TL;DR 💩 Yay, ice cream! Oh. Wait. So AT&T decides to do a customer appreciation event like T-Mobile and other providers are doing. Would have been more appreciated if they had done it first, but whatever. Here’s my experience with it. You can decide for yourself how much I should feel appreciated…
So first I have to find the promotion again. There were lots of posts on news sites about it when it first was announced, but when I went to actually find it, I had to search surprisingly hard to discover the appreciation pages. You’d think they’d be shouting in from main pages, from the customer landing page after login, etc., but yeah, not so much…
So after I found the site at http://tickettwosdays.att.com, which upon reflection is reasonably named - just not linked to as much as I’d have expected, I began the process of being appreciated even more.
The process is a little odd, but I guess they wanted to keep it separate from their main site and not require users to log in or something? You instead put in your AT&T mobile number and they text you a pin code (if you are lucky and they don’t “run out” of available tickets and if nothing goes wrong). First time I tried it, a pin was never received. No error message, no text saying sorry, no more tickets, just nothing.
Ok, well, I’m a well trained monkey/rat/test subject/“appreciated customer” so I hit the
skinner box lever “click here to check your status or resend your pin” button again… a time or two… or three… or so.
So I got a pin (then got it resent another time or two) and moved on with the process, which then has you enter the pin they just sent you and takes you to movietickets.com. By the way, putting a stock photo of some white people enjoying a movie with the photo containing two white folks in white shirts in the middle of the page, behind your white text is not the best readability choice, independent of representative customer images, etc. (but they look like they feel appreciated…)
At this point, you are taken to a movietickets.com branded page with a completely different look and feel. It’s cobranded at the top with AT&T though, and says AT&T THANKS on the choose a theater page. After choosing one, then choosing your movie (2D only, no special features - you aren’t that appreciated) the next page has the select tickets options (# of tickets, etc.), and says “As a valued AT&T customer, a promo code has been applied to your order so you can bring any friend to the movies for free on AT&T” – Woot I feel appreciated!
So I choose my two tickets and it tells me the total, with no promo or discount showing. Hmm. Maybe you choose 1 ticket, then it adds one later… [hit next] … nope, “Please select at least two tickets for this offer.” Ok, it’ll just apply later I guess. I select two, hit next step, and it’s at the billing information screen. Order total now shows on a right hand details column, no promo applied… Hmm, it knows about the promo - said so on last screen and yelled at me about needing at least two tickets when I tried that. shrug I guess it happens later? Says I’m not being charged at this time so I’ll hit next.
To make a long story less longer, I kept hitting next step thinking the promo would apply before it was over with till suddenly I was out of ground and the tickets were bought. Full price. Doh. I don’t really feel so appreciated now.
I went back and read the help/FAQ etc. sections of the site more deeply (I’d actually started after the promo didn’t show initially), and it sure sounded like the promo would not show initially, then show before final purchase, but never having been on the site before it wasn’t really clear which final looking step was really the final step.
Oh well. It also sternly warned you to be sure to clear your cache and cookies before trying any of this if you seemed to be having any promo code problems. Of course I’d never been to the site before much less tried this process, but ok whatever. I tried it on a fresh install of Chrome (had been on Safari originally) on my laptop, and had also tried it on my phone. Same results on them all (though I didn’t go all the way through and buy multiples more tickets).
I called them (movietickets.com) up to see if there was a known issue and on the off chance they’d actually give me a refund (their site is all like NO REFUNDS!! but figured I’d give it a shot). Nope. No info about issues, but NO REFUNDS!! The guy was actually fairly friendly sounding, but he told me I’d have to contact the theater to get a refund. After waiting on hold for a few minutes (several, but less than 10 I think) only to be told this, I felt decidedly less appreciated still.
I called up Edwards Cinema to get a refund. Much longer hold there, and an autoattendant maze too. Finally got to the part where they helpfully offered to transfer me to the local theater which would have to actually handle the refund, at which point the transfer rang for a long time, then hung up on me. Bonus appreciation! I called the local theater back directly, rang forever, answered, put on hold a while, then was told I’d have to come in in person to get the refund, because of, well, reasons and stuff.
