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September 25, 2009

CRM Rule #1: Don't blame the customer for your decisions or mistakes


I have been using AT&T CallVantage VOIP for a couple of years now, and I really liked their service. Unfortunately AT&T decided to shut down this service. I'm not sure why. But here are some clues:

"Based on our continued focus to deliver the best possible products and services to our customers and to focus our efforts and investments on new technologies, we are no longer offering AT&T CallVantage Service. All of our current residential and business customer accounts will be retired by end of year 2009. Customers are currently being given the opportunity to migrate to another AT&T service, transfer to another service provider, or disconnect service completely."


"We are focusing our efforts and investments on developing and enhancing our new technologies. While we understand that it may be an inconvenience to transfer services, we are focusing our efforts on making the transition as smooth as possible for customers."


"In April, AT&T CallVantage customers began to receive several notifications informing them that AT&T CallVantage Service is being discontinued and urging them to explore other AT&T service alternatives. If a customer fails to take action, we will continue to reach out to the customer to make sure they are aware of their options to transfer services." *

Until now, AT&T has been doing a great job of sending letters warning me to port my numbers before they shut down CV. I don't want to lose my phone numbers, so I've been looking into my options for porting and using these numbers. I'm going to miss CV: their customer service has been pretty good, and the VOIP service has been excellent.


Today I received an email notice that they ported one of my lines. What I don't understand is why they decided to blame me for deciding to cancel the service.


CRM Rule #1: Don't blame the customer for your decisions or mistakes 

-----Original Message-----

From: AT&T CallVantage Service [mailto:CustomerNotifications@maillennium.att.com]

Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 12:02 PM

To: xxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: AT&T CallVantage Service Disconnect Order Confirmation for (999) 999-9999


As requested on 09/25/2009, AT&T CallVantage (R) Service is in the process of disconnecting your 2nd Line service. You will not be able to place or receive calls using the AT&T CallVantage Service on your 2nd Line. If you have not done so already, you should immediately arrange for service with an alternate phone service provider.


If you have any questions or concerns simply visit https://www.callvantage.att.com/help. We are sorry you decided to cancel this additional line, but want to thank you again for being a AT&T CallVantage Service customer.




AT&T CallVantage Service Team

Hey it wasn't my decision! I was a happy customer. I think this letter could have been a little nicer. Simple CRM rules can help make it better.


Keywords & tags: AT&T shutting down CallVantage VOIP service

* Links:







September 17, 2009

Business rules drag Orbitz down to Earth

Orbitz just lost its cool.

I just booked a roundtrip flight from Dallas to Atlanta. The outbound flight is at 5:30AM CDT. The return flight is at 4:05PM EDT. Each flight is about two and a half hours long.

But according the Orbitz' email confirmation:

  1. This is an overnight flight.
  2. This flight arrives two days later.
  3. This flight arrives on the previous day.
  4. This flight arrives two days prior.
  5. This flight departs from a different airport.
  6. This trip starts and ends at different airports.  (see the rest of the email text below)

WOW! There is just way too much information here to absorb. I need to take this one step at a time so it can really soak in.

First, "this is an overnight flight." Do you know if you have to pay for pillows and blankets nowadays?

Second, "this flight arrives two days later." Apollo 11 took four days to get to the moon. (July 16-19, 1969)

Third, "this flight arrives on the previous day." Now that I can believe! Believe it or not, that would be the second time this ever happened to me. Once I flew out of Tokyo at night on my birthday. I arrived in Hawaii in the morning, on my birthday. The International Date Line is cool that way. (see http://bizrules.com/resumes/rh_mobil_story.htm

Fourth, "this flight arrives two days prior." Back to the Future. Sounds like a good time to buy some stocks before takeoff.

Next, "this flight departs from a different airport." I hope they have a fast shuttle bus.

Finally, this trip starts and ends at different airports. I guess that message is OK. The main reason I booked this trip is to get from one city to another. So this message is technically correct. I've never seen this message before in Orbitz email confirmations, so this could be a new system enhancement to improve customer service: it's good to let customers know that they will land in a different place than where they took off from. That's all good. So that's not really a bug. It's more like a feature.

This automated email has 5 or 6 mistakes, depending on whether you think #6 is a bug or a feature. Actually 10 or 12 mistakes, because the messages were listed for each flight. That's not good.

Orbitz has a business rule problem. Somewhere in the system, rules are missing or they are just plane wrong. Orbitz needs to improve their business rules management system. Orbitz needs to figure out what their business rules are and what they should be. They need rules that are correct, complete, compliant, consistent, clear, and concise.

That's what Orbitz needs. And what Orbitz customers deserve.

Rolando Hernandez, CEO, www.BizRules.com

NOTE: Below is an excerpt of the Orbitz email

Your Travel Document


Thanks for traveling with Orbitz. This e-mail confirms the ticket number(s) issued for the "Atlanta <DepartureDate>" trip.

Delta Air Lines # 1912
Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL (ATL)
Departure (DFW): <DepartureDate>, 5:30 AM CDT (morning)
Arrival (ATL): <DepartureDate>, 8:48 AM EDT (morning)

 This is an overnight flight.

 This flight arrives two days later.

 This flight arrives on the previous day.

 This flight arrives two days prior.

 This flight departs from a different airport.

 This trip starts and ends at different airports.

Delta Air Lines # 67
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL (ATL) to Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW)
Departure (ATL): <ReturnDate>, 4:05 PM EDT (afternoon)
Arrival (DFW): <ReturnDate>, 5:34 PM CDT (evening)

 This is an overnight flight.

 This flight arrives two days later.

 This flight arrives on the previous day.

 This flight arrives two days prior.

 This flight departs from a different airport.

 This trip starts and ends at different airports.

Update 1: An Orbitz customer service rep said this was due to Delta merging with Northwest. The inventory data from Delta is messed up she said. I wonder how many people received these warnings and error messages.

Update 2: A good place to go for more information on business rules management and rulebase techology is www.rulesfest.org


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