Gotta Love AT&T - Live Chat From Hell

Today I logged on to my AT&T Wireless Account to pay my bill.  I have been a customer for 20 years with the same provider.  Though I started with Cellular One and it morphed into Cingular which morphed into AT&T ... I have had the same account and same cell phone number since bulky cell phones were carried in a leather bag and cost over $1000.

Today, my AT&T username and password wouldn't work when I logged onto their site.  When I couldn't log on to pay my bill, AT&T locked my account for multiple log-ons

Arghhhhh!  I have sooooo many different passwords to things.  I have a system for managing them, and I HATE HATE HATE when a company messes with my system by forcing me to change my password, especially in an arbitrary way ... like just disabling it without notification.

Ah but then there's customer service.  They can help you understand the perfectly logical, though arbitrary if somewhat bureaucratic system.  Once I got the message that my account was disabled there were two options on the screen - Call us up on the phone or CHAT.  I chose CHAT figuring it would be quick.  In less than 60 seconds I was connected to Jaclyn Gonzales.

After fifteen minutes on chat, I got none of my questions answered and was forced to have my account reset with a new password.   Geez, I could have asked for a new password when I couldn't get the login to work in the first place.  This basically renders this chat feature useless.

So much for my system.

AT&T, you suck!

AT&T Chat Commentary

Thank you for your patience! An AT&T customer service representative will be with you shortly.

You are now chatting with 'Jaclyn Gonzales'

Jaclyn Gonzales: Ms. Burgoyne,Thank you for chatting with AT&T today. I see you are having trouble with additional errors. I can help you with this today. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Mindie Burgoyne: my current user name and password will not work to log on

Jaclyn Gonzales: It may take a few minutes to access your account.

Jaclyn Gonzales: I am sorry to hear that.

Jaclyn Gonzales:  What user ID did you use?

Mindie Burgoyne: 3016482010 and then tried 301-648-2010 pw is *****

Jaclyn Gonzales: Would you like me to reset your online account password?

Mindie Burgoyne: why didn't it work? I'd like to keep my same password so I don't have to remember a new one.

Jaclyn Gonzales: As a security measure your account is locked after multiple invalid login attempts. After account verification, I can unlock this for you.

Mindie Burgoyne: Thank you. But what is the problem? Why didn't it work?

Jaclyn Gonzales: There would be a possibility that you type it incorrectly.

Jaclyn Gonzales: I can most definitely reset your password. I will send the temporary password to your email address.

Jaclyn Gonzales: Your account has been unlocked and your password has been reset. You will receive a security email from your AT&T online account to notify you that the password for your online account has been changed.  You will receive an additional email containing the 6 digit temporary password. Please enter the 6 digit temporary password exactly as it appears in the message when you attempt to login.

Jaclyn Gonzales: Let me know if you recieve the message. It might be sent to your bulk or spam messages.

Jaclyn Gonzales: Your user ID: 301****

Mindie Burgoyne: Jaclyn - are you a person or intelligent software? No, I'm guessing you're a person because you misspelled "receive" above.   I did not mistype the user name and password. I've had the same UN and PW for years. Now all of the sudden it doesn't work. Can you help me understand why? And assure me that there isn't an underlying problem that will cause it to happen again?
...... waiting for five minutes



  1. Gotta' love good customer service!...especially to an expert in social media.
    Jaclyn Gonzales will hear about this somewhere in time..and wonder what happened:):)
    Good Job retract the shark teeth & smile. (I've been watching too much "Shark Week"...:)
    Love your posts!

    1. Many moons ago when I worked for Arbitron which is a call center that calls thousands of people randomly to participate in the radio ratings, we never used our real name when talking to a customer. You were Chris Johnson or some other unisex name. I've also gotten intelligent software on chat help before. It actually can read your typed words and asses a problem. Both ineffective ways of working with customers. That's why I wondered if Jaclyn Gonzales was a human or not. But then, I figure they'd at least employ spell check.

      Thanks for checking in, Sandy. Can't wait to read the first post on He Shoots, She Cooks!

