The Ghost of Ernestine the Operator

AT&T is in competitive space. Understatement.

Before I decided to swing by its Austintown, Ohio retail branch I had considered Verizon and T-Mobile. But, since I had been contracting with AT&T for wireless service for several years, I defaulted to habit.

Immediately, I regretted that yesterday. I felt back in the era of Ernestine the Operator. Her ethos of customer service was take it or leave it — and she knew we weren’t able to leave it.

The night before I had called the AT&T branch on 6000 Mahoning to get information about switching from an iPhone with the many features I wasn’t using to a more simple (less expensive) one. The account rep was helpful.

When I went into the store the next morning, I thanked the sales clerk for the information the night before. Holy cow, I perceived he barked at me, saying he hadn’t been working last night. Nice start to a sales transaction. Where has gracious gone?

Things got worse. A seemingly bad attitude was just part of it.

For instance, I asked him to explain how to operate the phone. It wasn’t until I had returned to my home office that I found out his explanation wasn’t comprehensive. Understatement. I took out the directions in the box. OMG, they were way way off. Cute.

I need my phone. I rushed back to the store. I asked for the manager. She showed me the features I needed to know. At least more than the sales rep had. In the process, she noted that I was “yelling.” You bet I was.

I am now the loudest voice in the room about the shabby sales and customer service at AT&T. I contacted the powers that be at AT&T Mobility about that specific account representative.

Meanwhile, last night I had to call AT&T technical four times about how to navigate the texting feature. Neither the manager nor the formal directions had been useful on that.

Takeaway: Shop around before sticking with your current wireless service provider.

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