AT&T's new CEO Randall Stephenson on iPhone, 1st day jitters and Ed Whitacre

80 Comments

Goodbye Ed Whitacre, Hello Randall Stephenson, the new CEO of AT&T and his new executive team. Long the crown prince of AT&T, Stephenson took over the top job yesterday.

stephenson_sml.jpgWe decided to ask him a few questions, about AT&T, the future and what it means to be the top guy at the biggest phone company on the planet. More importantly, what does it feel to step into the shoes of Ed Whitacre, the outgoing CEO of AT&T. Any first day jitters, we wondered. And is he excited about iPhone like rest of the planet? [digg=http://digg.com/apple/ATaT_s_new_CEO_Randall_Stephenson_on_iPhone_and_more]

Here are excerpts from an e-interview:

Om Malik: How does it feel to be the CEO of new AT&T?

Randall Stephenson
: It feels great and humbling all at once. Ed Whitacre changed the company, he changed the industry, and he revitalized an iconic American brand. That’s a hard act to follow. But he left this company in great shape and that’s very exciting to me and everyone here.

OM: AT&T is a fearsome company now, with a weight of its legacy. Any first day jitters?

RS: Fearsome is the wrong word. The new AT&T is a 6-month-old company with a 130-year legacy of innovation and reliability behind us. When we closed the BellSouth deal in December, we finally put all the major pieces together.

The new AT&T is wireless at the core in terms of great new handsets; in terms of enabling true anytime, anywhere mobility that our customers want and in terms of being innovative and service-oriented. If there are any jitters, it’s from the excitement running through this company about our prospects.

OM: There are a lot of challenges facing the company. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing AT&T as a company and you personally?

RS: Our biggest challenge as a company is to ensure that our customers really understand what the new AT&T is all about. We are the most complete communications and entertainment provider for the way people live–and that starts with wireless. When people recognize that, we win. It’s the same on the business side.

My personal challenge is to make sure that the pieces we’ve assembled–industry-leading wireless, TV, broadband, global operations and local service work together as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

OM: How vital is iPhone to your company? I have never seen AT&T push something so hard that wasn’t developed internally. Why is that?

RS: The iPhone is a radically innovative new device and it only makes sense that AT&T and Apple would partner to bring it to market. This device is very important to us, it’s important to Apple and it is going to do very well with customers. It also reinforces with consumers that AT&T is the place to turn for the latest in wireless devices and services.

OM: Will AT&T change its decision about Fiber-DSL combo (FTTN) and go (all) FTTH in the future?

RS
: It’s never been “either/or” for us. It was always about how to get IPTV to customers the fastest, and that’s what FTTN accomplishes. We have already embraced fiber-to-the-home in certain cases, such as new, greenfield construction.

We like our fiber-to-the-node strategy as well. It lets us deliver multiple streams of IPTV, including HD, to more than 18 million homes at about one-fourth the cost. As compression technology and electronics advance, we’ll get even more bandwidth. The response from customers has been great.

80 Comments

Linda Cabral

I must say after reading all these negative remarks and warrented complaints with regards of “lack of customer service”, I really feel bad, knowing that not everybody is a terrible rep. I personally love my job as a repair rep, and I honestly try my best to go above and beyond to help each and every customer I come in contact with, It`s difficult at times to satisfy each and every concern but we as a whole really try to acheive this goal. As far as the rotten apples go, beleive me when I say they will be sorted out, each and everyone of them, Our managers have implemented some serious customer service skill training classes in every department across all states, as well as making sure we are accountable for our own behavior. I know its hard to beleive but i think within time you will see the changes, and i mean positive ones at that. Our customers are our number 1 priority and i hope you will all see the differance with the New AT&T.

david p

“My personal challenge is to make sure that the pieces we’ve assembled–industry-leading wireless, TV, broadband, global operations and local service work together as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”

If you mean the above, then you’ll contact me.

The new ATT and the old ATT have really screwed things up. You have a 17 year customer (two wireless, international, long distance, fax and local service, $300+/month) in collection for $26, which your reps admit is your mistake. And the new ATT has told the old ATT in a conference call that this is an ATT error, and still I get calls (two today, Sunday) from the ugly, unprofessional, unrelenting and rude GC Services collection company.

