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Don’t Ignore Your Client’s Ideas to Improve Customer Service

AT&T seems to have placed a very unlikely possibility of legal jeopardy ahead of common sense and its public image – and it ended up with egg on its face and with the immediate need to walk back its initial response. According to the Los Angeles Times, Southern California resident Alfred Valrie, 35, emailed company CEO Randall Stephenson with two simple ideas to improve service and customer satisfaction: provide unlimited data for DSL users and 1,000 text messages for $10 a month. But rather than simply acknowledge the idea and act upon it (or consider it but reject it), AT&T referred the email to its legal department, where chief intellectual property counsel Thomas A. Restaino responded to Valrie as follows: “AT&T has a policy of not entertaining unsolicited offers to adopt, analyze, develop, license or purchase third-party intellectual property . . . from members of the general public. Therefore, we…

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