Oh Dear AT&T! This Might Be the Most Painful Customer Service Conversation Ever…

Read this contact center transcript in horror as an AT&T customer has to ask 18 times to cancel their phone line

Oh Dear AT&T! This Might Be the Most Painful Customer Service Conversation Ever...
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Published: April 2, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Companies rarely make canceling a subscription easy. Typically, customers must navigate two or three attempts from service agents, begging them to reconsider.

It’s a conversation we’ve all endured for a painful four or five minutes.

However, AT&T took this conversation to an entirely new level, keeping a desperate customer on live chat for 75 minutes.

In that time, the customer had to ask the service agent a whopping 18 times to cancel their line before they finally obliged.

Venting their frustration on Reddit, the customer shared screenshots of the remarkable live chat conversation in two parts – due to its excruciating length.

Part 1

So this was a conversation I had with ATT…
byu/BudgetPea9967 inATT


Part 2

Rest of So I had this convo with att
byu/BudgetPea9967 inATT


Sharing more information, the customer noted that they had been a loyal AT&T customer for ten years, “happily using their services.”

“I used to use ATT live chat for everything,” they continued. “It was easy to get lines in and out, but I don’t know what changed.”

After finally closing the line, the customer has since canceled all their other AT&T services, switched to T-Mobile, and filed a complaint.

AT&T has not yet responded to that complaint.

Most commenters shared their sympathy with the customer. One user stated: “I would cancel all of my other services as well for behavior like that.”

Meanwhile, others praised the customer for keeping their composure and seeing the conversation through to the end.

Finally, some started to share similar experiences with AT&T and other brands, which made for equally bleak reading…

Cancelling a Subscription Is “Like Pulling Teeth”

“Cancelling a line with them is like pulling teeth any way you go about it,” said one user when reflecting on their final days with AT&T.

Another stated: “I had a similar experience trying to cancel the two lines I left in my account after switching to T-Mobile.

I lost my composure at one point and accidentally cussed (this was over the phone), and the(y) STILL insisted on offering me different ways to not cancel the lines. It was ridiculous.

Meanwhile, several others recommended a hack: porting the number to NumberBarn and telling NumberBarn to let the number go.

While that costs $7, one person who put forward the workaround tactic exclaimed: “In my opinion, that $7 is worth it to not have to deal with an AT&T representative.”

Yet, AT&T is not the only company that seemingly offers such a painful cancellation experience – with Sirius XM another name that came under fire in the comments.

“I had a similar experience canceling a Sirius XM subscription by chat,” wrote one user. “It got to the point where I was just using Ctrl-V to paste “please cancel my account” over and over.”

Overall, that seemed the prevailing tip for customers enduring a similar experience. As another user concluded: “I think If this happened to me, I’d just Ctrl-V “cancel” nonstop until he (the agent) got frustrated.”

What Causes These Dreadful Service Conversations?

While some may blame the service agent for these dreadful conversations, it’s most often how a business incentivizes their work that’s the central issue.

Indeed, it’s likely that the agent is just doing their job in these scenarios, as trained, albeit enthusiastically.

After all, many contact centers often incentivize their agents on retention, motivating them to never give up the ghost.

Also, service teams sometimes still track agents on occupancy and active chat time. So, when the agent keeps a customer on the hook, it reflects positively within their performance statistics.

While it’s not certain that AT&T monitors agents in this way, it wouldn’t be the only business that does this and misunderstands the purpose of tracking contact center occupancy.

After all, the metric’s sole purpose should be to inform contact center planners of their schedule efficiency. It does not offer a fair reflection on agent productivity.

For better guidance on how to track agent performance (fairly), check out our article: 10 Contact Center Agent KPIs to Monitor Performance



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