AT&T drove me absolutely crazy. Then came Frank

A woman using a smartphone

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I did it without thinking.

It always worked well.

If I had to go on a foreign tripI’ll go to the AT&T website.

Hopefully I will buy an international data plan and not use more than the specified number of GB.

Your device is not eligible. go away

Why do I expect this time to be different? But suddenly the AT&T site decided to make me inferior.

It told me that my device is not eligible for international plan. Any international project, ie.

Further: These are my 5 must-have devices for work travel right now

I was thrown a touch. I have one iPhone 12. No, it’s not entirely new, but it’s not too old either. It served me well. Why can’t we suddenly cope with being in Europe?

Of course this could easily be solved, so, as I was on site, I clicked on the chat service. Presumably, some nice person will jump in to chat with me and sort this whole thing out.

Oh, what was I thinking?

Chat is a robot. It immediately recognized that I wanted to purchase an international plan and, oh, provided me with a link to the website page I visited. It told me that my device is not eligible.

It was a bit confusing. I fail to recognize the logic of this apparent absurdity.

Your device is not yet eligible. Go away again

So I decided to step up.

I called AT&T customer service. There, some nice guy would jump in to chat with me and sort this whole thing out.

Oh, what was I thinking?

The customer service line offered another robot. You will be glad to hear that I have been sent a link to a web page with an international program. The page said my device is not eligible.

Groundhog Day? Like grinding my teeth day.

Further: What is ChatGPT and why is it important? Here’s what you need to know

I tried to make the robot disappear by saying the word “rep” over and over again. It didn’t work. The robot requested my password.

When I answered in purely human terms, the robot said it didn’t understand me. I turned to anger.

“Please leave, dear robot,” I screamed. “You’ve been promoted beyond your capabilities. If I’m so bold as to suggest, you’re a completely pointless half-wit created by bean-counters to encourage customers to switch to Verizon.”

Look, I’m paraphrasing that quote. This sent me into convulsive seizures.

Hello, the man says it has nothing to do with your device

Suddenly, the robot seemed to recognize my scream. Or, rather, I understood that it made me volcanic enough to turn me into a man.

It turned out that this was no ordinary man. It turned out to be Frank.

I began by praising Frank’s presence and explaining the disappointments I had experienced. Frank understood. “Yeah, our roadblocks are no fun,” he said.

I continued to describe my situation and wondered how it was mine iPhone 12 Suddenly not eligible for an international program.

“The iPhone 12? It’s brand new as far as I’m concerned,” Frank said.

Then he tried to find out what happened.

“Looks like you’re on the old plan,” he said. “That’s why it doesn’t allow the international day plan.”

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Naturally, I still don’t understand. Why would the fact that I was in an old program affect my ability to have an international program?

Frank wasn’t sure either. But then he offered the most magical words: “I’m going to get you into a great program and save you some money.”

What? I’m going to pay you more, Frank. I can use my phone anytime anywhere in Europe.

Frank did what only people like Frank can do. Not only did he save me about $20 a month, but he also offered me a cheaper international plan than what I had paid for on previous trips. I paid $120. This plan has a maximum payout of $100.

I thanked Frank bordering on rude. He saved me a lot of emotions, a little time and a little money.

“When you make customer service calls, they don’t always go like this,” Frank said. “It’s perfect.”

I’m sure there’s an AT&T robot that will one day be programmed to say the same thing. But the gap between what Frank can do quickly and what robots can do over and over again is huge.

I understand that robots can do many things. I’m still not convinced customer service is one of them. There are subtleties that a robot can’t — and never will — understand. There are problems that robots simply can’t seem to figure out.

Their world is a rational box, a small rational box.

“That’s right,” Frank said. “The code word for removing the robot is agent, not delegate.”

Well, of course.

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