A couple days ago AT&T had a regional internet outage. I found out about it when I got home from work – my family said “hey dad, the wifi is acting up.” So I did all the normal stuff – checked the router, rebooted it a couple of times, etc.
That didn’t work, so I checked Twitter and discovered that AT&T has a “helpful” support account: @ATTCares.
The @ATTCares account says this in the profile: “Want help from a real person? Tweet your issue to our team of problem solvers. We love a challenge, and we know how to find the answers.”
Last night, @ATTCares … didn’t seem to care.
The network outage was a large, multi-state problem, and lasted a good 6-7 hours at least. Through it all … AT&T didn’t acknowledge that there was a problem or say anything about a service interruption on their Twitter account.
What I saw instead was this:
- We’ll definitely look into what’s going on. DM us your account info to get started? ^ATTCareTeam
- We’re happy to help. Pls send us a DM with more details on what you’re experiencing? ^ATTCareTeam
- Our team can assist you. Pls DM us your accnt info so we can look into this for you. ^ATTCareTeam
I tweeted them, and didn’t get a reply until 10am this morning (the problem was fixed by then).
So I read a book, went to bed, and the problem was fixed by morning. Oddly enough, at 10am this morning @ATTCares finally responded to me by saying this:
Good morning, David. We appreciate you taking the time to make sure that we are aware of the issue and want you to know that technicians are already working toward a resolution as quick as possible. We apologize for this inconvenience ^AriO
— ATTCares (@ATTCares) January 3, 2018
Umm … thanks?
So. What could AT&T have done differently?
- They could have used their Twitter account to acknowledge the problem, and tweet updates. That would have been really helpful! They could have said something like this: “yes, there’s a problem. We don’t have an ETA, but we are working on it and will update as needed.” That’s all I really needed to know – instead of wondering if my router was having problems.
- They could have let their own staff know about the issue. From the tweets of other irritated customers, the people who called AT&T support weren’t told about the outage. Instead, they suggested sending out AT&T technicians to fix the problem. Not helpful in this situation, and glad I didn’t call!
- Also – AT&T should probably not claim there’s a real person at the other end of a Twitter account if there’s really not. From the responses I saw, it looks very much like they have an automated bot of some sort that replies to tweets and asks for info to be DM’d. Those replies were frustrating other customers.
Ok. So does your library ever have an outage, or a service that isn’t in operation for awhile? I’ll guess so. How do you share those issues with your customers?
Here’s what my library does:
- We have a way to make web announcements for things like inclement weather or if bookmobile schedules change. We also use it as a reminder when the library is closed for holidays
- We put up signs inside and outside the building.
- We use social media to share – especially if something unusual happens, like we close because of weather, or if there’s a power outage (it happened last year).
- Also make sure your own staff knows! Email and the staff intranet are great places to do that.
Make sure to share so your customers know what’s going on. Another way to say that: don’t be like ATTCares!