Making the rounds today is a story about Alfred Valrie, an AT&T customer that wrote a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to make two suggestions that Valrie thinks would make AT&T better: unlimited data for DSL subscribers and a rate plan add-on that offers 1,000 text messages for $10 per month. However, the AT&T CEO forwarded the message to AT&T’s legal department, who responded with the following statement:
“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 respectfully decline to consider your suggestion.”
An AT&T spokesperson confirmed that that response was deliberate, as AT&T has apparently previously had customers threaten to sue AT&T for allegedly stealing ideas that had been sent to the company. “It’s so we can protect ourselves,” AT&T spokeswoman Georgia Taylor explained.
Now T-Mobile is responding to the whole situation by welcoming ideas with open arms (and an open inbox). T-Mobile says that AT&T customers can send their comments, concerns, and ideas to IdeasforRandall@t-mobile.com or Tweet @JohnLegere with the hashtag #IdeasforRandall. T-Mo will gather the best comments and send the ones that they’ve already fixed over to AT&T and its lawyers. Here’s what John Legere has to say about the matter:
“The entire Un-carrier revolution began by listening to customers. It’s where we get our best ideas, and I want everyone to keep sending them my way at John.Legere@T-Mobile.com. It absolutely amazes me that Randall would tell a lifelong customer to basically go away and talk to my lawyers. I interact with customers on a daily basis so I can hear their ideas firsthand. It’s called living in the 21st century.”
While AT&T’s response to Valrie may have been an effort to protect itself legally, it’s still kind of a crazy response to a customer that made some suggestions about how AT&T could make its service better. T-Mobile has always touted itself as being the carrier that listens to its customers and fixes their pain points with Un-carrier moves, and now it’s making sure that everyone knows it with this new Ideas for Randall initiative.