Saturday, July 14, 2007

ATT needs 10 business days to execute two SQL updates.

I just had an amusing phone conversation with AT&T. It turns out that in order to transfer a DSL account - with permission and cooperation from both parties -- they need ten business days. As every computer geek knows, this should be matter of two statements issued to a database. I already have an AT&T account (for my iPhone) so, if my customer_id were 12345 and the land line 123-555-1212, it would be something like:
UPDATE residential
   SET customer_id = 12345
   WHERE phone_number = '123-555-1212';
   SET customer_id = 12345, contract_start = current_time()
   WHERE phone_number = '123-555-1212';
Granted, I'm joking a little bit -- but only a little bit. Presumably there would be a few more INSERT or UPDATE statements to make note of the fact that the previous owner gave up his service, and that I'm an iPhone customer, and so on. But presumably that would all be nicely hidden away behind a pretty little web application for the customer service representatives who are now kept busy explaining that it all takes 10 business days and there is nothing, oh nothing they can do about it. Like hire competent programmers for example. The representative understood why I found it frustrating, but assured me it had gotten much better: it used to take 30 days. Even now, they turn the thing off, wait for it to be really-really off, take a break, eat a sandwich, have a beer, then turn it on again. And furthering the irony: I'm reasonably sure I'm going to end up with a second account, and they will be unable to consolidate billing onto my existing AT&T account. So why bother with all this anyway? I happen to be going on vacation exactly when the 10 days should happen. And while Speakeasy has much better service, it's probably not worth the money for my expected use of the line.

1 comment:

frosty said...

Update: I went for the 10 business days, took a vacation, got back, and lo - it didn't work.

Another hour on the phone, and ATT figured out they'd dropped the order. Oops. Apologies. $50 credit. Back on in another 3 days (and then it finally did work).

Once, just once, I'd like these jokers to stand behind their product and their promises. In ATT's defense, pretty much every telecom or cable company I've dealt with is in the same league of stupidity.

I feel sorry for the few good customer support reps they have... I've dealt with some compassionate, if basically powerless, people there, as well as some real assholes.