AT&T Mobility and their treatment of customers and employees
Posted Sat June 30, 2012 7:56 pm, by Heather J.
I am an educated woman. I began working for AT&T Mobility in October 2011. Prior to my being hired at AT&T, I had a successful business for many years. Upon my separation from my husband, I stopped doing my business and focused entirely on finishing my degree. Two years after we separated, I realized that I needed to get a job. I applied at AT&T and was excited when I got my first interview and was hired on the spot.
I live in Alaska, and was sent to train for a month in Cerritos, California, requiring me to fly back and forth to California every week. At first, I was so excited to be working for such a great company. They put me up in a hotel, gave me a card for food, and gave me a great rental car.
The second or third week I was there, the corporate cards were being rejected for our hotel and rental cars. The employees that were training with me and I were forced to sit at the rental car center for over an hour while we tried to contact the person handling our training/travel plans. When we couldn't reach her, we called our trainer, who had to get out of bed at 1am and come down to put our cars on his credit card. When we got to the hotel, the corporate cards wouldn't go through again, so we had to swipe our food cards to secure the room for the night. In the middle of this, we ran out of money for food, and had to pay the expense out of our pockets. I was the designated driver, so I also had to pay for gas for the entire group, having been promised I would be reimbursed promptly upon my return from training.
When I came home, I turned in my expense report with detailed notes about what had happened, and it was automatically rejected, the company saying that I needed to use the company card for gas, even though I had been instructed that it was just for food. Then I re-submitted it, and my manager kicked it back, saying I hadn't put the "5 W's" cover sheet on it. We were not trained for the cover sheet, and I repeatedly asked her to help me, but it wasn't a big deal to her, so my expenses were denied. I was very happy just to have a job, so I didn't rock the boat.
Things started happening that started tipping me off that AT&T may be a less than desirable company to work for. Numerous times, customers came in asking to speak to my manager and she refused to see them. One time, there was a huge line waiting and I asked her if we could go out and ring up people who just had accessories. I was still training, but she said in a rude voice "LET THEM WAIT!!!" I felt so bad, because people were waiting an hour just to buy something.
In training, they use a lot of acronyms that if you are not familiar with the industry, you are left scrambling to find out what they mean. Never once in my training did they put me in front of an actual register and train me on the things that I would be encountering everyday.
Needless to say, when I got in the office, I was literally learning a foreign language as I went along. It was the holiday season, and the other reps helped me as much as they could, but it was a bit of a struggle. There were office dynamics that were less than comfortable. The assistant manager was secretly dating a coworker of mine, her subordinate. Another representative was one of the assistant manager's best friends, and the other rep was the roommate of the co-worker who was dating the assistant manager. I felt like I would be the scapegoat in any situation.
One day I got brought into the office because I "took a customer out of the Cue", which was impossible because we weren't using the cue. Also, I didn't see the order people came in, so I looked up and said "I can help whomever is next". I am all about the customer. People who used to be customers of mine frequently came in and asked why I wasn't in business anymore. It was a compliment that they still remember years later the service that they received from my business. After that write up, I started to feel picked on and singled out. My boss didn't miss a chance to give me a jab. One day I was saying in front of a customer that our computer system was acting up, and she said she thought it was "operator error." What kind of message does this send? That I am incompetent.
There were numerous times that customers would hear my boss yelling at me and other reps behind the door and apologize for getting us "in trouble" all for fighting for them. All of the reps agreed that the manager was awful, but all of them had other plans, and didn't need the AT&T job. One day, I went into my managers office and told her that I was feeling some bad energy in the office. I asked her to please talk to me. I asked her if the negativity was coming from the fact that my assistant manager was dating my co-worker and if she thought that it would be possible that I have been made the scapegoat here. She emphatically denied that anything was going on with them. I told her I thought otherwise. Coming from a psychology background, I like to talk things out and not let them stew. She told me that I "think that I am better than everyone else, smarter than everyone else, and that I am offensive." I sat there and took the personal attack, even though anyone who know me, knows that this is not the case. My co-workers were outside to hug me after I came out crying. I told them what she said and they couldn't believe it.
