AT&T Employee Tells Why Reps Fail Customers

HardOCP News

[H] News
Joined
Dec 31, 1969
Messages
0
To be fair, you could replace "AT&T" with the name of damn near every cell phone / broadband / cable provider on the planet and this story would read the same.

“You are right to request a user ID [of the rep]. However, it does not help, as every account is noted with the ID of the rep, and management does nothing to discourage the reps’ behavior (as the manager’s pay also is negatively affected by each disconnect their rep does). “This goes all the way up to sales center manager, general manager and VP. None of the higher-ups care or do anything to stop it.
 

csgill75

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 4, 2012
Messages
126
I worked for Bellsouth/AT&T back in 2001-03. What this rep is saying was going on back then. I made over $5k a month in commissions plus $24.00 a hour but I had to lie and cheat people to just keep my job... Managers running around yelling sell, sell, sell! And don't forget to add international LD for a dollar to people who had blocks. I was disciplined for downgrading a old lady in Mississippi to basic services so she didn't have a $150 a month phone bill when her total monthly income was $600. Most people there were on antidepressants and everyone worked 7-7 6 days a week. We made excellent money as my wife also worked there with similar income. She doesn't even remember what she did back then due to the drugs she was prescribed to take by the doctors recommended by the management. The best thing I ever did was quit that job. My wife followed soon after.
 

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
20,637
I hated being forced to sell when I was supposed to be a repair rep (Sprint, then Embarq, then Centurytel, then Centurylink...). This was many years ago (99). But, I hated it. I got let go because I didn't push the sales thing. It wasn't optional. It was forced. Sell, upsell, etc... If they didn't want it, try something else. Just be as pushy as possible...
 

CaptNumbNutz

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
24,016
A very close friend of mine works in one of their call centers since 2010. Everything stated here is almost the exact same story he told me. He and I both worked at Sprint in 2008-2009, and the atmosphere there was not much different once they switched our call center from specialty groups and tech support to simply regular customer service.

As regular customer service agent at ATT with commission sales and as an already high payed union employee, he regularly made $60k + a year. Let me state that again...$60k per year. When he and I worked at Sprint, our pay was around 30k give or take a few grand depending on our sales.

When they switched him from regular customer service to retention at ATT, his pay dropped dramatically and almost everyone in their department lost their minds from the additional stress of the job and loss of pay. He said everyone their was medicated somehow, either with prescriptions, weed, or alcohol. The job itself shouldn't be that stressful, but the selling culture the company had bred continually effected everything right down to the customer experience, which made customers upset, which gets lofted onto customer service representatives who get screamed at in one ear by customers and screamed into the other by management.
 

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
20,637
Money > moral compass in Babylon. News at 11.

Money > customer satisfaction. But, when there are little to no alternatives, then fuck the customer. What are they going to do? Do without?
 

Wierdo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
1,817
Money > customer satisfaction. But, when there are little to no alternatives, then fuck the customer. What are they going to do? Do without?

This is an issue on a macro level, corporations are give lots of leeway, economy comes before social welfare, they can get away with things that a social security unit would go to jail for. It doesn't have to be this way, but hey... profits.
 

munkle

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
11,800
I worked for apple doing phone support for about a 1 year and I can tell you its the complete opposite there. Every training we got was customer satisfaction focused. They asked that we bring up buying applecare but it wasnt a huge deal if we didn't and if they said no then we just dropped it. Company wise apple was pretty good, job wise being on phones with people sucks. Some people are just douchebags.

The only thing that bothered me was that they didn't like us calling customers back and tried encourage us to do it as little as possible. I assume this is because once the call is first dropped they no longer record the call when I call back. I thought it was dumb when they were trying to get us to cut down on call backs because I worked with iphones. If they need to restart the phone I need to call them back.
 

scojer

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
8,994
I have done customer service for both Sprint And T-Mobile. I can say that at T-Mobile it is absolutely nothing like that. Sprint though, it hits the nail on the head.
 

