Monday, March 9, 2015

AT&T Tops Forbes Worst Customer Service List

Government approval ratings are at an all time low. According to the latest CNN poll, just 13% of Americans agree that the U.S. government can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time. Now new customer service data from Forbes released last month shows that companies like AT&T may be headed in that direction.

Hey let's be honest with ourselves. It's not easy when your AT&T and answer to 120,000,000 wireless customers each day. Still, with big customer challenges comes big opportunities.

The survey conducted by Forbes in conjunction with Statista randomly sampled more than 1,000 US customers about their experience with various industries. The list included strong contenders like airlines, insurance, and health care to name a few.

I was shocked to learn that all those paled in comparison to only two industries, the government and telecommunications. Combined these two groups were ranked worst in customer service by a staggering 77% of respondents.

Industries like Airlines and Insurance companies have horrible reputations for poor customer service online, but the data shows Americans are relatively satisfied with the service they receive in comparison to AT&T customer service.

With AT&T at the top of almost every list of the world's largest telecommunications companies, they shoulder the majority of the blame for this study.

So what makes AT&T customer service so pathetic that it's on par with the complete lack of trust in the government? 

There are a three parallels that might surprise you:

Poor communication
Just try and get a hold of AT&T during normal business hours and see how painful it is. At times it almost feels like trying to get in touch with the IRS during tax season. Long phone trees, elevator music, and incompetent staff are just a few of the reasons why I'd rather get slapped in the face than have to call their customer hotline.

Unnecessary taxes
Every time I look at my AT&T bill I am completely shocked by the number of local, state, and federal taxes included in my bill. It's almost like I need a lawyer to understand what I'm being charged for. Trying to change my wireless bill feels like instead I'm filing paperwork for an IPO.

Lack of competition
Does the department of homeland security have any competition? Of course not. If the TSA does a terrible job can we replace them with a private security company? Sadly no. It's the same thing with telecommunications giants like AT&T. Choice in this industry is simply an illusion, unless you want to dramatically increased how many dropped calls you have each month.

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. For companies like AT&T, and even for the US government, this is a lesson they still haven't learned.

Americans aren't perfect either, but each day we wake up and do our best to make things right.