Please contact me or have someone who can actually do something in that mess of unintegrated billing systems of yours contact me.

Vernon Moore

California Public Utilities Commission
Consumer Affairs Branch
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102-3298
• My name Vernon Moore account is billed under Rehabilitation Therapy Inc. DBA Robertson ADHC CTR
• Service address 3400 Elvas Ave, Sacramento, CA 95819 Mailing Address 2158 Humphries Ct, Gold River CA 95670
• Mailing address and phone number 3400 Elvas Ave, Sacramento, CA 95819 Phone 916-452-2529
• Name of the company you are complaining about AT&T
• Address and telephone number of the company (if applicable)
• The name of the company’s representative you contacted Tracy C Kohls> AT&T Business Account Manager> DATA & VOICE Specialist> 9169722251/fax 7074277604
• Your utility account number XXXXXXXXXXX
• A brief description of your complaint (please limit your complaint to two pages or less)

This is in regard to over billing issues with AT&T

We are being charged for 2 High Speed Internet Conection every month and sometimes 3
We have tried to resolve this issue with AT&T for over 3 months. But everyone that we talk to tells us that we have to call someone else. We finally get someone who is supposed to be our account rep. Tracy C Kohls> AT&T Business Account Manager> DATA & VOICE Specialist> 9169722251/fax 7074277604 to come to our site to talk to us, by telling them we are interested in upgrading our telephone equipment and services. And they are shocked when we tell them that before we will even think about upgrading, they have to correct the ongoing billing errors and give us accredit on the over charges. This was on January 9, 2008. She promised us she would check into it and have it (the billing errors) corrected but it may take several weeks.

Following is a series of emails between us

From: Vern Moore [mailto:vern@working-vern.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:48 PM
To: KOHLS, TRACY C (ATTPB)
Subject: Credits on DSL overcharges
Thanks for the info on call transferring I was able to pull that info up on the AT&T web site.
Have you had any success in finding out about the DSL overcharges on our bill yet
Vern
ANSWER
Hi Vern,
My Service Rep should be in touch to do a bill review and make adjustments if needed,
( what was the billed number again, I need that to look for a status on this request…)

From: Vern Moore [mailto:vern@working-vern.com]
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 8:00 AM
To: KOHLS, TRACY C (ATTPB)
Cc: Moe Bryant
Subject: Credits on DSL Over Charges
To date I have not been contacted by your service rep. or anyone else from AT&T.

It has been over two months since our meeting. Is this request being ignored like all of the rest that we have made to AT&T? if you can not handle this please put me in contact with someone that can!

Thank You

Vern Moore
Rehabilitation Therapy Inc
DBA Robertson ADHC CTR
916-452-2529
ANSWER
Sorry we missed you.
I think you got lost in the shuffle while I was out on vacation and I was ill for a few weeks prior.
( But I am back and healthy to work hard for you.)

Please let me know what the DSL issue is again that needs to be addressed and I will assign this to a billing rep to help resolve for you.

Sincerely,

Tracy Kohls
HI Vern,

From: Vern Moore [mailto:vern@working-vern.com]
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 11:52 AM
To: KOHLS, TRACY C (ATTPB)
Cc: Moe Bryant
Subject: Re: Credits on DSL Over Charges
Please See Attached as you can see we are being SLAMMED FOR MULTIPLE INTERNET SERVICES

Thank You

Vern Moore
Rehabilitation Therapy Inc
DBA Robertson ADHC CTR
916-452-2529

ANSWER

Did you call the legacy AT&T billing support for the COVAD 192k DSL to verify that it is not being used anymore?

( There number should be on that phone bill…
You will need to call and let them know that the DSL should have been disconnected months ago and Legacy AT&T that was billing the COVAD DSL would issue the credits for that account. They should be able to see if this account is being used or not and would resolve that portion of the billing for you…)

Dave Hovey and I can help ensure that you are only getting 1 DSL bill for the New AT&T billing.

