…And I think I’m gonna cry. Seriously. I’ve been a Tmobile customer for years, and fled AT&T to join them because of sucky customer service, to use polite words. Now I know everyone’s got their favorite networks, and some folks think TMobile is Satan’s preferred provider. I’m not having that debate here, just want to look this deal over and talk about it a bit.
I first found out this afternoon here on Mashable: http://mashable.com/2011/03/20/att-tmobile-2/
Here’s a chunk from the article that, as far as I’m concerned, lays out part of the problem: “If the deal meets regulatory approval, AT&T will be the largest wireless provider in the United States”.
I’m feeling deja vu all over again. Why? Cause I used to be a Cingular Wireless customer. Anyone remember them? Anyone remember who they became? That’s right class, AT&T. I’m starting to think AT&T has decided not to bother improving their own customer service, and just buy up companies that treat customers like actual people instead.
From what I see around the web, Mrs. Linc and I are not the only very unhappy campers. On various article comment threads, I’m seeing responses like these:
“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! I left that over-priced, data-Nazi carrier for a reason, and now it seems I’m getting dragged right back to them. As I said in the poll, AT&T is going to ruin T-Mobile, and now all I have to look forward to is higher prices for worse service: more expensive unlimited texting, no unlimited data, oh, and no tethering anymore either I guess; unless I want to pay out the ass for it. Man I hate AT&T…”
“We T-Mo’s lose our unlimited data plans and AT&T network still sucks a year from now.”
“I hope the next MyTouch T-Mobile commercial shows the AT&T guy push the T-Mobile girl out of frame and says “Enjoy our 3G network b****!”
“I think the T-mobile girl (Carly??) needs to call her agent ASAP!”
To their credit, the T-Mobile people are doing damage control. There’s a press release on their website now. Unfortunately, there’s nothing on the front page to point you to it. There REALLY should be. Customers are concerned…um, no, scratch that. They’re pissed, confused, and don’t want their service to suck again. Here’s the link to the press release: TMobile Responds
In Q&A format, the basic theme is: don’t panic customers, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE! Really…we promise…even though we’re merging with this company a shit ton of you ran away from and can’t stand. Honest, we know most of you were blind-sided by this, but just keep going about your T-Mobile lives. Sign your contracts, upgrade your phones, do your thing. It’s all okay.
Then again, I’m not sure what I expected to see. Something written by the frontline employees that said, “Holy &*^%$!! We don’t want to work for AT&T any more than you want to be their customers!! Try and be cool while we figure out what the &*% to do…and uh, yeah, we’re not panicked at all…um, so don’t you be either.”
On one hand, I do appreciate the T-Mobile folks keeping cool. You want that in a company during a crisis. Which this is for a good portion of their customer base. But when I compare our reactions as customers to the calmness of their response, I feel a disconnect. I don’t feel like they’re actually talking to me. This isn’t the “T-Mobile voice” I’m used to. I’m not feeling the “We’re in this together, let’s walk through it” experience I have when I go into the T-Mobile stores or call the line.
This feels more like: “Yeah, we’ve heard, you’re all upset about this. Here, read this memo our legal department printed up for us to hand out. K? Thxbye! Come back later!”
I’m surprised I even have to say this next thing. When I just found out you’ve been bought by a company I despise, the last thing I want to see is THEIR logo on YOUR press release where you’re telling me it’s gonna be okay. Because while you’re telling me “T-Mobile USA continues to operate as an independent company”, I’m looking at a co-branded memo. And the government hasn’t even approved the merger yet!
Then we come to the question “Where can I express my opinion on this?”. Not an unrealistic expectation, given the situation. It’s not like they’ve stopped making a phone in a really popular color or decided to make Thursday “Sneeze on a Customer Day”. A merger is serious business that affects any company’s customer base. This particular deal has some “added-value” issues that should be addressed. And T-Mobile, appreciated by their customers for above and beyond service, gives us….
Nada. Nothing useful, anyway.
They didn’t even bother to set up a specific email address that can take our opinions and dump them into the inbox of some poor intern at a desk somewhere between the bathroom and the basement. You know, something like thismergersucks(at)tmobile.com? Instead, worried T-Mobs get to go to…
The user forums!
That’s right kiddies. You can register at the company’s forums (which I didn’t even know existed on the site) and maybe your post might be seen among the billions of others. Of course, it probably takes a few steps, like most forums do. Confirmation of email, that sort of thing. I wouldn’t know. I didn’t bother to register and put in my two cents.
Because I know a consumer complaint cockblock when I see one.
And shunting us off to some forum that may or may not be read by anyone, let alone responded to, is exactly that. And it’s also FAIL. A big pile of FAIL.
I have so much love for T-Mobile. They stood by me when I was homeless and made sure I had a phone. When I first joined, they apologized to me for the horrible customer service experience I had with AT&T. I’ve never doubted they could help me with any phone problem, and sometimes I go to the store just to hang out. Especially if I’m feeling down, because the energy in there is always awesome! See, THAT’S the kind of thing we get with T-Mobile. That’s why we’re so upset about the merger with AT&T. More bars in more places doesn’t matter when the customer service that comes with it makes you want to drop your phone in the toilet.
I love you, T-Mobile, but you’ve dropped the ball right off on this. People, especially your people, want to be heard. Heck, we’ve gotten used to being heard. 🙂 Even a dummy email address where we could vent, with a form email that came back addressing some of these same concerns the press release does, but in actual T-Mobile voice, would be better than what’s going on now.
Remember, we stick together. Open up your front page, set up an email address, bring back the “We’re in this together language”, and for God’s sake, get their logo off your messaging!! Unless you’re legally required to now, we don’t want to see it. And if you ARE required to co-brand from now till forever, tell us. We’re YOUR customers, and we live in an age where everybody’s a brand.
Give us transparency and give us some credit. We are a smart group, not a mob. Well, unless you count the “T-Mob” part…