How AT&T Wireless Self-Destructed In A Few Easy Steps

theodp writes “ has the story of a botched CRM upgrade that cost the telco thousands of new customers and an estimated $100 million in lost revenue, so damaging the carrier’s reputation that many analysts believe it hastened its sale to Cingular. Among the hard lessons learned: telling employees to ‘Come in every day and expect to be fired’ doesn’t always inspire the troops to greater effort.” This just confirms a number of the stories that have been floating around over the past few months about what was going on inside AT&T Wireless that caused so many problems. Clearly, not all of it was AT&T Wireless’ fault, but it seems clear that management made a few incredibly short-sighted decisions in letting things get to where they did. Many of the biggest mistakes could accurately be pinned on outside execs – but letting those decisions have an impact in the first place was AT&T Wireless’ responsibility. It looks like, among other things, they didn’t take the number portability date seriously (despite the fact that even the most basic understanding of the FCC’s position would make it clear there weren’t going to be any more delays), they didn’t come up with a reasonable upgrade plan for the CRM system, and they were spending way too much time and effort on how to cut their customer service costs – rather than on how to improve their customer service. Considering the impact of number portability is that customer service was suddenly going to matter a lot more – this one seems particularly short-sighted. Derek adds: And recall that the top 12 AWE execs voted themselves a generous options disbursement when the stock had bottomed out around $7, just before word started getting out about the Cingular purchase offer. Hmmm, I’m no Wall Streeter, but isn’t it true the value of those options today is greater the lower the value of the stock at the time of disbursement?

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