To your customer, it's one company

Having worked at and with large organizations for a long time, I’m constantly amazed at how dissociated the various departments are in a company. While the success of marketing and customer service are, for example, completely tied to each other they tend to talk very little, if at all.

To your customer, Apple is Apple, not Apple Marketing, Apple Customer Service, Apple Product Manufacturing, and so on. I was reminded of how irritating this can be last night in the Washington Regan airport. I noticed that the Wi-Fi hotspot was AT&T (rather than the typical T-Mobile), and I’d heard a rumor a while back that AT&T Broadband subscribers could use these hotspots for free. Since I have a wireless mobile card through AT&T (the kind that uses the cell network), I thought certainly that same deal would apply to me. So I shot an email off to the AT&T Wi-Fi folks asking if this was the case. This was the response:

Sir,

I would suggest you contact ATTWireless support to answer your questions. Visit this page for more information:

https://www.wireless.att.com/support/content.do?page=support-home

For additional AT&T WiFi help or information, contact AT&T WiFi Support, giving you top-notch technical support 24x7x365. Call toll-free anytime, 1-888-888-7520, or email support@attwifi.com

Thanks,
AT&T WiFi Support

Uh, gee, thanks. You couldn’t either:

  • Tap into the master AT&T Knowledge Base and just answer the question?
  • Forward my mail along to the AT&T Wireless folks?

I understand that in large companies, multiple departments/business units work on various parts of the business. I further understand that size adds complexity when it comes to connecting various activities across departments. I understand it’s difficult to create great customer service when you’re a large organization.

Guess what? As a customer, I don’t care.

Your internal org chart and process flow means nothing to me. Getting my questions answered quickly, efficiently, and kindly from the single company I do business with is all I care about.

UPDATE: After a ridiculous chat session with ATTWireless support, turns out that no I don’t get the same level of service that ATT Broadband users get (although I’m paying more per month than they are). Nice.