We are trying to verify which ADSL on the new AT&T billing is being used right now , so that we can disconnect the service. …TK

Same old run around, CALL SOMEONE ELSE I CANT BE BOTHERED
THIS IS CUSTOMER SEVICE????

Vern Moore
Rehabilitation Therapy Inc
DBA Robertson ADHC CTR
916-452-2529

Nancy

I have had DSL service through the previous company of Bellsouth for several years now. I now have that service through AT&T because of the merger. I have really had no problems (none compared to the previous post that I have just read) but we all pay for marketing that is done by any company from which we receive service. I receive information to purchase my DSL through AT&T constantly. Can’t anyone there write a program to “Not send marketing information to customers that already have this product”? AT&T must spend millions of dollars in wasted marketing dollars. Mr. Stephenson, you have your job cut out for you. It appears that you have a mess to fix. Good Luck. I would love to see AT&T become a better customer service company because I want to see it survive. Too many of our jobs are sent overseas, but if AT&T has not already made that mistake, I suggest you get control of things before the company that we all have our phone service with is one that is owned by an overseas company,

Maria

Mr. Stephenson,

The following is your quote “The new AT&T is wireless at the core in terms of great new handsets; in terms of enabling true anytime, anywhere mobility that our customers want and in terms of being innovative and service-oriented. If there are any jitters, it’s from the excitement running through this company about our prospects.”

I hate to say it the service oriented statement is a crock!!! I had, yes I said had, been a loyal customer of wireless service for 11 years. To you it may not mean much but it was a big deal to me. About 7 months ago I dropped my cell phone and could not read the top part of my screen therefore if I had text messages and they were short I could not decifer them. I checked to see when I could upgrade my phone and I found out that it was not until November, I thought it was the 7th but it was actually the 17th when I would be eligible. Well November finally rolled around and I was excited to be replacing my phone. On Saturday Nov. 10th I went to an AT&T store and I told the sales rep that I wanted to replace my phone he showed me different models and gave me prices I really didn’t like any of them … he asked me for my number so that we could begin the process of getting my phone and he told me that I was not eligible for the upgrade until the 17th but he could have his manager get an over-ride (how convienient was that!) I told him that I would think about it and get back with him. I then went to Sam’s Club and the sales person was very helpful, by the way she is not an AT&T employee she is a contractor and that’s probably why she was so helpful, after I picked out a phone Vanessa then looked up my account and informed me that I was not eligible for an upgrade until Nov 17th I explained to her that I had just been to an AT&T store and they could upgrade me and she said that because she is just a contractor she does not have that ability and that I would have to wait until the 17th.

I was the first customer on the 17th the rep (not Vanessa) was away from her area getting balloons we finally completed the transaction I signed up for another 2 years of service with AT&T, which is something I have always done, when the rep gives me my phone and the paperwork she informs me that there will be an “upgrade fee” of $18.00 (WHY???) when she sees the look on my face she recommends I call AT&T and ask them to waive the fee since I have been such a loyal customer for so long. I went on my next errand and called AT&T about an hour later I spoke with a young lady and explained the fact that I had just signed a new 2 year agreement and that I was not aware of the “upgrade fee” and could this fee be waived … well she just laughed at me like “are you stupid?” after she was done laughing she said “No we can’t” I informed her that I have been a customer for so long and again she said “No” she put me on hold and came back and said no a third time. By this time I was so upset that she had even laughed at my question that I told her that I couldn’t believe it and that I was thinking of cancelling my new agreement with AT&T, returning my phone and even cancelling my home phone and internet service provided by AT&T! She just said ok and could she help me with anything else. Of course that just made it all worse she didn’t care about me or the services that were being provided by AT&T and the customer she was about to lose! At the end of the call she said I hope that I was able to help you. She helped me all right I made up my mind to cancel my wireless service.