TheOneKnownAsMe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
1,730
Verizon contracts out to a call center where I live, sounds like a lot of the same stuff I hear out of former employees there. The turnover is staggering; the only reason they can keep it up is the never-ending pool of desperate college kids a mile away.
 

pavementeater

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
152
A very close friend of mine works in one of their call centers since 2010. Everything stated here is almost the exact same story he told me. He and I both worked at Sprint in 2008-2009, and the atmosphere there was not much different once they switched our call center from specialty groups and tech support to simply regular customer service.

As regular customer service agent at ATT with commission sales and as an already high payed union employee, he regularly made $60k + a year. Let me state that again...$60k per year. When he and I worked at Sprint, our pay was around 30k give or take a few grand depending on our sales.

When they switched him from regular customer service to retention at ATT, his pay dropped dramatically and almost everyone in their department lost their minds from the additional stress of the job and loss of pay. He said everyone their was medicated somehow, either with prescriptions, weed, or alcohol. The job itself shouldn't be that stressful, but the selling culture the company had bred continually effected everything right down to the customer experience, which made customers upset, which gets lofted onto customer service representatives who get screamed at in one ear by customers and screamed into the other by management.

I use to do IT support for Pacific Bell / SBC /AT&T from 1996 - July 2015. I did this as an employee for 10 years and as a Vendor working for IBM on the at&t contract...
Pay for a Service Rep for AT&T is not longer that high. The top brass has cut pay for new hires in some areas for starting pay by 1/2 or close to half. Starting pay now is a little bit above Min wage + commission and the commission is normally for the wireless sales only. In SF a new hire working as a rep will make around 13.50 and hour + a small commission on they wireless sales.
Some of what the lady said was true but I don't believe the parts regarding so many Reps being on Meds due to the job. I supported both a multi language consumer markets call center and a Chinese lang business call center and I would say maybe 5% or less combined were at a level of stress that had them on narco's. The two call centers combined was around 175 reps...Her complaints about out of state call center , like in Ca and other non Texas call centers not knowing about the products sold / offered in out of region areas is completely incorrect too. I know 1st hand that California call centers have been taking calls from the out of region sense 2000 -2001. So they are well trained in what's being offered in other states and what isn't.
The complaint about out of country call centers was correct , those call centers are all contracted either with a telemarketing style call center or a standard over seas call center... That I know of there are not any direct management people who are running out of state call centers .Normally it's all managed by a local management person or team and then say 2nd level would be in the metro area and or in some cases a few 100 miles away. Regional managers are normally in state too unless the state has a small call center and nothing else going for it .If a manager is in charge of a Texas call center and is in another state then that person would be a low level Sales VP 3rd -4th level.
In house AT&T has taken a nose dive and if you are not a top executive u are pretty much extendible and are treated crap; ATT / SBC has gone down big time after Big Ed retired.
 

cptnjarhead

Crossfit Fast Walk Champion Runnerup
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
1,669
We used to have cell-one for our work phones, they had an actual account rep that drove around visiting businesses. He was extremely helpful and if we ever had any issues, all we had to do was call him. Then AT&T bought cell-one and all that went away. Our business premier account is a joke. The website is so slow and hard to navigate that it takes 3 times as long to find what your looking for. When I call for support i get a CSR who speaks perfect english and seems smart and capable, but after 15 min of talking they cannot help me, so i need to be transferred, that's when the fun begins. The second CSR has broken english, and not very sharp and after establishing the same information i already went through with the first CSR only to find out that they cannot help me either, so i need to be transferred again!. This always ends up with a person that speaks less english than the previous, they have no clue about my problem or how to solve it, and the connection is so bad that i cannot hear them. I feel like I'm part of some sort of psychiatric experiment to see when i will finally lose it.
 

viscountalpha

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
2,618
I should have never picked art as a cellphone carrier. It will be so un fun disconnecting them.
 

jojo69

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
11,128
watchdogteam.JPG


THE FUCK IS THAT ON THE LEFT???
 

SilverSliver

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Messages
12,276
I worked for Bellsouth/AT&T back in 2001-03. What this rep is saying was going on back then. I made over $5k a month in commissions plus $24.00 a hour but I had to lie and cheat people to just keep my job... Managers running around yelling sell, sell, sell! And don't forget to add international LD for a dollar to people who had blocks. I was disciplined for downgrading a old lady in Mississippi to basic services so she didn't have a $150 a month phone bill when her total monthly income was $600. Most people there were on antidepressants and everyone worked 7-7 6 days a week. We made excellent money as my wife also worked there with similar income. She doesn't even remember what she did back then due to the drugs she was prescribed to take by the doctors recommended by the management. The best thing I ever did was quit that job. My wife followed soon after.

