I have the unfortunate duty of overseeing Grand Rapids Community College’s presence in phone book listings and the yellow pages. This usually-menial task takes on sisyphusean dimensions because I’m forced to work with AT&T, an entity whose customer service is routinely panned.
Five times in the past two years, the online directories owned by AT&T have published the college’s listing incorrectly. The way I typically find out about this is that we start receiving complaints from callers angry that they’ve been transferred numerous times in an attempt to get information from the college, or one lone employee will begin receiving a flood of traffic intended for the college switchboard.
Right now, the primary number listed in YellowPages.com for GRCC goes to an extension of a now-defunct nonprofit organization that used to have an office on GRCC’s campus. One of the other wrong numbers is an 800 number for a federal student aid help hotline. All three addresses attributed to GRCC are also incorrect (they refer to some of our regional centers).
My theory is that AT&T keeps merging databases as it acquires new online directories, and the listings go wrong in the merge process. When the listings go bad, it’s typically because the correct listing with the college’s main number (616-234-4000) is buried amid listings all labeled as GRCC that actually list the phone numbers of various departments or individuals at the college.
Every time it happens, I’m forced to take several hours out of my day and catalog all of the errors, and contact AT&T’s unresponsive customer service operations and then keep checking up on them until they fix their screw-ups.
Perhaps the worst part is that this happens in spite of the fact that GRCC pays AT&T thousands of dollars every year for yellow pages listings. When I’ve tried to complain to the sales side of AT&T about this recurring problem and threatened to pull the college’s advertising – they act as though they share none of the responsibility, claiming that it’s a separate department (as though all of their paychecks don’t say “AT&T” on them).
I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that if US intelligence agencies are wiretapping citizens without warrants with AT&T’s assistance – none of the data they’re getting is any good.