Fortunately I wasn’t disconnected.

In the end, the computer told me that it has determined there is a problem with our phone line, and a service person will come out to fix it. It should be fixed a week from tomorrow. Oh great. A week without a home phone.

Fortunately, a couple days later our phone line was working fine. They must have fixed it.

Then a couple more days later the AT&T repair man called our home phone. He mentioned the repair ticket he had, but he couldn’t find anything wrong with our line. I told him that it started working properly a couple days ago, and I just assumed they had fixed it.

He said maybe they had fixed it, but the repair ticket was still open. I told him all was well, and he closed the ticket.

So I’m not sure what to think of my experience with getting repair work from AT&T. The initial phone call and dealing with customer service was hilarious, and my dealing with the repair department was only through an automated system. But the line got fixed in a couple of days and the repair man called personally to check up on it. In the end, the result left me very satisfied. Ironic.


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