How to talk to a real live person at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and more

If you’ve tried to reach your cable TV provider lately, you well know that none of them seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on customer service these days. Instead of a real person, it’s much more common that you’ll engage with an automated voice that only is useful for guiding you to a pre-selected menu of common issues.

The problem with that is that you may have particular issues with your bill, technical woes or inquiries that might need to be addressed by multiple departments. So, what’s a customer to do?

Here’s how to reach a real live person at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and other major cable providers.

Here’s how to reach a human at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and more

AT&T

AT&T’s official customer service number is 800-331-0500 and that’s what I called to talk to a human. AT&T probably has the most robust automated voice system, and it’s hard to get around it, at least initially.

“So I can get you to the right place, can you tell me what prompted your call?” the male robo-voice said. I said that I had a problem with my bill and was asked to confirm my phone number.
That’s when it said, “Hang up and dial 611 or contact your wireless provider.” Instead, I pressed 0-0-0.
When I did that, the voice had one more question for me: “Are you calling about a previous AT&T bill?” I said yes.
That’s when it said the magic words I’d been waiting to hear: “Hang on while we connect you to an AT&T representative. For customer service, your call may be recorded.”
After a short wait, I was connected to a real person.
Wait time: 2:20 minutes

Comcast Xfinity

Comcast’s official customer service number is 800-945-2288, but I called 800-266-2278 to talk to a human. The thing about Comcast is that you have to enter a lot of personal information to get connected.

An automated male voice prompted me to verify my account by stating my partial address, which I did. Then it proceeded to play an advertisement for another service I had no interest in.

After that brief interlude, the voice told me that before it could connect me to an agent I needed to put in the last four digits of my Social Security number — or I could say “No.” I said no.

That’s when I pressed 0-0-0 and was immediately told I would be connected to an agent. Then the wait began. After a few seconds I was offered the opportunity to hang up, not lose my place in the queue and get a call back. I declined. “The hold time is approximately 15 to 20 minutes,” it said. OUCH.

Finally, after more than 30 minutes, I was connected to a real person.

Wait time: 32:39 minutes

Cox Communications

Cox’s official customer service number is 855-680-3750 and that’s what I dialed to talk to a human. When you listen to the prompts, you’ll learn you need to press 2 for billing or customer service.

You’ll also be prompted to put in your ZIP code and press 1 if you have an account. That’s when they tell you to “please wait.”

Like some other companies, Cox has a message waiting system that will send a text to your phone to connect you, if you choose to. I didn’t.

In just over 2 minutes I was talking to a real live person.

Wait time: 2:03 minutes

Spectrum/Charter Communications

Spectrum/Charter Communication’s official customer service number is 833-642-9259 and that’s what I dialed to talk to a human. When you listen to the prompts, you’ll learn you need to enter your phone number, then ZIP code.

An automated female voice asked me to “Please tell me what you’re calling about.” I had to press either 1 for technical support, 2 for billing or 3 for service changes. Instead, I hit 0 and she said, “Alright, let me transfer you to someone who can help.”

After a couple minutes, I was connected to a real human.

Wait time: 2 minutes
Do you have tips for reaching live customer service at other companies? Let us know in the comments, on Clark Howard’s Twitter or on Facebook.

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AT&T Diversity Chief: “Diversity Means Creating a Culture”

A 22-year veteran at AT&T, Corey Anthony has held leadership positions in an array of vital areas, ranging from wireless and network operations to finance and global customer service. His current role at the telecom giant, which produced revenues of $ 160.5 billion and had roughly 254,000 employees on its payroll in 2017, gives Anthony the opportunity to have a “meaningful and lasting impact [and] be able to help shape the culture as we go forward in our business.” In edited excerpts from this exclusive interview, Anthony shares how the application of AT&T’s Diversity & Inclusion Best Practices advances innovative problem-solving, supplier diversity, race relations, and corporate leadership.

