Fun with AT&T U-verse

I’ve had AT&T’s U-verse service since October 2009, the day we moved into our house. At it’s heart, it’s really a fantastic service offering… IPTV, whole home DVR, advanced DSL, all wrapped up into a nice package. But for the last 6 months I’ve been struggling with a lot of different issues ranging from broken DVRs, freezing TV signal to Internet connections that go away at random. While the issues have not been persistent enough to track down an exact cause, they’ve been frustrating.

The other day, after watching Face Off on HBO (for the first time, I know) and getting right to the climax of the movie, the whole TV signal froze and wouldn’t come back. It was 1AM and my wife was already sleeping, so I muted by frustration and went to be deciding to look into alternatives the next day.

Monday, I called up the two traditional cable providers in the area looking for pricing. Then, I hit Twitter with my plan:

Thinking of dumping AT&T U-verse for Surewest, anyone in KC area have any experience with them?

I actually didn’t get any responses from Surewest customers. What I did get was a little more surprising.

  1. A reply from Ron, a Surewest social media manager saying hi. Fairly standard stuff. (see here)
  2. A reply from an AT&T social media manager, asking for my phone number. This was a little more interesting. (see here)

I decided to DM my number to the AT&T manager, figuring what could it hurt? A little while later I get a call from a Jessica. She asks me what my issues are, and then vows to take care of them if I can wait a couple days while she follows up on them. I said sure, halfway thinking nothing was going to come from it.

Today I get a call from Diane in the “office of the President” of AT&T. Diane has obviously been talking to Jessica, knows what my issues are, and asks if I’ll stay on the line while they get one of their engineers on the line. Right before Diane hands me off to him (I neglected to write down his name) she gives me her direct phone number to contact her to follow up, and then the engineer runs some tests to see whats going on with my service. He schedules a tech to come up the same day and tonight that tech comes out and tests every line and piece of their equipment in my house.

Rick the technician ends up re-terminating some connections, and replacing my “Residential Gateway” (modem/router) with a model that within seconds proves it’s light years ahead of the previous version. We have a nice chat about networking, technology, etc. He leaves.

Where is this all going?

I’m consistently amazed with the level of customer service that a monolithic company like AT&T manages to provide for U-verse. Truth be told, this is not my first positive experience with them. Every time I’ve called their technical support for any type of issue, either with my setup or family who has the service, the people have always been friendly and helpful. They’re well trained, and for the most part seem to know what they’re talking about. Granted, they could invest in some better equipment, but I have yet to have an experience with one of their employees that put a bad taste in my mouth.

The fact that one of America’s largest corporations is monitoring their Twitter feed and pro-actively trying to correct issues that customers have, is really pretty awesome.

Customer service in America, on the whole, has gone to crap in the last 10 years. Ironically, it’s companies like AT&T with their advanced networks that can put an army of poorly trained and poorly paid people in call centers all around the world, that corporate America have used to reduce their bottom line. But thankfully AT&T themselves don’t seem to be following the trend they’ve helped create.

I need to call Diane back tomorrow and thank her. Now, hopefully the service will be stable enough that I don’ t need to even call for support again. If not, I know who to talk to.


Originally published at techvirtuoso.com on April 27, 2011.