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Friday, September 14, 2007
Worst Customer Service Award: Time-Warner Cable
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:
- Receive a busy signal. Estimated frequency: about 70% of the time for me.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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. . . .
(Maybe now my request is noted)
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.
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...
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.
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!!!
Time Warner Corporate Office 212-484-8000
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