Some Process Improvement Ideas
Initially ordered Fiber + UVerse in July. Install scheduled for August 6. Shortly after the install window expired, received a call from install tech. Can't install anything because there are no STBs. Told to cancel the order and order Fiber separately if that was my priority. Called to cancel, got to the retention folks, mentioned my concern about incentives on what I'd ordered and was assured they'd be around until 8/31. Fiber install August 21 went great. Very happy for 6 days, then the diggers buried my cable. Lost service as they were finishing. Called the 800 number, told them I knew the diggers had broken the cable, given a repair date of 9/1. End of August, I enter my TV order, not wanting to lose incentives. Waited all afternoon 9/1, no one showed up. Called the 800 number again, was told the TV order superseded the repair and I needed to reschedule. Got testy, told the tech a WFH must have Internet, don't worry about TV, repair date now 9/3 (Labor Day). Waited all afternoon, no one showed. Called the 800 number again, eventually was told they'd been out (nope) and resolved a "service delay issue," but if I still didn't have service, I could schedule another tech for 9/11. We were on the phone long enough that it changed to 9/12 by the end of the call. I hung up and decided I'd call Spectrum the next day, but happened to mention my story to a friend who, unbeknownst to me, has a friend inside AT&T. Escalated around noon on 9/5, call from 817 area code at 1:00 to see if I was available, repair tech calls at 1:05 to say he's on his way - to install TV. I tell him good luck, I have no Internet, and he's says he's coming anyway. At 1:20 he's at my door. I tell him the diggers were working from my house out to the post and I'm positive I'd lost service as they were ending their work. He went straight to the post and immediately found two crimps. An hour later, he had the cable repaired and I had service again.
There are some heroes in this story, but plenty of room for improvement by others involved. A 15-day, maybe longer, outage was shortened to 8 days only because of a friend of a friend inside AT&T and a tech willing to listen to the customer and practice a little civil disobedience. I hope my comments that follow will get to some folks at AT&T who can make a difference, and that they'll consider my comments in the productive manner in which they're given.
- When a repair order is outstanding and a new order for another service is entered, the repair order is delayed until the install date of the new order. This doesn't serve the customer well, but more importantly, the customer needs to be advised, in advance. I waited half a day for a repair tech to show up, twice, and didn't find out my repair had been rescheduled until I called.
- After an outdoor repair is done in response to a customer outage ticket, service should be verified with the customer. Such a repair was allegedly attempted in my case, but no one ever called or knocked on my door, and my service was not restored. The eventual cable splice that resolved my outage could have been done at the time, but wasn't.
- The fiber drop post and cable bury process need to be redesigned to greatly reduce the risk of cable crimps. I was out of service for 8 days because of both issues. The run from the ground to the AT&T box on the house is also problematic. Customers should not have to worry about lengthy sections of unsecured fiber optic cable that remain exposed to the open air.
- A lot of 800-number "support" people seem to follow procedures and scripts very faithfully, but perhaps don't accomplish much. I suspect they need some latitude to diverge from the script and use their brain on occasion. A lot of time and money was wasted unnecessarily on my repair. Best I can tell, no one acted on the fact that I knew the diggers had broken the cable.
- As much as I appreciate my friend and his friend for getting me going again, it shouldn't take a friend of a friend inside AT&T to escalate an outage of potentially two weeks or more.
By the way, I did write a lengthy thank you note to the final tech's supervisor, praising his work and problem-solving ability. I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm just a chronic complainer.