They’re one of the worlds largest and richest companies, and they have no idea about the most fundamental principles of business. Oh they think they know; it’s on their wall somewhere, buried in some mission statement or company goals. Plenty of lip service is given to it as it usual in large companies, but AT&T continues to treat their customers like dirt.
The latest and perhaps most shocking example is the story of Giorgio Galante, an AT&T customer who wrote emails to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in part to complain about several aspects of his AT&T experience. After the second email in as many weeks, Giorgio received a phone call from AT&T’s “Executive Response Team” thanking him for his feedback and at the same time warning Giorgio if he continued to email the CEO he would be served with a cease and disist letter. Threatening your customer with legal action because he tries to communicate with an officer of the company is so shockingly dumb I am at a loss for words. Is that what they teach you at B School?
It’s not the first time, however, AT&T has acted in such a way. As they were being barraged by complaints about the poor network service AT&T said it was the customers who were using too much data and they would have to look into doing something about that. Yes, our service stinks and it’s your fault mr. customer, so I will have to find a way to penalize you for that. And in fact, AT&T has now found that way, this week announcing dramatic changes to their data plans for smart phones like the iPhone. Unlimited access is gone and customers now much choose between two data plans, both with data limits and charges for going over the limits.
How does AT&T get away with this nonsense? Because they have the iPhone, the most popular cell phone in the world and you cannot buy it from anyone else. Apple may have signed a pact with the devil on this one and like it or not, there is some blowback that Apple suffers from all this as well.
I believe something needs to change drastically in the mobile world. We can no longer allow companies to sign us up for long term (2 year) contracts and then treat us so poorly. Since all the mobile companies seem to be in league with each other on most of these egregious practices, it’s going to take some kind of government action to step in and fight for the American consumer.
In the end, I don’t know what AT&T is thinking on this one. Is Giorgio Galante a pest? Unnecessarily filling up an important CEO’s email with trivial complaints? I don’t care if he is a nusense . He’s a customer, he has a right to be a nusense. He deserves to be treated with respect. He deserves an answer to his questions, not a threat of legal action.