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Dale Wolf

Woe. Woe. Woe. How much I wonder does Cingular spend to advertise its quality service? How much of that value have they destroyed by not living up to their value proposition or to any decent level of customer relationship service? Thanks for sharing. I will avoid Cingular, but my experience with Verizon is only better by degrees. I am drafting a book on simplifying business and would like to include your tale of woe in it. If this is okay, please send me permission. Enjoy your Blackberry.

Dale Wolf

Dave, I should have pointed you to a posting on my site about the chairman and chief exec at Verizon. As customers, we don't have many options where we can find what matters most to us. The Verizon debacle is all over the news media ... I chose to cite the article written in St. Petersburg Times. Run, duck, hide. The sky is falling. My article is at http://contextrulesmarketing.blogspot.com/2005/04/marketing-arrogance-gets-curiouser-and.html#comments.

Paughnee

Dave, I can understand your disappointment, frustration, and antipathy toward Cingular. You really had a rotten experience. (I can't believe they made people pay to switch from AT&T.) I've heard other people complain about Cingular as well, but my experience has been different.

I've been with Cingular since way back (originally SBC), and I've never had any complaints about the service or problems with upgrading. In fact, I was considering upgrading my phone a few months ago and the in-store rep. told me that my current calling plan is actually better than what I would have to change to if I upgraded my phone. My phone is still meeting my needs, so I decided not to upgrade. The Cingular rep didn't make a sale that day, but he certainly increased my loyalty.

I hope the Blackberry is worth all the hassle you went through.

Tim O'Keefe

Dave-

Can I throw Sprint into the cellular companies that suck category?
I have three services: two cell phones and a wireless internet connection.

As you know I am somewhat a techie guy and neither I nor their robotic service/tech folks can seem to get the wireless to work on my machine.

I too have spent a total of two to three hours between being elevated in support to getting called back.

I love how they basically read off of a manual and have zero power to think or make decisions on their own. Therefore if it is not dealt with in the manual it is not fixable. The way the call ends is the best. It is where they really stick the knife in and twist.
"Thank you for calling Sprint, have I answered all your questions satisfactorily?"

'Um, Gee let me think about that for a sec. I guess the answer is no, since you are elevating me to the next bumbler.'

Although somewhat laughable, their robotic question proves that they are not listening and they replace common sense with sticking to the script. They finally, after all this, had someone call me to survey me and try to help.

I can tell the real "bad" customers get the survey treatment that I got.

They called and asked a few dumb questions and then tried to fix the problem, without having power to fix it.

As far as the phones. Those are another story. I don't use them much as I am typically in my office. So it just sits next to me periodically beeping. I couldn't figure why it beeped repeatedly until I realized it went in and out of cell reception. AMAZING! It works one second and not the next, and I have not even moved it at all.

Anyway, I think the problem with these companies idea of service is to make themselves feel good as priority number one. I guess if they create a giant infrastructure of a service department in order to be proud of it's size. While the CSI or customer satisfaction should be the goal.

I hope all is well with you.

Tim O'Keefe
Spider Juice Technologies
Online Realtor Marketing
"Where Real Estate Websites Become Businesses"

Dave Lakhani

Tim, you make a great point above about trying to make themselves feel better.

There is a real opportunity here for someone to crush the big boys at their own game if they want to simply focus. Even though I'm particularly NOT fond of cignular at this point, I'm not too confident any of the other service providers are any better. Again, all signs point to an opportunity ripe for the picking.

I honestly pity guys like you and me (and anyone else reading this) who is even moderately technically savvy, it only adds to your frustration to have to educate the people who should be educating you . . . in between calling them on their BS.

It is good to see that at least one person here had a good interaction with Cingular, I'd hate to think that as a nation we've all become so immune to being treated so poorly that we'd keep doing business with them anyway.

I still remain firmly committed to my current stance which is JUST SAY NO TO CINGULAR.

