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Monday, June 26, 2006

Go Cingular!

This another one in a long line of posts about customer service, the good and the bad. This is a good story. This is how to keep a customer happy and loyal and get them to tell others that your company is worth spending money on. To places like Best Buy, please, take note.

Well, I must admit when Cingular bought AT&T cellular, I had concerns. But as of this moment, they've definitely earned my business for another couple of years. Last month, Stanford had a phone outage. Our VOIP system took longer than the regular phone lines to come back up. This meant I unexpectedly spent two days near the Commencement season doing tech support from my cell phone. This does bad things to your cell phone bill. But after day two of this, I called them up after seeing online that I was definitely going to be over my minutes to see if maybe I could do an advance purchase of extra minutes at a lower rate or something. It was a totally last ditch move because I was pretty sure this cell bill would hurt with a big ol' ouch.

So I called up and the very nice lady discussed my options and we decided to upgrade my plan to a larger monthly bucket because I was usually running close to the limit anyway, so she could retroactively do that for the past month if I liked. I said, "Really?" She said yes. I sat utterly dumbfounded. This was so very cool. She said, "I can do this, but it will mean you're committed to Cingular for another year." I said, "You make this happen and that's completely fine with me." So she did some tinkering and I'm switched over to the new plan, still with my Stanford discount applied, and all is working well. Then she says, "Hmm, looks like you're really close to the close of the billing cycle this month. If your bill comes out funny, just call back and we'll take care of it." So I watched and waited for the bill to arrive, and sure enough it was funky, so I called up, and they in about three minutes they fixed it and said, "Okay, so what you owe is $36.19." And I tried to argue that I owed them more. And she said, "Oh, no I just credited you back to the basic plan price for your old plan. I just took off all the usage charges." I sat there gaping for a moment. Then said, "Oh. Thank you. Thank you very much." She asked if there was anything else she could help me with today. All I could think was, "Could you make the rest of my bills magically smaller too?" but I decided not to say that.

Oh, and also, their cell coverage is fantastic. It's a rare day that I can't get coverage or have a dropped call. This is not the experience of my roommate who is constantly jumping up and running out the door with her Verizon phone saying, "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me now?" Ah, sweet irony!


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