Make it Easy to Buy: 3 Strikes for AT&T

Evidently, AT&T has too many customers and wants a few of us to leave.  At least, that’s what it seemed like when I tried to help my brother upgrade his internet connection.  Any one else have too many customers?  I didn’t think so.

… must be time for another Monday Rant.

This actually happened on Tuesday after Christmas, but I’ve been saving it up.  Jim was hoping to begin streaming movies from Netflix with the new blu-ray player he had bought for the family.  Unfortunately, the movies stuttered and “buffered” too much to bother watching.

No problem, we said — just get AT&T on the phone and have them crank up the speed a bit.  We weren’t surprised that movies — especially the High Def offerings on Netflix and Vudu these days — needed a better internet connection than the email and YouTube fare that the family was used to.

We were surprised, however, at just how hard it is to spend money with AT&T.

Strike One: Finding the phone number to call was tough — it was not written on the DSL modem.

Strike Two: Getting them to answer the phone was tougher yet — 15 minutes on hold waiting for a sales person.

Strike Three: Buying something was impossible — the sales person was NOT ABLE TO SELL US ANYTHING.

For reasons I still don’t understand, the sales person referred us to a website.  Given that we were calling to buy an internet connection, you’d think that making the sale would not rely on an internet connection. That’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, don’t you think?

You know how these stories go so I won’t belabor the point.  Suffice it to say that we should all make it EASY for customers to buy something.

OK, I’m not the best at this, but I’m trying.  Notice that my website blogs (like this one) go out to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.com.  I’m trying to speak to you where and how you want.  Trying to make it as easy as possible for you to find me and interact (and buy something if you want).  I’ve posted products for sale on the website and on FaceBook, and I’ve put my email address out there for anyone who wants to chat (david @ rocksolidfinance.com).

At AmeriStart (the company that Jim and I own together), the story is the same — we make it easy to buy. We have products at every price level.  We have people who speak multiple languages.  You can call, tweet, email, post, group, link or even reach us by fax if you want. (It still happens once in a while!)

How easy is it to buy from you? Do you answer the phone every time?  (And does your voice mail work well when you don’t?)  Can a customer use PayPal, VISA, Check, Credit, or Cash to make a purchase?  Can he place an order 24×7 ???

AT&T is setting a really good example of how NOT to do it.  Perhaps they think they still have a monopoly.  Perhaps they have forgotten that the cable company down the street is offering three-times the connection speed for the same price…

And perhaps when they get a disconnect notice from enough customers, they will wonder why.   In that case, I’d be happy to give them our 3 reasons!

Dedicated to your profits,

David

PS: another quick utility story –– the gas company just left my house.  I had a tiny leak.  Piedmont Natural Gas came on a Sunday.  They fixed the leak and checked the entire house for other problems.  They were polite, professional and prompt.  And they did not charge me even a penny to do all of the above. Now THAT’s great service…. and, by the way, they ARE a monopoly!  Go figure.

Originally Published

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