The lengths @ATT used to keep me as a customer, and how they ensured I’d leave. #att

I’m currently trying to cancel my cellular service with AT&T.  (Ironically, there’s a commercial for their service on the radio station I’m listening to right now.)

I was easily able to sign up for services – or increase my services online, but to cancel them, I had to make a phone call – one for each service.

Annoying, but sadly predictable. I expected it.

I was also expecting the “concern” where they worried about making sure I would have service, the upsell trying to get me to buy something else instead.

I was not expecting to be transferred four different times, each time first going to an automated message tree which connected me to a customer service rep who told me that I’d been transferred to the wrong department, then back to another automated message tree.

I was not expecting the customer service reps to have their headset volume set so low that I couldn’t hear what they were saying… even though I could hear the automated messages from the phone tree loud and clear.

There’s making sure your customers actually want to leave… and then there’s poisoning the well. While the profit motive (and short-run gains) may explain some of it – there’s a good bit from the NY Times detailing this – the damage it does to your company’s reputation is far more widespread.

While this kind of strategy can still make a certain amount of (evil) sense in areas where there’s a near-monopoly, doing so in an area as competitive as cellular service is simply insane… especially when it can tarnish your reputation in other bundled markets (internet, television, etc).

Luckily, I’m working the swing shift, so I can swing by a physical AT&T store tomorrow and force the issue in person.

I wonder if they’ll insist on whispering.

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