Define what diversity and inclusion means at AT&T and to you personally.
Trying to define diversity is almost like trying to define leadership. There are so many different definitions based on whom you happen to be talking to at the time. What diversity and inclusion really means here at AT&T is a couple things that are really, really important. One is being able to attract and embrace the best talent, period. Once we get that talent, being able to embrace that person for the uniqueness that he or she brings to the business, period. Once I have them in the business, diversity means creating a culture in which they can realize their fullest potential. If I’m creating an environment where I am facilitating opportunities so people can realize their fullest potential then we’re at our best in our business. It’s beautiful for both the company and the individual when we have that kind of environment. For me, diversity and inclusion encapsulates that.

Give me an example of how D&I plays a role in AT&T’s innovation and growth.
When we talk about diversity here at AT&T, it’s not just in the traditional sense of gender, race, and ethnicity but also cognitive style. It’s very key in driving innovation in our business. When we put a problem on the table, we want that table to be very diverse so everybody is looking at that problem not through the same lens. We all bring different backgrounds and varied experience sets to the table to try and arrive at the best solution for that problem. That drives innovation because the people who are around that table feel very valued because they have the ability to contribute to that solution, which leads to a better solution and creates this virtuous cycle.

“We embrace talent for the uniqueness they bring to our business, period.”

Too many companies check the box when it comes to diversity. AT&T, however, repeatedly demonstrates transformative D&I leadership. As such, do you share best practices with corporate peers and guide them?
We do. We spend a fair amount of time partnering with other entities, companies, and organizations in not only sharing some of our best practices as they relate to diversity and inclusion but also learning from them. I agree, we’ve been recognized externally as one of the leaders in the space, and we believe not only do we have a responsibility to perpetuate diversity and inclusion inside of the business, but we also have a responsibility to do what’s best for the communities where we work and live, and where our customers work and live.

Do you mandate suppliers to follow suit or do you encourage them?
It manifests itself in a few ways. No. 1, we model the behavior that we expect from our partners and suppliers. We want to be that example of what a successful business looks like that embraces diversity and inclusion. No. 2, we’re very clear about what our expectations are.

What are your expectations?
That you do everything that you can within your business, if you partner with us, to model the same behavior that you see from us. It’s not a mandate in the sense that we give them a miracle target or anything like that. It’s an expectation that you value diversity in your business in the same fashion that we value it in ours, and then we expect to see empirical evidence of that as well.
We take another step. We literally have a program where we help our suppliers identify minority-owned businesses as an example that they can partner with in terms of subcontracting and other relationships to meet our needs. It isn’t just a conversation we’re having. It isn’t just us modeling it. We’re also giving them tools and actually helping them to be able to achieve that in their business as well.

A member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable—corporations that spend $ 1 billion or more with minority suppliers—AT&T has also led when it comes to procurement spend among such firms. How can its approach to supplier diversity be replicated?
There are a number of reasons why we’re successful. One very important reason is our chairman and CEO Randall L. Stephenson has been very clear about his expectation of the business. I would argue that everything around diversity and inclusion has to start with leadership. For us, that means the board of directors and our chairman have been very clear about the expectation for AT&T as it relates to supplier diversity.
Two, we look at it as a partnership. We work with the supplier community to help them, in some cases, build their businesses [so they’re] able to partner with us at the scale in which they have to work with us.

