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Get with it, AT&T

January 15, 2021

We discovered recently that our daughter never set up voicemail on her iPhone. No problem, we thought, we’ll just set it up now; it’ll only take a few minutes. But whenever we tried, we got an “unknown error” message. Ok, that’s a bit weird, we thought; we’ll check the website and see if we can figure out what’s wrong. After some poking around, we find a technical support page that diagnosed the issue: voicemail wasn’t set up on her account, and we had to call customer support to get them to add it. Now we thought: WTF? How do you not have voicemail set up on an account, and why do we have to call? If it needs to be added, shouldn’t it just be a toggle someplace? Click here to enable voicemail?

Ok, fine, we thought, and dialed. “We’re experiencing unusually high call volumes.” Uh huh. Twenty minutes later, I actually get a person on the line, who claims that voicemail is already set up on the line. And yet it’s not working. He says he’ll forward me to tech support, at which point I get put back on hold. And after fifteen minutes I give up.

Fast forward to today. “We’re experiencing unusually high call volumes.” Dear AT&T: if your call volumes are always high, they are no longer unusual. Hire more staff. After twenty minutes I get a person, who starts to help me and then (accidentally?) disconnects the call. Great. Twenty more minutes of waiting to get to a person, who spends thirty minutes trying to help me, only to give up and tell me he’s going to forward the call to tech support. Thirty minutes later I get through to a person, who pokes around in their system and successfully fixes voicemail support on her line.

So why did AT&T cost me two hours of my life? Apparently if you don’t set up voicemail within 60 days of adding a line, they disable voicemail. But it still shows as attached to the account, so customer service reps are clueless as to how to fix the problem. You need to reach a human who (a) knows that AT&T disables voicemail and (b) knows how to re-enable it correctly.

Get with it, AT&T. If you’re going to have this policy of disabling voicemail, its incumbent upon you to make sure you customer support people know how to re-enable it. Even better, just make it a fricken’ on-off toggle in your account that you can fix yourself with a couple of clicks. Or just cancel the policy; if your systems are even remotely well-designed, the service shouldn’t be consuming resources until it’s set up.

From → Mobile

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