In the past hour, I had a very interesting experience in my attempt to transfer my number from AT&T to T-Mobile. It was a very good learning exprience and I thought I should share it here as the technology advancement (or the lack of) in the area of customer service amazes me.

When I called up T-Mobile customer Care, I was greeted with a Automated Voice Service. Though I was not expecting the girl that comes on the T-Mobile ad, I was at least expecting to talk to a human being.

1. Automated Voice Service:

This is one of those automated voice systems which says ‘Please say in a few words how I may help you’. I tried saying many different combinations. Some of them are:
‘Port My Number’
‘Transfer My Number’
‘I want to transfer my number from AT & T to T-Mobile’
‘Port Number from AT and T’
‘Customer Service’
‘numbera maathanum’ (This is the tamil phrase for ‘I want to change my number’)    

Every time I said one of the phrases given above, it would say ‘I am sorry I cannot understand your request. Please say in a few words how I may help you.’..Then I thought of an idea..

I said ‘Disconnect My Service’ and immediately I got a response: ‘You want to talk to one of our representatives. If this is correct, press 1’. Yay! I pressed 1 and I got transferred to a customer service representative.

2. Call Back Service:
I told the customer service representative that I want to transfer my number from AT & T to T-Mobile. Immediately he said ‘That request will be handled by the Porting Department and I will transfer you now’. I was put on hold with music for some time and then to my surprise, another automated message was played:
‘Your estimated wait time is 11 minutes. Instead of waiting, you can choose that we call you in approximately 11 minutes. If you are interested, press 1.’

That was the Wow factor that impressed me as I have not experienced this service before.

The automated system took my number and my name and let me know that I will receive a call back in 11 minutes. I got a call in less than 10 minutes and it was good to be connected without having to hold the phone listening to the boring music.

3. Porting Numbers Service: Outsourced outside the USA within America

When the call got connected, I realized that the voice was quite feeble at the other end and I asked the person where they were geographically located. This representative refused to give me the location and said ‘We are located in America, but cannot tell you the exact location for security reasons’ 🙂 . Yeah rite! In any case, I did not push him further as I thought it would make him uncomfortable.

His customer service level was extremely poor, but I did not try to correct him as I have read about the status of a few bloggers in Central America. lol.

Overall, it was a very interesting experience and it has given me the above three key topics to think about.  Overall, it was a wonderful learning exprerience and such free learning opportunities help me gain knowledge about the nature of these businesses.

If you have similar experiences, do share it with others here.