Why would you call Solid Signal instead of AT&T?

There are a few DIRECTV fans I’ve been talking to for about a decade. I wouldn’t call them friends, but we share a common interest. We’ve talked over the years about hardware, philosophy, everything DIRECTV-related. It’s a carryover from those days when DIRECTV was an early-adopter product. Back then we all spent a lot of time speculating what the folks in the boardroom were doing.

Here’s a true story

One of these folks has been asking me for about a year about different receiver models, Genie vs. non-Genie, and a lot of other trivia about hardware. That is, until we had a particular conversation. Here it is, scrubbed a little bit to protect names and details:

Them: I got my new receiver and it wasn’t what I expected. I thought I’d get a Samsung but I got a Technicolor one.

Me: It’s a little hard getting an activated receiver changed out, but call us. I’ll make sure you get a rep who can help.

Them: Even though I got it straight from AT&T?

Honestly my jaw kind of dropped there. I’ve been talking to this guy as a representative of Solid Signal since 2012, and for whatever reason, he didn’t even think of shopping with us. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little hurt

Why people call AT&T

So I do understand why people would call a name they know. In my personal life I make decisions like that too. I buy my cars at the dealership, not from a broker. If I have a choice between buying from a major manufacturer instead of a dealer, I’ll choose the dealer. This is especially true when I look at something where I think I might need more support.

Here’s the little secret

When you talk about AT&T, unless you’re interacting straight with one of their web sites, you’re almost always working with a dealer. Walk into a store with a lit AT&T sign at the top, you’re walking into a dealer. Talk to someone offering DIRECTV at a store, you’re talking to a dealer. Even if you respond to a TV ad or print ad, you’re probably talking to a dealer.

The AT&T dealership experience is so good that you don’t even realize that you’re supporting a local business most of the time.

Talking to a dealer is really better, and here’s why

Because AT&T is so dealer-based, it’s the best way to get the service you really want. AT&T’s own customer-facing operations are based overseas in large call centers. When you call them you get people who don’t know the products. They know how to read scripts.

On the other hand when you call a dealer, you’re supporting local jobs. Solid Signal may not be in your community, but we’re supporting dozens of jobs in our Novi, Michigan headquarters. We also support hundreds of jobs in our nationwide distribution facility.

Not only that, you’re talking to people who live and die by the products and services they offer. A dealer like Solid Signal is going to know the details that you, the tech enthusiast need to know.

But aren’t there problems when you work with a dealer?

In some business models, yes. I know that some companies don’t treat their dealers very well. That bad treatment translates out to bad customer service. We’re very lucky that AT&T isn’t like that. AT&T gives its dealers access to the same computer systems that they use internally. That means we can offer you the same deals, the same products, and the same service as if you called the corporate folks in their overseas call center.

That means we can concentrate on taking care of our customers. And let me tell you, our reps can do magic. I’ve seen our folks pull off feats that the corporate folks can’t. Take for example the person who inspired this article. AT&T won’t swap out a receiver just because you don’t like the manufacturer just because you don’t like the model. I’ve seen our reps do it. I don’t know how, and I know it can’t be done all the time, but I’ve seen them do it.

I’ve seen our reps handle the kinds of issues that RV and marine customers have all the time. AT&T’s own reps won’t even touch marine and RV customers. They won’t even work with most commercial customers. They leave those things to dealers, because, honestly, we’re better at it.

Learn from someone else’s actions

Don’t be like the person who inspired this article. They never really were able to get what they wanted and they’re stuck with the receiver they didn’t want for two years. Call Solid Signal at 866-726-4182 and we’ll take care of you, your way. We’ll spend the time it takes to understand your needs and then we’ll work our hardest to fulfill them. When was the last time you heard that from an overseas call center?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.