You made a point that AT&T’s diversity and inclusion mandate comes from the top. Last year, the CEO went a step further in an address to the staff, stating the importance of having an honest conversation on race. That’s basically unheard of in corporate America. Tell us the impact of that statement and how you’ve created a program to foster such discussions.
Randall’s remarks at last year’s Employer Resource Group conference was one of the more interesting dynamics I’ve seen in our business. I will tell you a couple things. It wasn’t planned. His remarks were heartfelt, and they were his. What made that so interesting is that we didn’t plan for it to go external. The really beautiful part about what he did was give us all the permission to have the conversation inside of the business. He was the first one to do it. He did it in a very eloquent, very thoughtful way. He set the example for the business.
What we did was say: “OK, now that Randall has opened that door, we want to have those conversations. We want to have those effective, productive conversations in the business. How can we help facilitate that without turning it into a program that everybody has to do, and track it?” We didn’t want it to be a top-down program approach. We wanted it to happen more organically. In HR, we said: “What we will provide is not a structured program, but we will give you some tools to help have those conversations.” We did that, and we called it, “Tolerance to Understanding.” A key part of his message was cowards simply tolerate. We really need to move to full understanding, embracing. As a leader of your team, you decide, “I want to have a similar conversation with my team,” then we will give you some tools and resources, sometimes in the form of a person, that will help facilitate that conversation on your team.

It’s been extremely valuable. We’ve had thousands of people who have been impacted by these conversations. They have been springing up all over our business even to the point that it’s not domestic only. We’re having some conversations across the globe now. It’s been a key inflection point for AT&T since he made those remarks last fall.

The post AT&T Diversity Chief: “Diversity Means Creating a Culture” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Watch everything AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said about the AT&T-Time Warner appeal

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Earlier this week, a judge decided the fate of the AT&T Time Warner deal, and the result was a big thumbs-up in the general direction of capitalism. The $ 85 billion deal has closed, Time Warner has officially been assimilated into AT&T (and renamed WarnerMedia), and there’s almost zero chance that anything will stop it now.

With the closing of the deal, AT&T is now far more than just a telecoms company. It owns dozens of brands, as well as the rights to some of the most popular shows on TV. It has dozens of cable channels, and if the worst fears about programming disputes play out, AT&T could black those channels out from your pay TV provider during a dispute. In no particular order, here’s some of the big brands AT&T now owns.

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AT&T Seeks Black Filmmakers for 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

black filmmaker

AT&T, the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) and Tribeca Film Institute have announced an open call for aspiring black filmmakers. Not only will filmmakers get the chance to debut their films at one of the most anticipated festivals of the year, they will also have a chance to win $ 1 million to make a movie as part of the AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, a program for underrepresented filmmakers. 

Black Filmmakers (Image: Faraday Okoro, the director of “Nigerian Prince” Photo cred: TribecaFilm.com)

 

Last year, after AT&T* and Tribeca teamed up to launch AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, New York City-based Nigerian-American filmmaker Faraday Okoro was awarded $ 1 million dollars to create his film, Nigerian Prince. In a statement released by Tribeca Film, Okoro shared a few tips about his experience and the submission process:

“This is the real deal. In April, they gave me $ 1 million to help produce my film. Now, I’m heading to Africa to start shooting the movie. It’s about a Nigerian-American teenager sent to Lagos, Nigeria, against his will. To get money for a plane ticket home, he teams with his Nigerian cousin to scam unsuspecting foreigners. We’ve got a busy production schedule ahead to finish the film in time for our debut at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, but we’re well on our way.

“If you have a script—or are writing one—you can submit it between now and Nov. 4. You’ll have a chance to be the second $ 1 million recipient of AT&T’s Untold Stories grant and access to AT&T distribution channels like DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW. This time next year, you could be on location filming your movie in preparation for its debut at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

“My best advice to you is to make sure your script is fully developed. If you feel like it’s incomplete, don’t push it. A lot of people will be submitting their stories for consideration. And the folks reviewing these scripts are experts at what they do. If your story isn’t ready for prime time, they’ll notice it right away. If it is, they just might pick you to pitch it to a panel of experts at next year’s Tribeca Film Festival.”

Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002. Next year’s festival marks AT&T’s fifth year as presenting sponsor. AT&T will once again provide the other four finalists with grants of $ 10,000 each to help achieve their respective films goals.

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AT&T brings 5G wireless trials to three more cities

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