Ordering AT&T iPhone 3GS - You want my business or not?

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Ordering AT&T iPhone 3GS - You want my business or not?

So I'm trying to order a new Apple iPhone 3GS from TMC's AT&T's Premiere business website when what do my eyes behold? No iPhones displayed on the Featured Phone web page. Say what? Is AT&T dissing Apple? How can this not be on their Featured Phone page? So then I click on the Smartphone category, but there is no iPhone for sale there either. Huh? I try the 3G category and still no iPhone. Finally, I choose a link that list ALL phones available and still the iPhone isn't listed.

I should mention that the TMC's first 3 iPhones were ordered together on the phone when we joined AT&T Premiere business plan. AT&T espouses their Premiere site as an easy way for telecom administrators to quickly and easily add new phones, manage phones, deactivate service, add service, etc. So here I am trying to save time ordering TMC's fourth iPhone via their web portal and the iPhone is nowhere to be found.

So I try the Premiere live chat. Behold how unhelpful this chat session went:

Full transcript:
Please wait for a chat agent to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Tiffany'
Tiffany: Welcome to AT&T Premier Support. How may I assist you today?
Tom Keating: hi. I'm on my Premiere page and trying to add service + new iPhone. I can't find iPhone anywhere on the page
Tom Keating: here: https://www.wireless.att.com/business/phones/phones_items.jsp?catsel=true
Tiffany: To clarify, you want to know why your Premier site is not showing iphones, correct?
Tom Keating: yes
Tiffany: I will be right with you.
Tom Keating: ok
Tiffany: Unfortunately, if you do not see phone device on your Premier web site they are not eligible through your company.
Tom Keating: i already have 3 iphones as part of our Premiere plan
Tom Keating: Foundation Account Number 1234567, sample iPhone number: 203-722-XXXX
Tiffany: As a TCM, you can specify which products, features and services are available to view on the Premier website. Please click the Support tab and review the "Using the Manage Functions" instructions.
Tom Keating: I'm now on the Support tab, but don't see any links titled "Using the Manage Functions". I'm currently here: https://www.wireless.att.com/business/help/?wtLinkName=Support&wtLinkLoc=MNB&WT.svl=2&_requestid=39498
Tiffany: Give me a moment to located the information you need.
Tiffany: I apologize, Tom select the manage tab then go to settings then go to apply equipment preferences to change device on the Premier site.
Tom Keating: that's odd. I do see the iPhone checked there.
Tom Keating: I'll submit it anyway. let me see if that worked.
Tiffany: Tom, you may have to log out and then log back in because of web site technically difficulties, if you are still experiencing problems with the site, you may need to speak to a live agent in technical support to further assist you.
Tom Keating: yeah, still don't see it. had another admin login using his account.
Tom Keating: where do I find the correct technical contact?
Tom Keating: you have a number for me?
Tiffany: For website technical support, please call 1-866-499-8008, select option #4, Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.
Tiffany: Do you have any questions regarding the information we discussed today?
Tom Keating: Nope, guess it's time to try another customer service route.
Tiffany: For website technical support, please call 1-866-499-8008, select option #4, Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.
Tiffany: Do you have any questions regarding the information we discussed today?
Tiffany: Thank you for using AT&T Premier Support. We appreciate your business.
Chat session has ended.

So she sent me on a couple wild goose chases and there were occasions where I'd wait 2-3 minutes between her responses. The total chat session was about 15 minutes. What a waste of time!

So then I call the number she gave me and I reach the technical support team. I give her my account details and after explaining the issue, she sounds like she's going to make my day and tell me she can fix the problem. Alas, instead she gives me a trouble ticket! Then she tells me that she merely takes down the info, the trouble ticket goes to the IT technical support team, and the timeframe is 2-24 hours to fix. Oh joy... Maybe I'll just order the damn iPhone over the phone.

The web is supposed to not only make things faster for the customer, but it's also supposed to save on labor costs for the company selling products or services. Well, it took the chat agent time to send me on a wild goose chase, it took the AT&T technical support phone rep time to take my info over the phone and issue a trouble ticket, and it took me time to jump through all these hoops. It also costs AT&T money for me to call their 866 toll-free number as well.

If AT&T wants superb customer service, what should have happened is that the chat agent worked on my issue until it was resolved. None of this sending me to another AT&T support rep garbage. If you're going to put a live chat feature on your "Premier" business web portal, then I expect the chat agent to be able to resolve my issue. It's this sort of terrible experience that makes me much less apt to switch $1000 in monthly telecom costs we pay to Verizon over to AT&T. You're treading on thin ice AT&T and I control some purse strings. Granted, it's a drop in the bucket, but if others are experiencing the same issue, you can imagine how much business AT&T is losing.

iphone 3g apple main_homescreen20080609.jpgWell, Alan Urkawich, my fellow co-worker, ye shall wait a few more days to get your brand spankin' new AT&T Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB phone. I tried man, I really really tried!

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