Whatever - back to being appreciated by AT&T, I had been told by movietickets.com support that I needed to try it again after clearing cache, cookies, etc. so I did, again, by starting the process from scratch. This time AT&T sent me a different pin. It worked exactly as well as the first one! Same issue (but I didn’t actually buy the tickets at full price this time - fool me once…). So I call movietickets.com support again, and this time after going around the magical cookie and cache ritual again, they tell me that actually, AT&T told them yesterday that there was an issue on AT&T’s side, and that I’d have to talk to AT&T about it to resolve my issue.
Man I feel appreciated by everyone involved now!
So I contact AT&T support through the chat service (which I’m half convinced is actually an ongoing Turing test for very positive, full of affirmation phrase AI’s). It takes a while to explain the issue to the person that doesn’t seem to have much knowledge about the promotion, much less anything going on with it.
Jerralyn : Hello! Thanks for choosing AT&T Chat. Jerralyn : I appreciate your patience while holding. I will be happy to assist you. Jerralyn : Hello! My name is Jerralyn. How may I help you today? Jerralyn : Are you still with me? Rob : I need help with the ticket twos day promotion. I got the code, followed the link, etc. but promotion would not apply. Movietickets.com support says AT&T told them yesterday there were problems on the AT&T side and told me I had to contact AT&T Jerralyn : Whew! Glad to know we never got disconnected. Jerralyn : Thank you for that information. Jerralyn : Rob, I understand that this is about a movie ticker promo, is that right? Rob : Yes, the AT&T tickettwosday thank you thing Rob : http://tickettwosdays.att.com/ Jerralyn : Thank you for that information. Jerralyn : I know you need details how to claim it. Jerralyn : I'll exhaust all my resources to help you with it. Jerralyn : What we will do is to confirm that the promo is still active and give you details how to claim it. Jerralyn : Please give me 2 minutes to further review your account and check for resolution. Jerralyn : Just to make sure, you submit the code online just today and the promo was not apply, right? Rob : Yes, I got the pin, used it on the site and was sent to the movie tickets.com page Rob : But the promotion never showed as applied Rob : I've gone through the whole delete cache/cookies stuff they ask you to do and tried again, same thing. Used two different browsers on two different systems. Same thing - full price. Jerralyn : Please hold for me while I look into this further. Rob : I called them, again, and this time they said AT&T told them yesterday that AT&Twas having issues Rob : And that I would have to contact AT&T for help. That's the whole story again :) Jerralyn : The purchase date of your ticket is for next Tuesday, is that right? Rob : yes Jerralyn : Upon checking the ticket must be purchase every Tuesday only or at least the movie date is on Tuesday. Jerralyn : Let me check it. Jerralyn : Please give me 2 minutes to further review your account and check for resolution. Jerralyn : I am still working on your account. Rob : great Jerralyn : Thank you! Jerralyn : Are you getting any error message when you purchase the ticket with the promo? Rob : No, just never applies Jerralyn : Please hold for me while I look into this further. Rob : It knows it's the promotion though because if you choose just one ticket, it says this promotion requires at least two tickets, and it says something about the att ticket twos day thing when you first get sent there from the att site I linked Rob : Like I said though, the movie ticket.com folks themselves said AT&T told them there were some back end issues as of yesterday. Don't really think it is something I'm doing client side Jerralyn : I'm involving my manager now about it. Jerralyn : Thank you so much for your time & patience. Jerralyn : Thank you for waiting. Jerralyn : Rob, we appreciate your time & patience. We also appreciate your feedback a lot and apologize for the inconvenience. Jerralyn : There's an ongoing update about the said promo and our escalation team is working on it to be fix. Jerralyn : Can we call you back tomorrow for a follow up? Rob : sure Jerralyn : Sounds great! Jerralyn : Thank you! Jerralyn : May I please have your best call back number? Rob : <gave her my number> Jerralyn : Perfect! Jerralyn : We can call you back anytime tomorrow, right? Rob : yes Jerralyn : Awesome! Jerralyn : We will call you back anytime tomorrow for a follow up about this promo. Rob : Ok thanks Jerralyn : You are so welcome! Jerralyn : Rob, please consider this as already resolved. We just need to coordinate with the right department to continue the resolution that I have provided today. Jerralyn : Is there anything else I can help you with? Rob : no Jerralyn : At AT&T, our goal is to deliver an extraordinary experience! I'm glad we were able to get everything taken care of together for you Rob! Jerralyn : Whenever you're ready, you can go ahead and close the chat window. Have an amazing night! Please take care and always SMILE. Thank you ♥ :D
Yay! <feels “appreciated”> I can “please consider this as already resolved”! Except that, you know, they didn’t actually resolve anything. Oh, and they didn’t actually ever call me back. So two days later I contact them again.
