Public Relations can be a challenging task, but it’s apparently not too challenging for AT&T’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel Thomas A. Restaino, who was found to respond to an email sent to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson by a loyal customer Alfred Valrie who simply had some ideas he was hoping AT&T would take into consideration. Restaino’s response likely comes off a little harsh, stating that they (AT&T) would have to respectfully decline to consider Alfred’s suggestion because AT&T doesn’t “entertaining unsolicited offers to adopt, analyze, develop, license or purchase third-party intellectual property … from members of the general public.” In true Legere fashion, T-Mobile’s outspoken CEO John Legere is having a field day with the situation by openly accepting the ideas of AT&T customers.
Legere is giving customers (AT&T or otherwise) the chance to send their ideas to himself and T-Mobile in a couple of different ways, either by sending emails to [email protected], or through two new options as part of the Ideas For Randall Stephenson campaign, including sending responses to [email protected] or via Twitter with the accompanying hashtag #IdeasForRandall. Legere also mentions that they will keep a collective of all the best ideas and send them to AT&T’s CEO and his lawyers stating that they’ve already fixed those suggestions with their own network. It’s a purely antagonistic approach, but one that is surely going to gain T-Mobile some attention and might even cause some customers to consider a switch.
AT&T’s formal response to the initial response from Restaino is that it was merely a tactic to protect themselves on a legal level. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped them from appearing as if they care less for the customers opinions than they proclaim. T-Mobile was quick to point out that they value their customers opinions quite highly and are more than happy to offer customers the opportunity to see how much they care. John Legere states “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.” If you’re a long time customer of AT&T and you have or have had a few ideas for AT&T but were and are hesitant to send them off for fear of receiving the same response, now you have another choice.