  2. Unfortunately, many companies, like AT&T and banks, in particular, have removed discretion from the human beings who interact with customers and instituted a "Rules is Rules" business philosophy. Translation: customers are a merely a necessary inconvenience to be disregarded routinely and interacted with only after they have talked to all our software, and then we'll make them wait. I don't care if you're pleasant, if what you say is garbage. Bleah. Disclaimer: I used to be a customer service manager of a then-$8 billion bank (1980's), and we paid a lot of attention to customers and their perspective.

    1. I L.O.V.E. this sentence ....

      customers are a merely a necessary inconvenience to be disregarded routinely and interacted with only after they have talked to all our software, and then we'll make them wait.

      Wow! That's a blog series right there. In many ways technology has made businesses more efficient, but when it comes to Customer Service, the big companies are crippled. They've grown too big to care, and replaced human employees with machines that are ineffective. Now to put humans back on the payroll to actually SERVE customers, would injure the bottom line too severely.

  3. Mindie, this made me laugh out loud! HA! Not at you, but at what you said. I love it!

    1. Thanks, Megan. Ya gotta love AT&T. The whole experience was soooo weird.

  4. Travis Price1:18 PM

    As a person that's worked in customer service in multiple telecommunication companies, I'll tell you what Jaclyn wouldn't:

    We have no clue why your password didn't work. We don't know if you put in the wrong password, if the caps lock was on, or if the system did something wonky. There is no special screen that tells us your password (that's for your security, fyi).

    Our job is really simple, do our best to correct the issue in a timely manner. Your issue was that your account was locked and needed to be unlocked. When inquiring why, Jaclyn told you that their may have been an error in your typing it. I would have said,

    "I'm not really sure why your account locked, my system doesn't allow me to know your password or when it was changed/why the error occurred. I apologize for this inconvenience and will get your account unlocked right away."

    Overall, Jaclyn did exactly what she was supposed to do. The only reason I would have changed the "Why" verbiage is to ensure that I wasn't placing blame, because I honestly wouldn't know.

    Now, let me give you an insider's view of working in a customer service role:

    Jaclyn has it a bit easier, because she's in a chat environment (opposed to on the phone), but she's handling between 2-3 chats at a time and cycling through them to answer questions. She's also using resources to look up information and getting accounts squared away and notated to ensure if you have a problem in the future they know what she did. All of this while meeting internal quality control standards.

    Like I said, the Rep did their job. They resolved the issue the best way they could, showed empathy and tried to explain the problem as clearly as possible. I would have been a bit more direct in telling you that I don't know why your password didn't take and the account locked, but that's just how I am.

    1. Thank you so much for stating this. I currently work as a chat agent FROM HOME and people automatically assume that we can see their account information. One, I wouldn't trust people with my personal information especially online because you do not know where they are working from. There are so many work at home jobs that employ stay at home workers. We all do not sit in an office. We have to talk not only to you, but 2 other people as well as mentioned above and we have to provide everyone that we chat the best that we can.

      What I do not understand is why do people ask us if we can see their information when BEFORE you are connected with us, there is a message stating that we do NOT have access into your account? That doesn't make sense to me and then they get mad when we have to tell them that due to privacy regulations that we are not authorized to access their accounts. True, there are some companies that have chat rooms that can access your account, but I highly doubt that the employees work from home. That would be invasion of your privacy.

      As I mentioned before, a lot of the chat employees are humans and we do have feelings and jobs just like the next person. This job is just like my secretary job that I had in college. If someone called the wrong number, I would politely tell them that they reached the wrong number and I would transfer them to the department that they were trying to reach. We are only doing our job. We have the resolve the issue the best possible way that we can. I just wish that more people understood that.

  5. Travis Price1:25 PM

    One other thing.. The text below is kind of confrontational and unnecessary. Pointing out someone misspelled a word, especially considering I know what she's going through is petty. Personally, I would have ignored it as well because it comes across that you're looking for an argument.

    Jaclyn - are you a person or intelligent software? No, I'm guessing you're a person because you misspelled "receive" above. I did not mistype the user name and password.

