Hell and Time Warner

I’m online only sporadically now, and getting only partial email service, thanks to the fact my internet service is out yet again and the wait to talk on the phone to someone in the service department at Time-Warner takes about TWO FREAKING HOURS.  A few weeks ago, there was a strip on the comics page (I think it was “Adam”) where the kids cry hysterically because their dad is abandoning them for the day — to wait endlessly on the phone for a service rep.  Is this what America’s come to?  A nation of frustrated consumers, unable to get anyone to attend to their needs?  Do American businesses think this is a good model?   

Hello, India?  Please send over some tech support.  Bcause I’ll pay what it takes just to talk to someone who knows what he’s doing.


21 replies
  1. struggler
    struggler says:

    Sorry to hear that Tess – but don’t come to the UK for any better. The word ‘customer services’ is pretty much an oxymoron here these days. And while I’ve used the same broadband provider for several years (and paid higher than average to do so) because of their reliability, in recent weeks things have taken a real turn for the worse. Sometimes I’m unable to get online all day. Drives me mad – then I wonder, what did I do with my life before there WAS an internet? I think I must have gone out more, that’s for sure…

  2. Sue
    Sue says:

    My experience is to wait for an hour for someone to actually talk to, then somewhere in the process we get dis-connected and have to start back at square one… it just makes me want to throw the phone against a wall!

  3. ec
    ec says:

    “Hello, your calls are important to us–but not so important that we’ll hire enough people to answer them….”

  4. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    i had to call the VA hospital the other day to get them to renew a scrip-i found out i was “caller#21”-so i took a shower,made coffee,read the paper and returned to the phone where i was “caller#10”-i decided to hang on and about 20 minutes later i got through-however if you really want to deal with incompetent morons just try having a problem with Home Depot-they’ve refunded part of the price due to the aggravation i went through,but they still haven’t got the problem fixed-it’s almost a year-and this is over a storm door!!
    ec-it would be nice if they didn’t keep saying how important your call is and play motown or something instead

  5. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    struggler-oh,and how about in the supermarket when you ask someone stocking shelves where something is and they say”i don’t work here-i work for tastykake muffins”….etc

  6. Craig
    Craig says:

    OK now don’t get your hopes up but this works locally with our utility companies. I was told by one of the service personnel that if I didn’t want to go through all of the hoops just keep hitting zero. It is not an option on the menu and it will take you directly to a talking head. Apparently they think there’s an idiot on the line who can barely function and they can’t wait to talk to him. It works locally so maybe it will work for you.

  7. Craig
    Craig says:

    PS and let me make this very clear–There are NO IDIOTS on this blog. Just very enlightened and positively fascinating people.

  8. bob k
    bob k says:

    Hate to say this Tess…but the last time I actually talked with a Time-Warner customer service/support person (not in person at the local office building), I am betting the person was in India.

    I have to ask – did you ever have the “pleasure” of dealing with Adelphia (T-W purchased them here in our area) – they were far, far worse.

    True customer service seems to be a thing of the past…just as I get older and expect more out a company I am sending my money to.

  9. struggler
    struggler says:

    You know, I’m pretty sure that when you phone the ‘customer services’ department of any of these big corporations, and you select from the following 5 options, then select from the following 5 options, and so on and so on, and you listen to someone telling you 78 times that your call is really important until eventually you get to speak to the only person who works in the frigging place. There’s only ONE telephone in the whole building and all those options lead to it. He’s got a tape recorder in the background playing a tape of dozens of customer service workers talking to customers (so we think they have a well-staffed C/S dept), but really he’s all by himself, probably in his converted garage where all the millions of calls are redirected to. Then after listening to your problem for 20 minutes he tells you he’s going to have to transfer your call to someone who specialises in technical issues and while you’re waiting for the transfer, the line goes dead.

    Customer Services. Reminds me of Microsoft Works.

