“I used to work for DirecTV as an Advanced Resolution Team (ART) agent. ART dealt with all the chronic callers. Now, for those who don’t know DirecTV is owned by AT&T and it was common we would get internet issue calls that we couldn’t always handle, but we tried our best.
I was strictly trained in DirecTV troubleshooting. We knew how to do basic internet stuff due to our flows, but that was about it. On DirecTV, we have something called on demand. On-demand is a free service that has the ability to playback shows and movies using an internet connection. It’s at no extra cost, but does require internet to use. A customer called in with their on-demand not working.
So, I start my normal ‘I can help you with that!’ And begin asking my probing questions.
‘When was the last time it worked? Are you having any other issues?’ Things like that. Finally, I asked, ‘Are you having any other internet issues in the home?’ after getting halfway through my flow (where it tells us to ask that question) to which the customer responded they were. It turned out their AT&T Wi-Fi wasn’t working. I muted my microphone and let out a sigh into my headset as I knew I was about to get yelled at like usual.
‘Sir,’ I began, ‘In order for your on-demand feature to work your internet needs to be working.’
The customer began to laugh and said, ‘Just put the Wi-Fi on my TV, I don’t care about anything else.’
I muted my microphone again and let out another sigh and put my head against my computer.
‘Sir, I can’t make your internet work on only your TV, your Wi-Fi itself needs to work,’ I told him.
The customer laughed again, harsher. He began calling me all sorts of names and accusing me of just not wanting to help him.
I explained to him, although I do work for AT&T, they are our parent company and I was a DirecTV employee and really had nothing to do with the internet. If he wanted, I could transfer him over to our U-verse department so they could better assist him and get his Wi-Fi working, and I offered a call back to set up the internet back on his TV. At this point, I was sitting under my desk with my head on my knees.
The customer laughed again.
‘Are you serious?’ He began, ‘You can’t just make the internet work on only my TV my whole Wi-Fi has to work?’
He didn’t believe me. Enter more cussing and berating, I’m at the point of I’m about to cry.
My customer thought I was trying to pawn him off on another agent because I didn’t want to help him. I just wasn’t trained on the internet so I was of no use until he was able to get that part of the issue resolved. After 20 more minutes of being a broken record and repeating I’m just for the tv and not the internet, my coach came over and asked what was going on. I was sitting on the floor when the call was bad and our calls were supposed to be under 15 minutes and I was at the 30+ mark, which was extremely unusual. I explained what was going on and my coach took my headset and introduced himself, something he only did if we really needed, usually coaches didn’t take calls and we had to use a call line to get a supervisor.
My coach was on the phone for five minutes. I sat in my seat watching him the whole time, shaking my head as he explained we aren’t on the internet side, and can’t magically get the internet working just on the TV without a Wi-Fi connection. He was finally able to transfer the customer over to U-verse.
The customer still thought because we say, ‘Thank you for calling AT&T,’ as our opening, we could help with everything, but we have separate departments and I’m just tv.
I will never forget the man who told me to make his internet work on only his TV while nothing else that needed internet was working.”