I wish other companies would do what Thomas Nelson does for PR: monitor blogs and websites for negative customer experiences. Thomas Nelson’s CEO, Michael Hyatt, uses free and easy tools such as Google Alerts to personally monitor the web for mentions of either his or his company’s name, and will personally follow up if the situation is bad enough. I’ve seen him leave comments on book reviews of Thomas Nelson books done by bloggers. Whether true or not, it does give the customer the feeling that Thomas Nelson cares. Prior to discovering and following Michael Hyatt’s blog, I never paid any attention to the publisher of books. It didn’t matter to me. As I read his blog, and have participated in 3 book reviews to date, I now get sort of a warm feeling when I look through my books and see Thomas Nelson titles.
That is not so with many other companies, at least, not the warm feeling when I see their logo. I had a really warm feeling the last time we refinanced our mortgage and I no longer had to deal with HSBC. It felt GOOD to know that I was no longer their customer. The entire time I did business with HSBC, I got the feeling that this is a company that exists to make you feel as if it is your privilege to be able to do business with them. I’m sure that no company sets a mission statement to become a useless hive of mindless corporate drones with no ability to think or process individual facts on their own accord. No company WANTS to become a mindless blob of a steamroller, destroying customer service and employee initiative while a relatively few get REALLY STINKING RICH on stocks until they screw everything so badly that Congress comes in against voter wishes to pay off their debt and leave everybody unaccountable to anybody else.
One company that is starting to give me ulcers when I see their logo is AT&T. My wife has had a problem with her phone for the last 3 1/2 years. To the best of my knowledge, the problem isn’t duplicated on my line, but I might never know. The only surviving members of my family are my dad and brother, who hate making phone calls as much as I do, and I don’t have many friends except for one that I email back and forth and the rest send me Facebook messages twice a year, so I’d never know if I was missing calls or not. Yes, that sounds as bad as it is. I’d love to have some friends. I do have both grandmothers living, but they are another story. My grandma on my dad’s side is a wonderful woman, but is currently in assisted living for reasons I don’t feel like getting into here. I’ll just say that I love Grandma but she doesn’t call me much anymore. My mom’s side of the family is best saved for discussion with friends if I ever manage to find any. Nothing bad, no deep, dark family secrets, just that I never formed a relationship with them and they never really tried to form one with me, at least not in a way that I could have understood as a small boy growing up on Air Force bases far away.
Back to AT&T: on my wife’s line, we’ve been through 6 phones and I don’t know how many SIM cards, and the problem has not gone away, yet every Flipping time I call AT&T about the problem they either want to send her another phone or have us get another SIM card. Of course, the last time my went to the AT&T store to get a SIM replacement, the employees gave it to her but wouldn’t activate it because I wasn’t there to authorize it. I’m sorry for the CAPS and I will refrain from the cussing, but AT&T is not here right now for me to yell at so I have to do it through the keyboard: AT&T, YOU ARE A TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY! WHY CAN’T YOUR MINDLESS CORPORATE DRONES AT THE DEPTFORD STORE CALL ME YOU IDIOTS! Better than that, why isn’t my WIFE an authorized user on my account? It will be Thursday before I’ll have time to call AT&T from my wife’s phone, and my wife can’t make or receive calls without rebooting her phone every 10 minutes. Even Windows Mobile isn’t that bad.
I’m seriously ready to call AT&T again, and tell them we’ve hard reset the phone, we’ve swapped my wife’s SIM into other phones, we’ve tried SIM replacements in the past with no results, and we’ve been through 6 phones of 4 different models and her problem remains. Either route me to somebody who has another troubleshooting manual with options besides “Get new SIM, warranty replace phone, or hard reset” or route me to somebody who can negotiate letting me out of my contract and I’ll find a telecommunications company that actually provides a telecommunications service. Seriously, I’ve been with AT&T for a while. I’ve always honored my end of the contract, but by not providing my wife a reliable line, I don’t believe that AT&T has honored their side of the contract. I’d like to stick around and get an iPhone at some point, but my wife and I both need working lines to facilitate that.