You were making up to 140k a year in 2001 at a call center?
 

Ryokurin

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 14, 2001
Messages
10,560
I worked for Bellsouth/AT&T back in 2001-03. What this rep is saying was going on back then. I made over $5k a month in commissions plus $24.00 a hour but I had to lie and cheat people to just keep my job... Managers running around yelling sell, sell, sell! And don't forget to add international LD for a dollar to people who had blocks. I was disciplined for downgrading a old lady in Mississippi to basic services so she didn't have a $150 a month phone bill when her total monthly income was $600. Most people there were on antidepressants and everyone worked 7-7 6 days a week. We made excellent money as my wife also worked there with similar income. She doesn't even remember what she did back then due to the drugs she was prescribed to take by the doctors recommended by the management. The best thing I ever did was quit that job. My wife followed soon after.

Yep. I worked Bellsouth.net techsupport around that period. We didn't deal with sales, but they had us push the connection manager software on every call or risk getting written up. That POS actually generated more calls because of how it considered things to be down. If it pinged a mail server and one of the pings dropped. the user was notified, and that would happen every couple of hours so people would call and demand compensation for it.

Every call had to be under 10 minutes, or you'll be written up. The connection manager had to be used to diagnose a problem or you'll be written up. They did listen to customer complaints though, although not in the context of what you did on the call. I recall being written up because the customer was upset she had to call in to order service because their software CD was designed for a 800x600 screen and her monitor couldn't do more than 600x480. I got her on, but her complaint was with the software, not what I did.

I ended up getting fired because I couldn't get calls under 10 minutes, even though I had one of the highest resolution percentages of the building.
 

Quix

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 12, 2011
Messages
3,710
Maybe it's because they treat their employees like cattle and pay them badly. You can only do one of those two things or you end up with high job dissatisfaction and turn-over. The benefits of making employees feel valued are highly underrated and doing so is not terribly expensive, certainly cheaper than constantly re-hiring.

I used to work for a major Canadian telecommunications company (the blue one) and they treated their call center employees as expendable drones. That's not how you get good work out of people. Then they hired half of them and outsourced to India, which was a disaster. I think they ended up with 3-4 times as many reps to handle the same call volume. It was such a disaster that they killed off that strategy and went back to using internal call centers and Canadian outsourcers. The same company wasted massive amounts of money on overreaching and ineffective management and even employed many people who did very little work. But spend of customer support? Never.
 

rat

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,915
I ended up getting fired because I couldn't get calls under 10 minutes, even though I had one of the highest resolution percentages of the building.

That ended up being the reason I was 'talked to' where I did phone support, too. My coach knew it was stupid but his manager couldn't see the flaw in the logic.

Apparently it truly is better to waste everyone's time by having to have the customer call back and spend 20 minutes via two calls over just making sure it was done right on the first call and taking 15 minutes to do it.

Even pointing out that the return call tends to result in a more hostile customer and a longer wait period for everyone else on top of that didn't seem to matter.

I won the 'best tech' customer feedback survey award two months in a row and that also didn't seem to matter.

My coach also compiled stats and told me personally that I had the least follow-up return calls of everyone on the team. Still didn't matter to his manager.

There's a reason call centers have such high turnover. It's not the job but the people who run these kinds of places.
 

TwistedAegis

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
8,958
That sales culture is everywhere in big business. Same at Wells Fargo; tell each teller they have to sell 5 credit cards per day and each banker behind a desk has to sell 10 checking accounts and 20-30 additional sales.

You had bankers telling old people they should open a home equity line of credit...to link to their checking account for overdraft protection.

The only people who succeed there are the ones who are able to turn their morals off. I've always greatly enjoyed helping coach people financially and educate them on how an employer can help (and banks can help in many instances!); but the goals set by the company are so high you cannot meet them honestly day in and day out.
 

PantherBlitz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
421
Say what you want about AT&T, but until the competition steps up its game they will continue to post large number of new subscribers every quarter.
 
Top