Dumbest. Move. Ever. Some brainiac in the AT&T public relations department decided it would be a good idea to add a little “sump’in sump’in” to the corporate email that went out to customers this week, informing them of all the enhancements to the carrier’s network. The company linked to its Facebook page and invited people to leave feedback there. And well… can you guess the rest?
The immediate response was swift and stunning: A crapstorm, the likes of which have hardly been seen before, overwhelmed the page. While some took the opportunity to pose questions or engage in an online smartphone war, posts related to customer satisfaction were decisively negative. The site was a lightning rod for heaps of furious customers, enraged by AT&T’s awful coverage and service.
America’s #2 carrier reportedly spent $3.5 billion in upgrades, and there’s data suggesting AT&T's 3G network is the fastest in the country. But none of that means a thing if users aren’t seeing a noticeable improvement. And apparently, many many aren’t.
AT&T’s coverage holes have been well-publicized (and personally experienced), so the reaction isn’t really shocking. Even so, my jaw still dropped open at this — not because so many people are so upset, but that whoever is masterminding AT&T’s public relations could’ve been so naive. Clearly, it was intended as a positive public relations move, but opening this flood gate was breathtakingly bone-headed and extremely damaging. If there were a few people out there who didn’t realize the depth of the carrier’s customer dissatisfaction, they surely know it now.
TechCrunch culled a few choice comments from the Facebook page, including:
”I'm only sticking out my contract because I dont have the money to pay a termination fee at the moment. “
“The coverage here in Denver is mortifying. On a scale of 1-10, my service here is a 3. I used to love your service, best of all time, was never happier…now it’s a joke. Support is a joke. Customer Service, a joke. They said they would give me a discount once my service got better..I pay $150 every month…after 6 months of dropped calls, lost business, missing everything, they offered me a $31.00 discount off 1 month.”
"I HATE ATT!!!!!!!!"
Although there’s been a lot of press coverage about iPhone users’ dismally spotty service, particularly in major metro areas, let’s not forget that AT&T (finally) picked up Android and WebOS this year, to add to its stable of BlackBerry devices and other phones. If you’re a smartphone customer of any kind on AT&T, weigh in here. Are you one of the angry masses, or are you happy with your service? Let us know in the comments.
For the curious, here’s the email that triggered that whole mess.