Why AT&T Isn’t Always the Big Bad Wolf

Big bad wolf's houseIf my friends are correct, I’m pretty fortunate that I don’t live in the U.S., have an iPhone and AT&T as my carrier. When I speak to people like Tim Jahn and Michael Schechter, they mention the crappy coverage and dropped calls they have to suffer on Apple’s baby thanks to the AT&T network, even though the fault may lie as equally with Apple as it does AT&T.

Being in Canada and on a BlackBerry, I guess this is something for me to be grateful for.

Yet it looks like AT&T has been listening to its customers, reading the blogs and social media feeds and actually wants to do something about their reputation. This comes in the shape of a new iPhone app that’s free to download.

Called “Mark the Spot”, the app allows users to report any problems they’re having at that time, from dropped calls to voice and coverage quality. Geo-tagging allows AT&T to pinpoint the exact area at that specific time, and should help them improve both service and coverage.

While it may not result in instantaneous improvements, the very fact that AT&T is actively seeking feedback is encouraging. With social media giving small-to-medium businesses a more level playing field with the big boys, larger companies are finally realizing they can’t ignore their customer bases in the way they used to.

This is evident in the way that Comcast have implemented a customer care team, led to Dell posting sales figures of $6.5 million thanks to Twitter promotions, and Best Buy has its dedicated Twelpforce team on hand to help with any issues.

It’s early days, and it may seem ironic that AT&T is using a mobile app to report issues on a mobile service – I’m guessing the reports will still get through in areas of crappy coverage? Yet it does show that they’re beginning to listen more.

And that’s got to be a good thing, yes?

Creative Commons License photo credit: C.M.

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