I then called the rep at SAM’s Club and told her about my converstaion and she couldn’t believe the way I was treated and told me to call AT&T and speak with a supervisor. I spoke with a supervisor at AT&T and she was speechless she couldn’t beleive that I had been treated that way and she apologized profusely. She said that the fee could and would be waived. I told her that I was seriously considering cancelling my home and internet service as well as my wireless service. She asked what she could do to keep me as a customer and I said that I didn’t think that there was anything and that the damage had been done. I asked if there would be any problem with me cancelling my new agreement and she said no but she wished that I would reconsider. I was sitting in the parking lot at SAM’s crying out of frustration and actually mourning my loss because up until then I had be a very satisfied customer. I went in the store and there was an actual AT&T rep there I explained everything to her and she took down my name and number and asked what she could do to keep me as a customer, when I kiddingly said how about a free blackberry she laughed and said that as much as she would like to she just couldn’t do that. She realized that I was kidding and trying to control my emotions. Needless to say I did return my phone and changed wireless providers. I paid $54.00 to my new provider for the phone and I didn’t care as now it was just a matter of principle.

So now I am writing to you because 2 days ago I received a bill from AT&T for $192.37. When I called to find out why I had received a bill I was told that I could always check my bill on line – which is not true because all my on line privilages for my ex-wireless service were cancelled on Nov. 17th – Doris Clack (rep) after some research informed me that the bill was for early cancellation of my contract. No-one ever informed me that I was cancelling my service early. I did not know that when I was eligible for an upgrade that didn’t mean that my contract still had 4 months left on it. When I spoke with the supervisor on the 17th and asked her if there would be a problem with me cancelling my new agreement she said no I didn’t know that by me cancelling the new agreement my old agreement was back in effect and I still had 4 months left on it. I just found this out today when I spoke with Jeff Stewart – AT&T Sales Manager he said that AT&T has the option to offer the upgrade at 20 months into the contract and at that time they can offer a new agreement (how beneficial to AT&T). When I spoke with him today and asked him about this and if there was anyway that this could be waived since I was not aware that I had canceled early he said no, he was sorry that I had been treated the way I had been but that I should have known that there were still 4 months left on my contract. That it was my responsiblity to be informed. I told him that I had signed 2 years ago and that I wasn’t sure of the end date and I believed that it was at the same time that I was eligible for an upgrade he said that I should have read my contract. I asked him if he reads his contracts and he responded “Yes and that he keeps copies of all his contracts and that he has the very first contract from when he leased his first car”. I told him that I admired him for that but that if a survey was taken he would be one of the few that did this. He told me that when I cancelled my new agreement the old one went back into effect – no-one ever told me this and that I still had four months left. I asked to speak with someone above him and he said that he was that person. I asked him if I were to suspend my service with my new carrier, which they allow – believe it or not, would I be able to fulfill the remainder of the contract and he said yes. I asked him how much my bill is normally so that I could make an informed decision and with a $36.00 activation fee and my average of $57.00 a month I would be paying more if I did this than to pay your bill of $192.37. I told him that I felt like I was being screwed again! I asked him if the $36.00 fee could be waived and he said no, after speaking with him further and asking him if he reported to anyone and after informing him that I was going to speak with the CEO if necessary he asked if I would like to speak with his boss and I told him yes that is what I asked you earlier. He finally came back on the line and said that his boss was going into a meeting but that she said that the $36.00 fee could be waived. I then asked him to note that on my account and I would get back with someone and I also asked him if I should die today after all of this stress what would happen to my bill he said that at that time the contract would no longer be in effect and there would be no bill. THAT IS REALLY GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE to think of me when I die and to stop sending me a bill.

I would really like this matter resolved as quickly as possible and if that is not the case if you would please provide me with the name of the person in your legal department that my lawyer would need to speak to in order to resolve this issue in court.

I appreciate this message board as my lawyer will have ammunition to substantiate my claim of the worst customer service that AT&T provides.