Gil Friend

Here's another vote for Sprint. Eight support calls over the last two weeks, an absolutely different story from them every time. Not only don't they give any credence to what the previous support person said -- they claim they don't have any record of it in their system. So much for promises.

BTW, last call, when the guy said "Thank you for calling Sprint, have I answered all your questions satisfactorily?" and I replied "Well, no." he got angry with me!

So it goes.

Chuck McKay

Guys, it isn't just the cellular divisions of these companies that run us in circles. Over a month ago I ordered a second ISDN circuit to augment the one I've been using for the last 14 months. For some reason what they installed isn't compatible. I want them to tell me what I need to do to make these two digital circuits talk to each other.
I just spent two and a half hours, was transferred four times, and my call was dropped twice, only to find that SBC is positive the circuit I've been using (and they've been billing me for) doesn't exist.

Charles Phillips

Hi Dave,

I too was an ATT customer. In the interest of saving space,
just ditto your blog above concerning my opionion of 80% of the Cingular support people (I did find about 20% of them to be very courteous and willing to help).

In a nutshell, here's my story:
My wife and I both have Nokia phones and her phone recently began to lose volumn in the main speaker. I had her to go to the local Cingular store to see if she could get a warranty replacement for a phone less than a year old. She was told that she had to sign a new Cingular agreement and buy a new phone compatible with Cingular's system.

When I got home that night, I admit to saying few unkind words to my wife, got on the phone and ordered a warranty replacement phone (I spoke to several people in India (I think)). I had her to go back to Cingular the next day to cancel the new contract, they smiled and agreed to do it.

Then a few days later, I check our bill online (suspicious of foul play). I find that they had charged my a total of $258.00, $240.00 for cancelling the ATT service early and $18.00 for an upgrade fee. Luckily, the billing representative that I called was among the better 20% and she corrected my bill.

Well, I then get the replacement phone, go through all of the steps in getting the phone activated, only to wind up disconnecting my old phone and then finding out that they had sent the wrong type phone. Back to the phones again to
get my old phone re-activated.

I was instructed to call the India warranty folks again, and I had to answer each and every obvious question that was asked of me the first time. Finally, about an hour later, they agree to ship me another phone.

The other phone arrives and it seems to have the same volume
problem as the original phone (exactly the same!).

I repeat all of the steps above and get a third replacement phone ordered. It arrives, same exact problem. I have a technical background and know that things like this just do not normally happen. So I begin talking to technical people
about the problem, with not help from any of them.

Then, due to my technical background, I try to troubleshoot the problems myself. I found that the volumn mysterious improved whenever I took the front cover off the phone. I looked at the fine screen covering the earpiece opening with a magnifying loop, it looked clean? I had a friend of mine to call of friend of his who works with Cingular and this guy actually was familiar with this strange problem. He suggested that I simply enlarge the ear holes in the front plate. I was hesitant to do this due to the rigid attitudes that I had experienced with some Cingular people, so I decided to take it to the local store and then get someone there to enlarge the holes. But the night before,
I tried a 'stupid thing',I washed the cover under running water, put it back onto the phone and it was a loud as ever!

The technical problem resolved! Now I am worried about the
three warranty phones that I have returned to Cingular. They have them going to a 'Postage Due' address that the
Post Office could not have a 'signed for delivery receipt' sent back to me (even though I agreed to pay the total shipping fee?).

I sure do not want to have to pay for three warranty phones that I returned with no proof of delivery!

I have heard 'from a confidential source' that Cingular only bought ATT for the towers and that Cingular employees have been instructed to be 'less than cooperative' whenever
the ATT customers refuse to 'upgrade' to Cingular service (I was told that I need to upgrade by several phone support people, this is consistent with what my wife was told in the local store).

Wish me luck with my warranty return phones. I really do not have time to spend another 6 or 7 hours with these folks
(just think how much this type thing is costing Cingular!
Phone support salaries are not cheap). I had to instruct several Cingular support people that Cingular has bought ATT and I could not actually 'call ATT' with my problems.Some were quite arrogant with their responses.

Thanks
Charles

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