    1. Dear Travis. I always find it interesting how people who challenge a blogger, criticize a blogger, never leave a link to their real names - email, blog, etc.

      Had you actually read the post and saw beyond the actual chat, you would see that "Jaclyn" isn't the one I'm criticizing - AT&T, the company that gave Jaclyn her training, IS. For whatever hardships Jaclyn has to incur on this job from dissatisfied customers, she still has the job of serving the customer, and I was not listened to, or served.

      The point of this post was not to get personal about Jaclyn. It was to prove that AT&T is disconnected from its customer's needs when it comes to support.

      Another thing ... this year I ordered most of my Christmas gifts through I had an issue with a Kindle Fire. It didn't charge. I went to their site, found the support link, requested a live discussion by phone and received a phone call from an rep within seconds of entering my number. In 2 minutes I had the issue settled. A new Kindle Fire was on the way as was a postage-paid box to send the old one back.

      Now THAT'S service.

    2. I do understand what you are saying and I felt the same way that you felt, but that was prior me actually working as a chat agent from home. Companies hire contractors that hire contractors and employees. A lot of us cannot and do not have access into your account, but we do provide the best information that we can provide. Although prior to someone chatting me where it tells them that I cannot access their account information, when someone asks me if I can see their account, I do have to let them know again that I do not have access into their account. They do not know that I am working from my home to provide them their information, but they are asking for help and giving me their personal information. There are plenty of companies that have as you mentioned above where you will input your number and within seconds, you receive a call from a person. Those are different than chat jobs. They are just inbound call agents waiting to call a customer. I don't think that getting mad at the company will change a thing as I love how technology is working in a lot of people's favor. The company doesn't hire a lot of the chat reps, their contractors do this is why we do not have access into your account. This is why we cannot see personal things such as your password. If you knew how many people that worked from home that have jobs like this, then I think you would understand the importance of not giving your personal information to them, unless it's asked for. It's just the company's policy and as a employee, we simply have to follow those rules.

  6. Ok thanks to your fool proof instructions my first ever comment - well done dear!!
    AT&T Coupon Code

  7. I agree 100% with Travis... I actually came across this "blog" while searching "Jaclyn Gonzalez" to find a way to praise her customer service chat with me a few hours ago... You were rude and confrontational. Plain and simple.

    1. Just like Travis - you, Nick remain anonymous. You don't want to be identified while you publicly criticize. You're both cowards... no ... make that you're both the same person.

      I love honest discussion readers who can shoot straight, not hide behind anonymity.

      Anyway, here's the deal. Jaclyn Gonzalez doesn't exist. All of those tele-support people use fake names assigned to them by the call center to protect their identity.

      They're ALL named Jaclyn Gonzalez - so your Jaclyn did great by you and my Jaclyn sucked.

      If you don't like my "blog" (what do those quotes mean anyway? Are you some kind of blog authority?) then stay off it. Read the title.

  8. LG_215:34 AM

    @Mindie I just want to share my opinion, I think you and Jaclyn just had a misunderstanding. Your concern was you don't want to change your PW because it might confuse you in the future. There are factors why your PW didn't work. It could be typo error, case sensitive, or maybe it was not the actual PW of the account (I'm not implying that you're dumb). What i mean is, we're just humans, we do have memory lapses, and we tend to forget things, how much more passwords? Jaclyn gave you that temporary PW so that you can access your account, but when you are logged-in you could always change your PW (the password that you insisted was the right one) in the Account Profile page. I suggest a PW that is relevant to you, but capitalize the first letter and add a number. ex. Passwordsarenot4me

  9. Anonymous8:19 PM

    She clearly told you everything she knew, and could do. You demanded to know why.. You're right, she should have answered you, but she isnt an IT professional and i would have ended my chat as well. Why you have to spiff about her miss spelling "recieve?" That right there would have ended a chat had you talked with me as well. We as customer service reps try our best to help you and find a underlying problem but you have to nick pick at her spelling? I'm glad she ended the session with you. Maybe next time be polite as she was polite with you.

  10. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Yea, im anonymous because you aren't going to track me down and use my first and last name in your blog! Slander my name? I think not!


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