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A Lesson in Reaching Out for AT&T Fails



Yesterday I, and many other AT&T customers got an email sent to them from an Exec telling customers how important and valuable we are and how AT&T continues to work and invest to improve its network. The letter invited customers to head over to a Facebook page to offer feedback. Nothing wrong with that strategy. In theory.

Well the theory backfired big time, and in my opinion, AT&T completely misjudged the anger that its valuable customers have and the damage to its brand. I don’t think they will have that judgment problem much longer. The Facebook page is filled with complaints that not only surface that anger, but often spew quite a bit of bile. If the intent was to gauge where they really were, AT&T got more than they bargained for. Certainly there’s some piling on going on as well. Intriguingly, AT&T required users to “Like” the page before they could leave a comment, and this raised hackles even more, and certainly kept the page viewable every time someone left a comment.

Talk about a clueless attempt at customer service. This is one heck of an exercise in getting more than you asked for.



  1. Sumocat

    09/09/2010 at 6:29 am

    Cell service is one of those things where people complain when they don’t get good service and don’t bother with praise when they do get it. Why should they? You pay for a service, you should get the service. Nobody’s going to say “Hey, thanks for giving me the service I paid for,” unless they’re being sarcastic. The marketers at AT&T should have realized this. I’m actually one of their content customers, and the extent of my praise for them is usually “I live near a tower.”

  2. aftermath

    09/09/2010 at 8:13 am

    It is considered very unprofessional for businesses to maintain presences on sites like that. It’s been thoroughly researched and while social networks do have marketing value, it’s probably not what you think (and I’m not one to give away trade secrets). For the past five years, top-shelf marketing firms have strictly discouraged the use of “social” websites for professional applications. There are many, many, many, reasons for this. AT&T just illustrated one of them. It’s awesome to think about how “close” you can get to your favorite company via Twitter or Facebook, except for the fact that it’s a farce. Anyhow, if you’re the type of person with an Facebook account, you may not be socially intelligent enough to know or care in the first place.

  3. iphone detractor

    09/09/2010 at 10:23 am

    Are all of the comments there on the topic of poor reception from iphone users? If there is anything the iphone 4 taught us, it’s that apple didn’t bother to design an antenna that worked for the first three versions (let alone check their formula for signal strength!?), and they didn’t properly test the first antenna designed to, you know, make their device functional as a phone. I have at&t and have no problem on my cell, but friends that have the 3gs are approximately unreachable.

  4. HG

    09/09/2010 at 12:49 pm

    I can see what AT&T was trying to do. Since the iPhone is coming to Verizon, they are trying to make iPhone customers feel like AT&T is trying there best to address any issues and concerns. Well I for one what have thought what will happen. So sure enough it happened. What they needed to do is send out a road map of what they are going to do to improve the network, as they have already in some places, but not on Facebook. I know AT&T is going to feel the heat once Verizon gets the iPhone and will see a good amount of customers leave AT&T. I don’t worry as I am in a good coverage area and don’t too much of a problem.

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