AT&T : Hello! Thanks for choosing AT&T Chat. Rob : I'm checking back in because I was never called yesterday re: my ticket twos day issue from wednesday Rob : Chat reference # <reference number> Daniela : I appreciate your patience while holding. I will be happy to assist you. Rob : ok Daniela : Hello Rob! Daniela : to ensure I understand you correctly your reason for chatting today is due to a call you were waiting? Rob : Can you review the chat transcript I gave the reference # for? Rob : It will answer all the questions Daniela : thank you Rob! I will look into it right away, I appreciate your time Daniela : I have my manager now reviewing the chat so we can figure out how to better assist you today Rob : thanks Daniela : You are so welcome! Daniela : I am still working on your account. Daniela : Thank you for waiting. Rob : ok Daniela : Thank you for your patience while I look up your information. Daniela : Rob, would you like my manager to call you regarding the ticket promo you are having issues with? Rob : Yes - that is what was promised on Wednesday. Daniela : I understand,Please sty on the chat so you can make sure to receive the call, he will be calling you in 5 minutes, stay here with me please Rob : ok Daniela : Thank you! Daniela : Rob can you please confirm for me the phone number? Rob : <confirms number again> Daniela : Thanks Rob! Daniela : Rob we are calling you now Rob : ok Daniela : is the phone ON? it is not ringing Rob : It is Daniela : can you please double check the phone number for me now? Rob : The number is correct and I just called it from another phone Rob : <repeats number again, again> Daniela : Thanks Rob ! Daniela : calling you now Rob Rob : Got it Daniela : Sounds great!
At this stage the “manager” who far as I could understand had the same name as the chat
bot rep and I talked for a while, calling into question my whole Turing test hypothesis. He still didn’t really seem to get the concept, and put me on hold a few times (as I recall), none were long holds though. He ended up basically saying that yeah, the promotion was causing them trouble and that the only thing they could do was credit my account over the phone, or I could go into a store in person and maybe they could charge back the money to the card I used. I took the account credit, and they gave $20, which was more than the ticket price would have been, though far less than the time and hassle factor involved. He said they didn’t know when everything should be fixed and have it working properly, but rest assured I could count on it by next week (today, as I write this as it turns out).
epilog: I tried it again today, and again the front-end dutifully spit out a pin code for me, initial site load looked good, mentioning promo, etc., then it never applied just like the last time.
Food for thought… Far as I can see, I did nothing unusual in any way, other than keep at it longer than I suspect most would. Does this mean everyone trying to use this promotion is having the same result as me? Only mac/iOS users? Something time or geography related? No idea… and apparently they have none either. But seems to me that if this is customer appreciation, there ought to be some big ramifications going on for whoever is responsible for this crap.
Because I feel exactly as appreciated as one would expect after all this. Are our expectations from our service companies so low that this is considered par for the course? That’s the only way I can comprehend there not being more noise being generated by this. If so, man, that’s just pretty sad.