iPhone + AT&T = Yikes

What a surprise – lousy customer service from a cell phone company. What a shame that it is no surprise at all. Don’t they have tons of MBAs with 6 figure salaries? They do have a CEO paid over $31 million last year. It is so frustrating that even basic stuff is so poorly done, so often and for so long. iPhone+AT&T Bill=Uh-Oh:

It’s a staggeringly, hatefully complex document, designed by some Monty Pythoneseque committee in charge of consumer confusion.

Many people, before the iPhone was released, were already predicting bad results based on Apple’s choice of partner. They wondered how Apple would maintain their typical customer focus when relying on a partner without a good reputation. Well, it is much easier to degrade a system to return the poorest results than to create a system performing at best levels of any portion of that system. This is a great example of failing to deal with the entire system (value stream…).

The first bill, believe it or not, comes to $150. It’s filled with unexplained services and features that were never mentioned during the signup process, like MEDIA MAX, EXPD M2M, VOICE PRIVACY, and AT&T DIRECT BILL. After studying this thing for 20 minutes, I think I’ve got it figured out: activation charge ($36), prorated monthly fee for June ($26 for voice, $13 for Internet use), taxes and fees ($15), plus July billed in advance ($40 voice, $20 data).

What an embarrassment. And the fact that the companies that provide such “service” are not even embarrassed is even more embarrassing.

This development illustrates yet another clash between Apple’s typical philosophy of elegance and simplicity–and the unprepared, cluelessness of its cellular partner.

Very well put, though it could expect more of Apple. They had to know what they were getting their customers into and the failure to manage that better is something their customers have every right to blame Apple for. Read the comments for tons of real customer opinions that are overwhelmingly negative. I wish companies would spend half the time, effort and money fixing these systemic problems that they spend on marketing efforts with little resemblance to what you experience if you actually become a customer.

Related: Standard Prepaid Cell Phone PolicyGood Customer Service ExampleIncredibly Bad Customer Service from Discover CardCustomer Service is ImportantIs Poor Service the Industry Standard?No Customer Focus

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2 Responses to iPhone + AT&T = Yikes

  1. Mark Graban says:

    What a mess. I learned (in business school, no less) that marketing wasn’t “advertising” (convincing people to buy crap), but rather a process of designing products and services that people wanted and met their needs (the need to not be confused or irritated being one of them).

  2. Pingback: Save Money on Cell Phone Service – Price Reductions at Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog

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