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Friday, September 14, 2007


Worst Customer Service Award: Time-Warner Cable

Oct. 1, 2007 update: Hey, customer service is not so bad for the telephone area. If you have telephone service with Time Warner, it is possible to reach people in under 30 minutes (about 12 minutes for my call), and they sent someone out the next day who was able to repair a minor wiring problem - at no cost. Very nice. So I'm OK with that aspect of customer service. But 30+ minutes for help with Internet or TV issues is still asking too much.

Many of you have probably been wondering, "Who has the worst customer service in Appleton?" There are some serious contenders for the honor, but based on the information I've got, I have to give the award to Time Warner. They provide cable-modem Internet access for many people in the area, as well as cable TV and even phone service. And for people like me who have them as the provider in all three areas, any time you have trouble with any of these services, you can dial one convenient local number for service: (920) 738-3160 (which apparently gets fed into their national service center). And after you call, you may experience any one of these four options:
  1. Receive a busy signal. Estimated frequency: about 70% of the time for me.

  2. Reach the automated telephone system which automatically cuts you off after making your menu selection (at least this is what has happened for me when trying to get help on TV problems). Estimated frequency: about 10% of the time.

  3. Get into the automated telephone system and then be kept on hold for over 20 minutes until you give up, without any indication as to the estimated wait time. Estimated frequency: about 10% of the time.

  4. Get into the automated telephone system and then be kept on hold with an automated system that tells you that the estimated wait time is over thirty minutes, and after five minutes of waiting, the system tells you a wait time that's even longer than what it was when you first called. The only reasonable choice is to hang up and fume. Estimated frequency: about 10% of the time.

  5. Reach a knowledgeable employee who helps you with your problem. Haven't experienced this in any of our calls over the past couple of weeks, but I'm sure it happens. Well, not so sure anymore - please let me know. Estimated frequency: rare.

Please note that I'm not complaining about outsourcing customer service jobs to India - I don't know if they have done that or not since I haven't reached anybody recently, though a few months ago I did reach an English speaker with good English. So maybe they haven't shipped everything overseas. But maybe they should add some overseas positions since the one or two people they are using for their national call center obviously can't handle the load. I'm sure the service is good when they can be reached, but true wait times of over 40 minutes are totally unacceptable.

Time-Warner, for you appalling lack of customer service, you have won the Appleton Blog Worst Service Award.
Hence the reason I fired Time Warner years ago. We have DirecTV and NTD DSL.
I work at TWC actually and no, calls are not shipped overseas. You will go to our Appleton or Milwaukee call centers. You may get to our Road Runner National Help Desk for some Road Runner related issues. The two offices (Appleton and Milwaukee) just recently merged and therefore when you call a local Appleton phone#, you may be on hold because our customer base is both Appleton and Milwaukee now. Twenty minute wait times are actually not that out of the norm for any call center (ever try calling AT&T?). It's just that our customers are used to shorter wait times so if they have to wait for longer than 30 seconds now, they get upset. The industry is growing, therefore so are calls into the call center. The call center has staffed an additional 60 people in the past few months and are still hiring. If you don't want to wait on hold, try emailing from the TWC website.
anonymous: that might be so, but your company is not scoring right now, and makes absolutely no effort to improve. Emails are not answered either, and the option from the menue that an associate will call back in axactly xxx minutes doesn't work, since I am still waiting for the call 2 weeks ago after a sloppy unfriendly, unprofessional cable installation by a twosome-yahoo -lollygang...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I also work at TWC, have been for about two years now - and I can tell you that educated on almost ALL technology out there and TAKE CARE of the customers I handle although sometimes do not feel appreciated for all I do for them - so if you happen to call ( even though you may have to sit on hold for awhile ) please make sure you let the rep know you appreciate their knowledge and help if your issue is resolved - alot of people take this for granted and forget CSR's, Rep's and or Tech's are people! Thank you!
I can tell you that educated on almost ALL technology out there and TAKE CARE of the customers I handle although sometimes do not feel appreciated