Thank you, Maria

Johnnie Godwin

Leaving AT&T/Bells after being a customer for over 50 years (through all the break-ups and mergers)? After much hassle, I learned my New AT&T Tennessee.net won’t let me do automatic pay with VISA–as I’ve done in the past: only with Master Card or withdrawals from my bank account. Ridiculous. Customers cost lots more to get than to keep or lose. And 50+ year customers are a rarity. President Randall needs to try to call his own company and make auto payments with a credit card. He’ll have fun if he’s got a sense of humor and an endless amount of time. Disastrous customer relations for all of AT&T.–Johnnie Godwin

Eileen Ferraro (formerly Maschenic)

I am a formerly AT&T employee (30 years service) as well as my husband who also had 30 years service. At this point all I could say is what a disgrace AT&T has become. Shame on you as a corporation who once was a family to become a phone number that no one can deal with. Where is your customer focus, where are the people who once cared. In trying to resolve a problem with your so called billing department I am truly ashamed to say the I was once an AT&T employee. I am trying to resolve a $39.95 problem (only because I get my employee discount) and can’t make anyone understand a simple transaction. What type of people do you have working for you – my grandchildren ages 11, 10 and 1 could do a more efficient job. Shame on you AT&T go back to your original standard where you actually care what happened in your industry. If not for my discount you would not be my carrier of choice which is terrible to feel this way as a once dedicated employee. Shame, Shame and more Shame on AT&T.

Sincerely
Eileen Ferraro (when employed Eileen Maschenic)

Martin Pallares

Once again a large company has decided that the single consumer doesn’t matter. Well this customer who has 4 seperate accounts with them is packing his bags to go to VERIZON. The customer service is a mess, I have grandchildren of 3 or 4 who could do a better job. Also I have a big problem with a company that will not do what it’s own correspondence says, the case in point is that I had to return a phone who’s battery was always getting hot and was not working properly for that reason. I was assured it was covered by the warranty. A few weeks later the phone was returned with a letter stating that my bill would be charged $115.00. I called to find out why it was not automatically rolled over to the insurance that this phone had and told that was not done. After a few other conversations, the bill arrived, this was a shock besause the cost of replacement due to the problem not being under warranty was now $215.00. When AT&T was informed that the letter we had said $115.00 they said that it didn’t matter that the price told us at the time of turning in the phone for examination was $210.00. Yes, now there are 3 prices and the only one that has written documentation is the $115.00 amount. Also this letter is dated after the date the phone was shipped to AT&T’s contractor for checking (that’s a whole other story on their practices and possible reasons for always coming back with “WATER DAMAGE”). To sum things up as my wife who owns a business put it, if this is what they think a customer is worth then their competition has nothing to worry about because they are doing the selling for them with their poor service all around. Note: My wife and I tried to solve this problem in Emglish and Spanish and got the same results as previously stated by other customers “It’s Your Problem Not Ours” well guess what if you have no customers it then becomes your problem. I am now looking for the BBB site to also file a complaint with them. I hope someone at AT&T comes up for air and realizes that poor service like this is not forgotten soon and that the customer matters.

I encourage everyone who has had bad service or a problem with AT&T to make a post and to post the same on their blogs let’s make a mighty roar one voice at a time.

Pauline Keehn

Good Ole ATT. In 1972 my husband retired from Pacific Bell after working 30 years. At that time he was given a choice–take a larger pension check that would cease when he died OR take a smaller monthly check and I would still have the same benefits–pension check, health care insurance–if he predeceased me. After 35 years and 2 moves I can not find any copy of the original papers. But back in 1972 and with Pacific Bell you did not worry about it, a promise was a promise with “Ma Bell”. She took care of her people and her people worked hard in exchange.
Now ATT is taking 90 days to make a decision on just how much, if any, pension and health benefits I will receive. In the meantime “they” are not paying any monthly benefit checks. I have had NO money since the end of August. At that time they sent a check for $561.00. My husbands monthly pension, after 30 years with the Co., and 35 years of cost of living encreases, was $685.83.
If “they”, I cannot find out just who “they”are, can not make a decision by Dec.23, 2007 they can extend the time until some time in March 2008. But I still will not get any payments AND the health benefits will expire sometime in the spring 2008. Of course, I can sign up for lesser coverage by paying $249.00 per month from my non-existent monthly pension.
I would love to know how to contact Mr. Stephenson in his ivory tower and let him know just what his “wonderful” company is doing to all of the hard-working employees out there in the hinderland. He would not have a company without the line employees and the customers who just want a fair deal. But you don’t get to be the mighty, macho, know it all CEO by being honest, fair and thinking of the other guy.
Am I bitter???You bet I am!!!! What am I going to do when all our savings are gone?? Curl up and die–but that would cure any problems that I could create for the mighty Mr. Stephenson and all his millions and millions of dollars. Cause we can not touch him or his protected life.