Several other incidents happened. I set a distant relative, a doctor, up for a business account. There was an issue porting his phone, so the porting department wanted me to make sure that his phone ported and asked me to call him. My boss screamed at me for contacting a client without their permission, even if he was a relative. Nothing I could do was right and I was slinking into a deep depression, needing the job, and not wanting to quit.
I decided that I was just going to let the abuse roll off my back. I was going to smile and pretend everything was ok. This seemed to make my manager even more mad. I told her that I send love and light and healing to every corner of her office. She told me she doesn't believe in that because she is a "Christian". By the way, I love it when horrible people hide behind that title. Anyway, I have a large journal full of dates, times, and incidences, but this is already becoming a book.
AT&T employees are written up over every little infraction. We have these customer experience scores, and if a person is upset about their bill or coverage, which is the majority of our complaints, they have the opportunity to take it out on us. I would get bad scores because "our texting package was too expensive." This makes us live in constant fear of losing our job.
I have had numerous customers write my manager about the service they received from me. she asked me if I was soliciting, and I told her no. I also went to work to a handwritten note in my drawer from a customer the other day. I was only part time, but was the high sales person the last two months, and I was number two upon my termination this month.
I was at lunch with a friend and got a call out of nowhere that I needed to skip the employee meeting and come in at 10am. I was denied clocking in and they took me to the back room to fire me for attendance. In 8 months, I have had two times that I was legitimately sick, and another three that I took off after a particularly abusive day with her. I went to my doctor and he told me to find another job, because he was treating another man who works in my office who was having the same issues. Other than that, I have several "tardies" on my attendance where I was 6-9 minutes late. Except, I wasn't late. I was at work, but the computer systems take a while to load up, so if they don't load fast enough, they just count you as tardy, even if you were there.
As far as customers, we are taught to sell the highest plan, even if that is not what the customer needs. I refuse to do that. One other thing that absolutely infuriated me the other day is that I was helping a very nice man who got an iPhone and left town for his job. Upon getting to work, he realized he got a faulty iPhone and brought it back to get another one. We didn't have any black ones in stock, so he said he would take a white one. AT&T charges a $35 restocking fee, and my manager refused to do anything to help him, so we had to send one from another store which would take a couple of days. The man left without a phone, yet still had a bill... These are the kinds of things that happen every single day. AT&T claims to be a company who embraces diversity, but they really are only concerned with their bottom line and not the customer at all.. I want them to put their money where their mouths are.
Also, if you see that your bill is high, you could be subscribed to subscriptions that you may not know about because most people don't look at their bill. I have had people paying 9.99/mo for subscriptions, and sometimes multiple ones. These should be checked out, because AT&T will only go back two months if you find a discrepancy. I had a lady that had been over-charged by hundreds of dollars that I could see. I talked to two customer service reps, who refused to help. I didn't know what else to do. I told her maybe she should think about small claims. I sat on hold for over an hour helping her. She stormed back in a few days later and asked to speak to my manager, who already hates me. She threw me totally under the bus when I was on her side, and boy did I get yelled at. If a company, even a company I work for refuses to do right by the customer, what other options does one have? I got totally screamed at for that one, and I saw the overcharges repeatedly, so it wasn't an isolated event.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work, but AT&T is not loyal to customers or employees. I was told numerous times that I don't matter and that the only thing that matters is the shareholders.
After being fired, I went to another carrier to get a phone. They didn't have an iPhone in stock, so they gave me a loaner android device. NOW THAT is customer service!!!! I want people to be informed about these things that go on in the cell industry. Buying a cell phone is like buying a car.. YOu sign up for two full years. If you HATE your device, you are stuck paying for it anyway, or paying full price for a device. Find a carrier who stands behind what they sell.
I would like At&t to re-evaluate how employees and customers are treated.Their philosophy is "The Customer Rules", but what they really mean is that the shareholders rule. They spend a lot of time hiring and training people, but less time retaining them. Many times the representatives standing at the front lines are powerless to change anything, yet they are the ones getting the negative feedback and being written up and threatened for bad customer experience scores.
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