Interesting dialect - could I ask what nation you are from? And how long does it take to get educated on almost ALL technology out there? Several thousand Ph.D. degrees, I imagine? Well, I guess that's worth waiting for. Hope I can reach you someday. But I'm still on hold. . . .
I too work at Time Warner. I do understand the frustration of not being able to get through on the phones. I am a consumer also. What everyone does not understand is like Anonymous said the industry is growing, as is the area. As we speak Time Warner is adding more phone lines to accommodate all the overage of phone calls. It is not an overnight process. In the past Time Warner only offered TV service. Now with all the added services--of course the call volume is going to be higher. What the public needs to remember is that the reps on the phones and in the payment centers are people too--we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability. We can not help the fact that the phone lines are clogged because so many people have been calling in. And, before it is even asked---THE BIG TEN NETWORK--the reason we do not have that channel yet is because the network is asking soooo much money for it that EVERYONE'S cable bill would go up. Can you just imagine how many more people would be calling if that happened? So, yes...Time Warner does look out for the best interest of the customer. Just hang tight---things will get back to normal.
Sure are alot of Time Warner employees around. WOW!!! With that many employees answering and responding to this blog, perhaps you could help me fix my problem with my internet since I can not get through on the local number. Please send a service technician to my home ASAP because my phones are also VOIP and my internet keeps going down, hence the reason I cannot call you any longer. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering... I had to take my laptop down to the Copper Rock Cafe to use their internet just to get this message out. Thanks. Here is my email address: I will check my email again tomorrow, or if the service technician can just come to my house let me know when. Thanks.
(Maybe now my request is noted)
Just saw the previous comment and have to agree with its message.

Anon @ 10:05 am, people aren't blaming the call center staff. It's the COMPANY and its management who apparently don't care enough about customers to hire enough people to handle the call volume. If wait times for help with computer or phone services are greater than 30 minutes day after day, and numerous people are dropping out of the queue because they don't have all day to wait, then something is wrong. "Hang tight?" How long can someone hang before the inability to breathe (or speak or surf) results in a customer fatality? You're killing customer loyalty with all this tight hanging.
Skip the TWC employee comments. They are "plants." TWC in KC is absolutely terrible. Calling customer service and getting a busy signal is unacceptable. Paying for an HD/DVR service and only getting about 16 hrs of HD/DVR time is a joke. Two days after setting up recording and seeing that some of the shows didn't record because the drive is 100% full is ridiculous.

Take a look at how well TWarner's stock is doing and then think about all the excuses you read here and then go vomit. We are being ripped off-flat out! I'm within an inch of spending some big bucks on the new TIVO box which can handle two cablecards at only $1.75 each per month. You can add an external hard drive and maintain a ton of hours/shows. TWC is slitting their own throats. Do a google on cablecards and the new tivo unit. Sure it might be about $600 or more but it's an investment and frees you from this kind of crap. It's only a matter of time before TWC loses a ton of those monthly tuner/dvr fees. Some sweatshop in China will see to that...
Just searched for the numbert because I couldn't find the phone book. Middle of the day, I called got a hold of a customer service represenative and scheduled my repair in 1 day. I have never had a problem with TWC. In other cities the cable companies charge to come out for service, here it is free. I am not a plant, live in Neenah, and have had TWC for 10 years here. Always have had excellent service. The call center is not as easy to get through in the evening. Call from work.
The U.S. national RR help desk is apparently also the national Canadian help desk since the times I've called the reps confirmed their location when I asked. Not too big a deal though other than an extra hoop to jump through before getting someone local.

I'll say that once I've actually gotten through, most repairs have gotten done in 24-36 hours, and the truck guys have always been friendly even while climbing a telephone pole in 10-degree weather. Once had an RR tech sitting at my house watching TV with me for around an hour while waiting for the backed-up call center to call him back with a quick modem activation code. That was amusing.