Again, I have received nothing, zero, zlitch to live on. Thank goodness we had a small saving account but that is going down rapidily buying groceries, gas for my car, paying the power and propane bills and the property taxes are due on Dec. 10th–over $1,000.00.

It would be interesting to find out what Mr. Stephenson is paid per month and what kind of a pension &/or buyout Mr. Whitacker received when he retired. And what his widow will receive when he dies.

How ATT can get away with cheating all the retirees like this is beyond me. I always thought that a contract was a contract.

Would like to hear from others in the same position.

Luna Tune

Mr. Malik,

This is regarding your following question to Stephenson:

OM: “There are a lot of challenges facing the company. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing AT&T as a company and you personally?”:

Since you have Stephenson’s ear, despite his pat answers, maybe YOU can get this message to him since no one else can give me even the NAME* of the CEO, much less his mailing address.

I have had three days of nothing but frustration with AT&T and am so furious I could scream (and would do way more if I wouldn’t find myself behind bars). You should ask if Stephenson’s going to put REAL people in Customer Service instead of the maddening dysfunctional robots on both phone and AT&T website.

This is the NUMBER ONE most user UNfriendly company I have ever encountered, and I’ve lived 65 years! After three days of trying to get someone — anyone (or ANYTHING) to help me resolve my password problem so I could get online and pay my bill, which was OVERDUE FOR PRECISELY THE REASONS HEREIN, I finally dialed the “O” operator and demanded Customer Service. I got someone named Patty in the Pac Bell Office (who knew? What happened to AT&T?) of which Mary Montoya is supervisor. Patty was polite, partly because she knew I was ready to come through the line and throttle anyone w/ AT&T. I explained to Patty, that every time I tried e-mailing, phoning or getting onto the AT&T site, I was met with a Round-Robin of ROBOTIC VOICES OFFERING SERVICES WHICH WHEN I SELECTED THEM, ALL I GOT WAS A DEAD LINE, not even a recording saying whether anyone was still there, for 5-7 minutes each of the FIVE times I called. This all started Friday, 11/9; it is now 11/12, and as of about a4:30 p.m., am FINALLY able to access my account. After my first couple heated e-mails, a “Michael from AT&T” called and supposedly left me his number [(816-251-2970)] and a msg saying “I’m calling about the e-mail you sent to see if I might be able to help you.” Guess what happened when I returned the call? “YOU HAVE REACHED A NUMBER WHICH IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE, PLEASE BE SURE TO CHECK blah, blah, blah.” That was Saturday. Sunday I was determined to get this resolved so I could LOOK at my bill and determine if the charges were correct. Upon checking e-mail, I got the following msg from “Jennifer” in Customer Service: I have reset your password to a temporary password which you will receive in a separate email. Please use this temporary password to access your account by typing the temporary password as the “current password”. Cutting and pasting the password from the email will not work. You can then create a new password that you can use permanently.

Guess what? NO OTHER EMAIL FOLLOWED, THUS NO NEW PASSWORD. Finally went to bed with a migraine and no password and no access. Somewhere buried in att.com is a phone number, which I called. Here’s what happened: A pleasant male voice asked for my number, which I provided. Then asked for security code or last 4 digit’s of my SS#, which I also provided. Then I was told to “say what we can help you with, such as ‘I’d like to pay my bill or tech support’.” I said tech support, and it went right back to asking me what I wanted to do! This happened FIVE times. Then I tried selecting “pay my bill.” It asked me how much I wanted to pay!! I had no idea, because (duh) I couldn’t get online to find out. I went back and wrote a couple more incensed e-mails, demanding someone give me a DIRECT way to get online and pay my @$%#& bill. Today (Monday)I awoke to a message saying my password had been reset and an E-mail sent to me with the new pw. Guess what? Right — NO E-MAIL!!!

