AT&T drove me crazy.  Then came Frank

AT&T drove me crazy. Then came Frank

Woman using smartphone

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I did it without thinking.

It has always worked perfectly.

If I were to take a trip overseas, I would go to the AT&T site.

I would then buy an international data plan and think I wouldn’t use more than the number of GB specified.

Your device is not eligible. Leave

Why should I expect this time to be any different? Yet all of a sudden the AT&T site decided that I would become inferior.

It told me that my device was not eligible for the international plan. All international, that is.

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I was a little thrown. I have an iPhone 12. No, it’s not the newest, but it’s not the oldest either. It has served me perfectly well. Why wouldn’t he suddenly be able to bear being in Europe?

Surely this could be easily solved, so since I was on the site, I clicked on the chat service. Presumably some nice human would rush over to talk to me and sort this all out.

Oh, what was I thinking?

The cat was a robot. He immediately identified that I wanted to purchase an international plan and offered me the link to, oh, the very page of the website I had just visited. Whoever told me my device wasn’t eligible.

It was getting a little annoying. I couldn’t identify the logic behind this blatant nonsense.

Your device is still not eligible. Go away again

So I decided to climb.

I called AT&T customer service. There, a nice human would rush over to chat with me and sort it all out.

Oh, what was I thinking?

The customer service line served another bot. Who, you’ll be happy to hear, sent me a link to the webpage that featured the international plan. The page that told me my device was not eligible.

Groundhog Day? More like Teeth Grinding Day.

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I tried to make the robot disappear by repeating the word “representative” over and over again. It did not work. The robot asked for my password.

When I answered in perfectly human terms, the robot pretended that it didn’t understand me. I came close to fury.

“Please go away, dear robot,” I yelled. “You have been promoted beyond your abilities. You are, if I may suggest, a totally useless fool created by bean counters to encourage customers to go to Verizon.”

Listen, I’m paraphrasing that quote. This led me to accomplice convulsions.

Man says hello, it has nothing to do with your device

Suddenly, it was as if the robot identified my cries. Or rather, I realized that it had made me so apopletically volcanic that I had to be transferred to a human.

It turned out to be no ordinary human. It turned out to be Frank.

I began by praising Frank’s existence and explaining the frustrations I had just experienced. Frank seemed to understand. “Yeah, our roadblocks are no fun,” he said.

I continued to describe my situation and wondered how it could be that my iPhone 12 suddenly not eligible for an international plan.

“An iPhone 12? That’s brand new, as far as I’m concerned,” Frank said.

He then tried to examine what had happened.

“Looks like you’re on an older plane,” he said. “That’s why he won’t let you plan the international day.”

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Of course, I still didn’t understand. Why would the fact that I was on an old plan affect my ability to have an international plan?

Frank wasn’t sure either. But then he came up with some pretty magical words: “Let me come up with a better plan and save you some money.”

What? I was gonna give you more money, Frank. Just being able to use my phone when and where I needed it in Europe.

Frank did what only people like Frank can do. Not only did he save me about $20 a month, but he also gave me an international plan that was cheaper than what I used to pay on previous trips. Before, I was paying $120. This plan caps out at $100.

I thanked Frank with a profusion that borders on inappropriate. He had saved me several emotions, a lot of time and a little money.

“When you make customer service calls, they don’t always go like this,” Frank said. “This one was perfect.”

I’m sure there’s an AT&T robot that will one day be programmed to say the same thing. But the gap between what Frank could do quickly and what the robots did over and over again was huge.

I understand that robots can do many things. I’m not yet convinced that customer service is one of them. There are nuances that a robot cannot – and never can – grasp. There are problems that the bots just can’t seem to identify.

Their world is a rational box, a small rational box.

“By the way,” Frank said. “The code word to get rid of the robot is agent, not representative.”

Yes of course.

#ATT #drove #crazy #Frank

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