The outright bad experience was when my cable modem was obviously bad and after waiting on hold on and off for HOURS while having to jump through the "please unplug it and plug it back in, and restart your computer" hoops multiple times, I finally talked to a different tech who also knew it was obviously the modem but didn't have the authority to authorize a new one, the level above him wouldn't help or was busy, so he pushed it through at the office and got a new one authorized which I drove over and picked up. I'd probably still be on hold if he hadn't put on his butt-kicking shoes to get it done.

I was shocked at how little the lower-level phone techs are authorized to do. Even if the lower levels could help, TW's policies apparently wouldn't let them, and the higher levels are either in short supply or busy. Seemed like a pretty big deal for him to get a modem authorized for exchange. At $47.20 a month, I think you can exchange my modem when I offer to drive the 25 miles myself.
TIME WARNER IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST!!! I ordered the All The Best deal for $89 thinking I could save some money. Oh boy was I in for the shock. It took them 4 tries to transfer over my old phone number and in the meantime I had to keep paying Verizon to keep the number active otherwise TWC cannot transfer a number that's disconnected. So I was told to ask for a credit when the phone number transer is completed. So I did today --- 1) I signed up for $89 but was billed $114, why? "Sir you don't qualify." SO what the f***? Like I ordered a $20 dollar steak from the menu and was billed for $40??? 2) what about the $90+ I paid Verizon to keep my phone number active so TWC can take their sweet time and transfer it? No luck. Supervisor said " If I give you the credit then I would be in trouble when your account is audited." What kind of lame execuse is that?

I must have spent at least 20 hours on the phone in the past two months and talked to no less than 12 reps including 5 supervisors. My conclusion is obviously that TIME WARNER IS ABSOLUTELY THE WORST!!!
Agreed! They really need to improve their service.
Good luck with those TiVO cable cards when we go to switched digital video.
I just found this site after searching for Time Warner contacts, and I have to say that Time Warner Cable dsoes have the worst customer service of any company, bar none. After spending an hour trying to navigate the voice-activated system and getting nowhere, I decided on calling Time Warner's Corporate Offices in New York, where, believe it or not, you can get a live person right away! There you an air your grievances right to the office of the president of the company! If enough people call and b!tch, maybe sonething will get done. I am listing the phone number here. Please call away!

Time Warner Corporate Office 212-484-8000
That's right. Time-Warner Cable really need to improve their services to comply for their customers need. By the way, thank you for sharing this post to us. Can you please keep us updated? More Power!


Order taking services
So, you guys think you have trouble with TWC? I have 9 different accounts with them and have had multiple problems. Fortunately, I have been able to get a live person on the phone, however, in hindsight - perhaps it was a monkey, as suggested earlier in the blog. My most recent experience was when I was forced to close one of my nine businesses by a state government. When I initially set up my contract with TWC I asked the agent how I would get out of my contract if my business closed and was told that if my business closed that I would not have to pay. Two weeks after closing the business I notified all the utilities for the business and everything went smoothly until I got to TWC - I hit a brick wall. I offered to pay the lady I spoke with what I owed and she declined. She refused to let me pay the balance because she wanted me to go through an act of congress to prove that I had closed the business. So, consequently, all of the utilities got paid except TWC. They alienate me at every turn and for that reason I will try to de-ass my other eight accounts as soon as possible.
That was an excellent post. I enjoy reading your post and also the readers comments are very informative and interesting as well. I hope you could write another informative post like this. Keep it up!
As a DISH Network employee and subscriber I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about Time Warner. I am proud to say DISH is continually striving to improve their customer experience and was ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among cable and satellite TV providers in last years ACSI survey. I would recommend DISH to anyone who may be considering a new service provider.
Time Warner has the absolute worst customer service ever...of any company. I have called before to ask one simple question and been transferred to another 4 to 5 people and each one has given me a different answer. No one can ever give you a simple and direct solution to your problem. To make matters worse, they bill you a month in a advance and have the nerve to send you these monsterous bills and expect you to pay them. Pay them for what????? Needless to say, I am about to cancel TWC and get the DISH. I am tired of all their garbage!!!!
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