Customer Service Lessons for TimeWarner

I’m pretty much ready to be done with TimeWarner/RoadRunner.  It’s not as much about the service, although my RoadRunner, which used to be outstanding has been pretty flakey over the last year.  I’m on my 3rd failed modem in that time frame. 

This last episode was driven by the electrical storm that apparently nuked our DVR, 42” Plasma TV and apparently my Cable Modem.

The Internet is a necessity these day.  I keep a permanent VPN tunnel to work using special hardware to do that.  I need to be connected.  Can I be down a day?  Sure, but not 7-8 days.

Last nights tech support call was atrocious, so we made the trip to their retail store on our dime to pick up a new modem.  They new that, they did the exchange.  It should be plug and play when we get home.  In fact there are only 3 connections.  Power, Cable, and one Ethernet to our router…

Of course it didn’t work, so I called tech support again.

The lady I spoke with initially, looked up the MAC address and said point blank, oh, it’s not provisioned.   Let me transfer you.

After 10 minutes on hold being transferred I get a woman who said “Honey, I don’t know what your problem is, your modem is provisioned.  What do the light say?” 

Uhm, they are all green but I can’t get an IP, and when I do I can’t go anywhere.

“Well then you need a service call, the earliest I can give you is…  Oh, you already have someone coming on the 15th.   They’ll fix it then.”

I said well can you just have them pick this stuff up when they come? 

Nope, we’ll bill you until you bring the modem into a service center and drop it off.   What?!?!?!  I just picked it up…

This infuriated me.

So while I’m on the Internet trying to figure out how to order Zoomtown from Cincy Bell, (the only other company I hate more that TW… just started looking a lot better), my wife calls and was able to move the date up to the 12th.

After more troubleshooting, I could now all of a sudden get an IP every time.  But I still couldn’t go anywhere.   This to me isn’t something a tech is needed for.   So I called back in again.  Explained my plight, and was escalated to Tier 3 support.   The hold for this was throughout dinner and while I swapped out the TV that no longer works and worked on troubleshooting the DVR.

An hour late I get a Tier 3 guy, who is kind enough to inform me that my modem is stuck in auto-provision, so he’s going to kick it in the head.   5 minutes later we’re back up.

I candidly asked him, “Do you really need a Tier 3 person to force a provision?”  He said no.

I said can you look at my DVR?  He said no but he’d put a note on the trouble ticket so hopefully they’ll bring one on Saturday.

So my tips for TimeWarner.

1) Not all your customers are stupid, so don’t treat them like they are.

2) Not all your customers are out to steal your modems and hardware.  I have no use for a cable modem if I’m not subscribing to your service.  You know the one you can’t get to work.

3) Step up the training on your tier one folks.  They should be smarter than my 13 year old daughter when it comes to troubleshooting this stuff.

4) If you see someone’s called in 3x looking for help, you can assume they did the fundamental troubleshooting on the first two calls.

I realize you probably get some real winners calling in for support.  You get people who can’t release and renew their IP’s…  I know these people, but come on…  The steps to figure out where the problem lie aren’t that complicated.   It took me 3 calls to get through to you that it was on your end and that you could fix it remotely.

5) 7 days is far too long for anyone to wait for service, I don’t care what business you’re in.   You almost dispatched someone to my house for a problem they couldn’t fix anyway.   That can’t be cheap. 

Wake up!  Cable tech support has sucked since day one.  You’d think you’d have this figured out by now.

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