At various points during this process I tried Account Manager, which is another Round-Robin: put pw in, which I KNEW was correct because I use no other! It would take me to a screen that asked if I wanted a tour by video or text. I chose each, twice. Zilch.

I went again to att.com to get a phone number, since I couldn’t find one in the TELEPHONE BOOK. Guess what (I know you’re getting tired of the “guess what’s,” but…) THERE IS NO PHONE NUMBER ONLINE AT ATT.COM!!!!! This is a TELEPHONE COMPANY, folks! There’s also NO PHONE NUMBER IN THE BUSINESS SECTION OF THE PHONE BOOK. Try it if you don’t believe me. There might be one somewhere online if you dig deep enough but I couldn’t find one. In desperation, I called “O” for operator and told her I WANT CUSTOMER SERVICE NOW — AND NOT A ROBOT. That’s how I got the above-mentioned Patty, who finally was able to get the CEO’s name from the supervisor, presumably: She said *TIM HARDEN. (very confusing since he is neither Stephenson nor Whitacre!) Whatever the CEO’s name, YOU CAN’T WRITE TO HIM. I told Patty that it is a shocking policy that someone cannot write to “the head man,” even if it’s understood that one’s message will go through secretaries and/or assistants. Very bad mojo, Stephenson.

Before closing my browser, just for the fun(?) of it, I went back to take a last look. Had I missed anything? No, but I hadn’t tried one thing I encountered during my first try with att.com: Allie!

(Check out Ask Allie): So I asked “Allie” “How am I supposed to pay my overdue bill when I can’t even get online. Here was “Allie’s” choices:
What AT&T products and services may I pay online?
Is my credit/debit card number stored when I pay online.
May I pay my bill ahead of time?
What type of checking/savings accounts or credit/debit cards can be used for online payments?
Is my bank account information stored when I pay online?

I’d told “Allie” I COULDN’T GET ONLINE, and that’s what “she” gave me. Just to see what would happen, I chose the first selection, about products and services.

You’re not going to believe this. The link brought me to another screen that said “The page you are looking for has moved, been replaced, or is currently unavailable to view. We apologize for the inconvenience, please try again.” TRY AGAIN?? TRY AGAIN?????????

SO THAT IS MY NUMBER ONE SUGGESTION TO MR. STEPHENSON: PUT AN ADDRESS WHERE YOU CAN BE REACHED ON THE FIRST PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE. ALSO PUT A PHONE NUMBER FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE SMACK IN THE MIDDLE FOR OF THE PAGE, WHERE PEOPLE CAN SEE IT.

I’ve had TWO sleepless nights and THREE wasted days because of the ABOMINABLE SERVICE FROM AT&T. I would have dropped them long ago but all my business stationary, bus. cards, phone number, DSL are with AT&T, and it would mean losing business and having to throw out a case of of stationery if I changed to another provider. I may just have to do it, though.

One last thing,

I’m going to send a copy of this to the Better Business Bureau as well as a couple of television stations and newspapers. Maybe then the CEO will listen. Then again, maybe not: with the kind of egos that most CEOs have, they probably figure “any publicity is good publicity.”

Luna

wyley braddam

you have rude agents working for your phone service i bought your package for 99.00 it has cost me about 2000. now and now thgey want another 800. + i will pay what is fire but you need to fix your co or no one will buy your service as for me i will not recament any one god bless