  10. knaster
    knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    Have you ever noticed that when you finally reach someone in customer service, they tell you they’ll be there on such and such day between 9 and 5, and by 5:05 you decide to go out, and when you come back there’s a note on your door that they showd up and you have to reschedule? Now that’s progress!

  11. Jude Hardin
    Jude Hardin says:

    The protag in my novel on submission has this to say:

    I waited, started wondering how much collective time, the world over, is wasted on hold every day. Probably thousands of hours. Why couldn’t all that time be put to use somehow? What do most people do while they’re on hold? I guessed most people just sat there with the phone pressed against their heads, like I do. How many man-hours, man-years, are sucked into the abyss while waiting for people to come back to the phone. Someday I’m going to find out, and give everyone on hold something to do. Clip their toenails or something. I’ll probably win the Nobel Prize.

  12. Dru
    Dru says:

    I hate when you have to press this key, then that key and this key before you get to a message saying if you want to hear the menu again, press another key. I simply I press the pound or zero key after the first key and my odds of getting someone is better.

    Good luck getting customer service.

  13. Tess
    Tess says:

    Jude, now that’s a protagonist I can identify with.

    Obviously being on hold is a universal experience for us all. (And Struggler, thanks for enlightening us that the situation’s no better in the UK.)

  14. Lorra Laven
    Lorra Laven says:

    Great timing, Tess. Yesterday installers from Time Warner were here for more than three hours trying to bundle our phone service into our cable service. (This was a fast one my husband pulled without telling me – but that’s a story for another time.)
    Because of wiring, there were problems with the installation.

    And guess what? The installers had to wait to talk to someone at Time Warner. I could hear the T/W ad playing on their walkie-talkies as they waited in frustration for answer.

    Felt badly for the guys, but still found it kind of amusing in an ironic, kinda way.

  15. Cynbagley
    Cynbagley says:

    I have become so frustrated with the waiting that I am getting ready to make a bill statement and charge the companies for times I have waited on the phone.

    I hope that makes sense. I have to call about billing problems with my labs, etc. I can sit on the phone for an hour waiting for a billing rep. ARG!

  16. JD Rhoades
    JD Rhoades says:

    I have bad news for you, Tess…the person you’re on hold for IS in India.

    My greatest frustration with tech nonsupport is the script they have to follow, no matter what. See, I’m fairly computer savvy, and if I’m desperate enough to call Customer “Service” then I’ve pretty much run through the standard solutions. Yes, I’ve checked all the connections. Yes, I’ve rebooted the computer. Yes, I’ve rebooted the modem. But they just refuse to listen.

    “Now, Mr. Rudd (they always mispronounce my name), you need to check the connection from the modem to the computer…”

    “I already did that.”

    “I understand that you already did that, but you need to check the connection from the modem to the computer…”

    Finally I just gave up. When they tell me to do something I’ve already tried repeatedly, I just sit back, wait a few moments, and tell them “Okay, I did it.”

  17. bob k
    bob k says:

    BernardL – you reminded me of a point I meant to make. Yes, many customer support calls actually do go to India…that doesn’t mean you will necessarily get poor service on the call. One of the best experience I have ever had was with a Dell support person, in India, who diagnosed my problem (in Maine) and told me a tech would visit my house the next day…and he DID…and he came knowing exactly what the problem was, with the right replacement part in hand, and did the job in 15 minutes!

  18. Tess
    Tess says:

    I’d be happy with the chance to talk to ANYONE in customer support, even if they’re in Timbuktu. I just wish American businesses would hire more people to answer the phones.

  19. Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan says:

    This is actually one reason I’m seriously considering switching to Apple. I’ve heard from Mac users that the customer service and tech support is absolutely the best.

    Customer service should be the number one thing after quality of product that companies should focus on. I’ve been with Verizon since they were Airtouch–coming on 10 years now–and I stay because of the customer service, even though I pay a little more for my phone plan.

  20. knaster
    knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    I work with great customer support people. Just tell me when and where and I can get them over there. We have people all over the East coast…….

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