The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Customer Experience and Satisfaction

Materiality Assessment Topic: Customer satisfaction; Responsible marketing/transparency of offers

Issue Summary

Customers are one of the largest and most important stakeholder groups for any business. Successful companies must meet the needs of their customers today and transform to meet challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Our Position

One of our core values is building strong customer relationships. We want customers to have an effortless experience with us, and our mission is to mobilize their worlds. We regularly ask our customers how we’re doing to make sure we improve our products and services.

Our Action

Customer experience and satisfaction is a priority for all employees. Specifically, several key officers across the AT&T enterprise have customer experience responsibilities and lead the charge in making changes within the company. Our Code of Business Conduct also details our commitment to our customers, and customer experience goals are integrated in employee and leadership compensation incentives. 

Customer Interaction

We provide customer service in more than 160 languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish and Vietnamese. We also offer a wide range of communications services to customers with vision, hearing, mobility and speech limitations. In 2015, our retail and customer service employees took more than 3.4 million hours of training to improve how they take care of customers.

Customers can interact with us in a variety of ways:

  • From a smartphone using the myAT&T app, or from our mobile site, or online through
  • Via chat where we had more than 20 million online chat sessions in 2015.
  • On social media such as Facebook and our @ATTCares Twitter account.
  • In our online forums. In 2015, we had approximately 134,000 user-generated posts.
  • Through interactive digital experiences including:
    • Online and mobile Device Support that provides help and how-to instructions through device specific tutorials and videos 
    • Our Troubleshoot and Resolve tool which offers personalized support for U-verse TV, DIRECTV, Internet and Home Phone service and equipment that sends alerts, runs tests, and provides solutions.
    • Our Wireless Troubleshoot and Resolve tool which offers step by step guidance to resolve customer device and service issues  
  • In our more than 5,000 exclusive retail locations
  • Via phone, by dialing 611 from their AT&T wireless phone or calling 800-331-0500 for wireless support and 800-288-2020 for wireline support, including TV, internet and phone services.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

We measure customer satisfaction and subscriber activity across our products, services, geographies and brands. We monitor our customers’ satisfaction through a variety of survey and behavioral approaches.  However there is no single, perfect measure of satisfaction.  That’s why we use several indicators to assess how our customers feel about us. Those surveyed represent everyone from our largest business customers to individual wireless users. The indicators fall into three main categories:

  • Relationship satisfaction: We use Net Promoter Score (NPS) ®1 to assess our customers’ willingness to recommend AT&T. Working with research firms and using multiple external, blind survey methods, we measure our promoters and detractors to create a net score that paints a holistic picture of what our customers think of our business. We conduct these surveys continually to gauge our performance. Because this information is proprietary, we do not release these scores externally.
  • Transactional satisfaction: We conduct quick surveys closely following direct customer interactions including retail store visits, service installation or maintenance visits, calls to our customer service centers or online chat support. The assessments range from texts to online surveys to phone calls, and they ask a customer to rate his or her specific interaction. Feedback arrives quickly and can be used in training, commendations for superb work or suggestions for improvement; it can also provide early insights to emerging trends. Again, these surveys are proprietary, so we do not share results outside of AT&T.
  • Behavioral outcomes: We track both sides of customer choice: incoming customers (sales) and outgoing customers (churn). We report churn in our quarterly financial earnings, and industry analysts often cite this metric as a key measure of customer satisfaction.

We also track many primary and secondary market research studies conducted by third party firms and analysts.

Finally, we have teams integrated within each key business unit that are responsible for being the “voice of the customer” by sharing customer feedback, identifying pain points and driving changes to policy, process and systems that ultimately improve overall customer experience.

Improving and Managing Customer Experience

We’ve always had a commitment to customer service, and we keep working to improve. Customer satisfaction data helps us find new ways to make our products, services and network better. It also helps us develop and instruct our employees on the best practices they need to deliver a good customer experience.

Recent strides we’ve made include:

  • Further expanding and improving capabilities from smartphones using the myAT&T app, from our mobile site and online at myAT& so customers can easily take care of their needs online. We know many of our customers prefer to manage their accounts online, so we are continually enhancing and the myAT&T app to provide solutions that are easy to find and navigate.
  • Rolling out a new, more open store design with digital signage and touch-screen kiosks. Our customers can interact directly with products and services before purchasing. Our retail representatives are fully mobile and can check out customers with a tablet from anywhere in the store.
  • The addition of dedicated Technical and Billing queue experts to address specific concerns.
  • The expansion of existing speech recognition IVR platforms, which now supports our customers in two out of four regions, with the remaining 2 regions being launched in 2016.
  • Movement to a consolidated desktop application leveraging an integrated cross channel tool that allows us to make it personal with our customers when they engage us in our call centers.
  • Delivering on “Our Promise” to our customers by providing an extraordinary experience to every customer, every time they contact us.
  • Our AT&T Business Solutions teams continue to look at new ways to handle complex processes such as ordering, provisioning and billing. The effort has resulted in improved order quality, faster installation and fewer billing errors for call center representatives and outside sales teams. A new tablet app also gives our sales reps instant access to pricing and contacts, so they spend less time on administrative tasks.
  • Other tools available to our employees include:
    • The Innovation Pipeline, where they can submit ideas on new ways to help our customers.
    • The HERO tool, which lets them report internal issues that stand in the way of supporting customers. We’ve had thousands of submissions since launching in 2012.
    • The Helping Customers website, available on their wireless devices, which is a tool that provides information and resources allowing employees to find help for many types of customer issues and even escalate customer issues not resolved by traditional AT&T service channels.
    • The Service Escalation Program, where employees can be service ambassadors and submit service requests on behalf of customers.

1Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld

Updated on: Aug 2, 2016