Margot

Good Morning,

I am a customer of AT&T. I did not know who else to contact since I could not find the information to email
the new CEO of AT&T. I have been a long standing customer with Cingular before it merged with AT&T. I was always satisfied
with their customer service and I believe at one time I had to call to make payment arrangements when I was on my husband’s account
because he had a terrible accident, needless to say they were very helpful. Well, lately I have been in quite a dilemma. One day life is good
then the next day everything just goes astray. I had to quit my job due to a major illness, so now I am on a fixed income
Unfortunately I had to
rely on my cell phone so much that it brought my phone bill to a very high balance. I called one of your representatives back in late August
and informed her of my dilemma, she was so sweet and helpful and said she could extend my payment due date until October 2nd.
Well, I am still in a bind; sometimes I don’t have money for food so I called AT&T to let them know I was going to pay $200 today and what
other options I have because I would not be able to pay the balance in full by October 2nd and if I closed my account what would happen. The representative Sharon King said that she would check on other options, well she said that if I close my account it would cost
me $175. Remember I don’t have extra cash for this, so she said when can you make a next payment and I said Monday October 1st.
She asked me how much and I said I don’t know maybe $50; money is real tight, that I need to put gas in the car and feed my
son; well she said that If I don’t give her specifics then the account will be suspended. I asked her I am trying and I want to
make good on the payments but I can’t give you a definite answer because of my situation. She was of no help so I asked to speak
to a manager, Jacoby Allen who works at the call center in Dallas. She reiterated what I had said to Sharon, but I could tell with an
“attitude.” I again informed Ms. King my situation and I wanted to make good on my payments, but I could not give a definite answer. She said if I don’t send in another $200 by October 2nd, the account will be suspended. I could not believe that this person could not hear my plea for help! I informed her that I was going to write to the CEO and asked her name again and the representatives name. She again with an “attitude” gave me the information and stated that it will be duly noted that they did try to help me and that I dismissed their help???? What kind of customer service is AT&T running??? I want to make good on the payments,I told them the minimum I could pay is $50, maybe more on October 2nd, but they refused and said I needed to make good on $200.Is this company run by loan sharks??? I know it is a business, but I am trying to make good on it, I am not trying to run away from my bill. I want to give AT&T another chance to help me. I am not one to run away from my bills, but people do need help from time to time and this time… I am one of those.

Teresa

Att. Ceo. Freindly advice please do a test call on your customer service. It is horrible. At this rate of customer service it will needs to improve badly. No one seems to be able to help, or like myself I have been on hold for over a hour. this is regards to a phone exchange only. They can not get it right.

jgormly 772 873 1243

how do I get the CEo the fix my small $28 problem. I have signed up for auto pay 3 times. 20 phone contact, 30 emails and nothing

you promise to contact =and do not. You give me nonsense everytime only $28. Please MR. Stepenson or CEO.

Cynthia

I would really like Randall Stephenson e-mail address so that I post a complaint to his company. I know that with his recent promotion, he may have bought a new house and had telephone service transfered. Well, I did not get a promotion, but I did buy a new home and tried to have my telephone service transfered, only to be told that it would take two months before service could be connected. If you would like to have more info, just e-mail me back.

mmhmzine

Way to go Apple on the deal. Apple and Virgin are the most innovative companies around these days… always creating interesting products that actually work with out the fuss. Nice interview.

anorton

AT&T transister, unix, etc., etc. I think that was the innovation that ATT brought in the 130 years but not necessarily the new att.

Jesse Kopelman

I was thinking about this just today and I think it is Verizon that inherited the 130-year legacy of innovation. The companies that make up AT&T were the less innovative of the Baby Bells. Verizon: CDMA and FTTP. SBC: TDMA and FTTN. Which one sounds the more innovative to you?

Memo

Is it just me or does that guy have one hell of a silver tongue? Every answer is perfectly positive to shareholders and employees alike – even the totally innocent negative you insinuated Om (re: “AT&T is a fearsome company..”) gets instantly squashed by Mr. Randall Stephenson..

Its the little things like this that makes a guy CEO of AT&T.. impressive to say the least

brian lam

OM, great piece. Looking forward to the deeper piece to come. Few people writing online will be able to match that.

Ash Vasudevan

This is precisely why Gigaom is my start page to the Internet. Great job, Om. What a coup. Cannot wait for the longer interview.

Om Malik

Given that he actually gave the time on the first day of the new job, this is the best we could do. I am going to fly to San Antonio and spend some quality time with him, and dig deeper on various different issues.

Matthew Campbell

Lame, what a boring interview, you have such interesting commentary on Ma’ Bell usually, this looks like such a suck up piece. Gee do you have jitters in a new job whatever.

Om Malik

Thanks guys. appreciate your kind words. I am not sure about King Jobs. Hey but we will keep trying.

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