Skip to main content

Trials & Tribulations of AT&T IPTV Customers

There are reports that AT&T is delivering U-verse door-hangers to homes in two new markets, and the bold promotional copy is still proclaiming that "We've Just Re-Inventing TV" -- as the plan to launch in 15 new markets by the end of 2006 apparently hasn't been retracted by the company's leadership.

However, back in the first market to launch -- San Antonio, Texas -- customers are lamenting about the frustrations that go hand-in-hand with being an early-adopter of a service that utilizes a relatively new technology, combined with a totally new and unproven service delivery platform. At the forum site, there's an updated post entitled "When is Enough, Enough?" which indicates that some of the trailblazer subscribers have finally run out of patience.

The process of pay-TV set-top box trouble resolution clearly hasn't been 're-invented' in the race to prepare the commercial launch of the first high-profile deployment of IPTV in North America. Customers are still being told to fix their service interruptions themselves by removing the power cord, then to reinsert the cord and wait 5-7 minutes for the service to re-boot -- hopefully in a repaired state.

Of course, requests for power off/on resets are not uncommon in the cable or satellite pay-TV industry, but I'm disappointed to learn that for now this will also be state-of-the-art for the telco IPTV deployments. Beyond annoying customers, it also cuts into profit margins. This whole scenario is a huge time-waster for customer service reps who must stay on-hold while the subscriber completes this STB device re-boot.

I understand that the STB is essentially a computer running software that sometimes gets stuck in a loop, and has to be reset. Regardless, the resolution process doesn't portray that there is progress being made in designing better diagnostics for STB devices. Furthermore, what was Microsoft thinking when they used the infamous "blue screen of death" as the apparent STB fault display? This evokes some best-forgotten memories and bad karma by association, for sure.

On a positive note, AT&T and its vendor partners are receiving valuable insights into ordering issues, a buggy user interface, missing DVR features, and service outage reports that are being dutifully detailed by their thoughtful customers. I trust that AT&T is utilizing all this information to codify lessons learned and re-engineer dysfunctional business processes, where possible.

FYI, I recently invested one-year of my consulting career helping Motive, Inc. global broadband service provider customers leverage their collective lessons learned, and associated best practices, within the realm of customer care, tech support and self-service automation. I'm convinced that there are meaningful opportunities for ongoing innovation in this field.

For starters, may I suggest simply turning the 'blue screen' scenario into something less Dilbert-like? Hint: this is another easy 'low hanging fruit' improvement suggestion. Moreover, while reasonable people know there will always be service outages of some sort of another, the way that you resolve these predictable issues essentially defines your brand. Product design, customer care, tech support and the consumer experience -- they're inseparable in the minds of your valued customers.

Popular posts from this blog

Software-Defined Infrastructure: The Platform of Choice

As more organizations adapt to a hybrid working model for their distributed workforce, enterprise CIOs and CTOs are tasked with delivering new productivity-enabling applications, while also seeking ways to effectively reduce IT cost, complexity, and risk. Traditional IT hardware infrastructure is evolving to more software-based solutions. The worldwide software-defined infrastructure (SDI) combined software market reached $12.17 billion during 2020 -- that's an increase of 5 percent over 2019, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC). The market grew faster than other core IT technologies. The three technology pillars within the SDI market are: software-defined compute (53 percent of market value), software-defined storage controller (36 percent), and software-defined networking (11 percent). "Software-defined infrastructure solutions have long been popular for companies looking to eliminate cost, complexity, and risk within their data cente

Digital Identity Verification Market to Reach $16.7B

As more enterprise organizations embrace the ongoing transition to digital business transformation, CIOs and CTOs are adopting new technologies that enable the secure identification of individuals within their key stakeholder communities. A "digital identity" is a unique representation of a person. It enables individuals to prove their physical identity during transactions. Moreover, a digital identity is a set of validated digital attributes and credentials for online interactions -- similar to a person's identity within the physical world. Individuals can use a 'digital ID' to be verified through an authorized digital channel. Usually issued or regulated by a national ID scheme, a digital identity serves to identify a unique person online or offline. Digital Identity Systems Market Development Complementary to more traditional forms of identification, digital identity verification systems can enhance the authenticity, security, confidentiality, and efficiency of

Global Pandemic Accelerates the Evolution of Transportation

Given the current trends across the globe, organizations that depend upon the continued growth of personal vehicle ownership will need to consider a plan-B scenario. While some companies will be able to adapt, others may find that their traditional business model has been totally disrupted. According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will displace over 2.2 billion private car journeys by 2025 -- that's rising from 471 million in 2021. Juniper believes that for MaaS to enjoy widespread adoption, subscription or on-the-go packages need to offer a strong combination of transport modes along with feasible infrastructure changes, high potential for data collection and low barriers to MaaS deployments. Mobility-as-a-Service Market Development The concept of MaaS involves the provision of multi-modal end-to-end travel services through a single platform by which users can determine the best route and price according to real-time traffic