iPhone 5 pre-orders set a sales record last week, selling out in less than one hour following the smartphone’s September 12, 2012 debut. I ordered mine from AT&T. This two-part post will cover 1) my AT&T customer service experience and 2) why I upgraded to the iPhone 5.
AT&T iPhone Orders
How do I change my shipping address from my billing address? Many AT&T customers have been searching for answers about why you can’t ship your att.com or apple.com iPhone 5 order wherever you want. These sites offer free shipping to your account billing address only. This is supposedly to prevent fraud. (Oh how easily I could have committed fraud on my eventual call center order.) Online, the only way to request a shipping address different from your billing address is to actually change the billing address on your AT&T account. Not ideal. And if you can trick the system that easily, not sure how they are preventing fraud. Your other option (what I did) is to order by phone from AT&T. Shipping then goes up to $9.95.
Ambience: The call center on-hold song is a muzak version of “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. The lyrics could be interpreted as reflecting on not taking risks in new relationships for fear of getting hurt, then wondering what could have been. This amused me; start playing the song as you read on so you can join me on the call.
Senseless upgrade fee: AT&T’s reasoning for a $36 upgrade fee on my contract eligible upgrade from iPhone4 to iPhone5 (while maintaining my same unlimited data plan) is that “they have to charge a fee in order to provide the phone discount.” Please. At least give me an excuse such as, “it covers the cost of internal processing for updating your line’s new capabilities such as 4G.”
Customer recognition and retention: The least the call center agent could do was to greet me with, “Hello Ms. Binder, thank you for being an AT&T customer since 2005, we appreciate your business” like my credit card company does. But the seven years of our relationship was unrecognized. Successful customer rewards clubs and frequent traveler programs and any company trying to engender loyalty through suggested exclusivity or recognition recognizes length of patronage as a basic given. (The best custsvc companies have a purple goldfish.) The loyalty years thank you is one sentence an agent can read from a prompt that can change the entire tone of the conversation for the better. Especially as a wireless provider, you better be thanking a customer who’s stuck with you for seven years, especially considering that you’re the main print yellow pages
robber barons company.
This is why I keep one foot on the ground in our contracted affair; I hear Verizon’s voice in my head, I hear Sprint’s music serenading me, but still, AT&T, I pay you an extra $45.95 so you can “prevent fraud” and ship the phone to my office…
I never loved nobody fully
Always one foot on the ground
And by protecting my heart truly
I got lost in the sounds
I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart…
Fidelity – Regina Spektor (AT&T’s call center hold music)
Check back for Part 2 of this post on Thursday 9/20/12.