Thank You For Holding, How Can I Not Help You?

Ever had one of those customer service calls that makes you feel like you’ve been going in circles for hours? You were. And if you’re a customer of Time Warner Cable, they’ve probably serviced you a dozen different ways already (with no Vaseline).

The New York Times reported yesterday that the city is trying to alleviate the the pain all TWC customers feel at one time or another, like when you’re given that infamous four-hour window:

But now, customers may finally get a small measure of justice for what many complain is unfair and just plain rude treatment at the hands of the cable-company giants.Under the terms of a new contract negotiated with City Hall, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision will have to pay for failing to honor appointments. And they will have to do a lot more to make sure that subscribers are getting good service.

The contract would make cable customers eligible for a credit equal to a full month’s bill if a technician does not arrive on time….

Customers can request notification by e-mail, phone or text message when a technician is heading to their home. And in most cases, after making a choice from an automated menu, a customer should have to wait no more than 30 seconds to speak to a representative.

Until then we have to suffer the old fashioned way, on the phone and online. With the reliably shitty service the company provides and the torturous hoop-jumping required to deal with it, I have to wonder why they’d offer to send you transcripts of the online chats you can have with their associates.

After the jump, a real TWC live chat technical support session between a customer at the end of his rope and a service rep at the end of her shift — with emphasis and commentary added. By me. With a hefty dose of enraged empathy.

From: <>
Date: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:30 PM
Subject: Time Warner Cable Chat Transcript

Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable Chat
We hope that your session with Technical Support was helpful
Below you will find the chat transcript that you requested. We recommend you keep this for future reference. Check! Our Customer Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! – if you need to contact us again, please visit for any questions relating to your Time Warner Cable service, or for Road Runner specific assistance please visit

M nica:    I understand that you need to reschedule your appointment as technician no-showed. (This was earlier the same day. Keep that in mind as you read.) Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced and I will be happy to assist you on this matter.
Joe:    to be honest, the technician not being able to come at the agreed upon time is just one of the many issues i’ve had with time warner over the last three weeks.  Sing it, brother.
M nica:    Thank you.
Joe:    i just tried calling to complain, but was then put on hold for 35 minutes. Minutes cost money, dammit.
M nica:    I understand, Please give me a moment while I access your account.
M nica:    I understand that you are not happy with the service you received from us. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced. We will do our best to address all of your issues so you can enjoy the services you have subscribed to from Time Warner Cable. Rest assured that I am escalating your concerns immediately to the relevant department to handle this matter. Um, wouldn’t that be the customer service department?
I appreciate the time you have taken to bring this to our attention and for giving us an opportunity to rectify the situation.
M nica:    Please give me a moment.
M nica:    Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.
M nica:    The appointment is already re-scheduled for today from 9 am to 7 pm. Um, it’s 2:20 pm right now. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
Joe:    i am aware. but like you, i have a job to do. i already had to miss work this morning. i couldn’t take the afternoon off too
M nica:    I understand
M nica:    Let me check if the system allow me the appointment for today.
Joe:    i know that none of this is your fault so i apologize if i seem snippy. but like i said, i called trying to lodge a complaint – not just for this morning, but for the other issues i’ve had with my service over the last three weeks, but was put on hold for 35 minutes. after that, i had to hang up.
M nica:    655
M nica:    Sorry.
M nica:    Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that you have been experienced with us.
Joe:    so really, i suppose i’m looking for two things: 1) an appointment for either early saturday or sunday mornings and 2) how to contact someone who I can speak to directly to receive some sort of compensation for the lack of service for such a long time and for all the phone calls and time i’ve spent doing my part to fix the technical issues i’m still having without time warner doing their share.
Joe:    can you help me with either of those?
M nica:    I understand. Translation: no.
M nica:    One moment, please.
M nica:    At this moment the unique available appointment will be on 09/14 between 9 am to 7 pm. Once again, that’s today, from 5 hours ago to 5 hours from now.
Joe:    again, i can’t take off of work this afternoon.
M nica:    I understand, we need that you please contact us tomorrow or later to see if we will have more appointments available. I need that you please speak English.
M nica:    The On-Time Guarantee is Time Warner Cable s promise that we ll show up on time for installations and service appointments, because we understand nothing is more frustrating than waiting around for an appointment. That’s why Time Warner Cable was the first company in the industry to introduce the On-Time Guarantee. Contact us for details on your local division s On Time Guarantee policy. What? Seriously? If you’re going to cut and paste PR bullshit do it at the beginning. And you might want to make sure it doesn’t 100% contradict what just happened.
M nica:    We need to wait until 7 pm if the technical visit you. OK, maybe I’ll try cutting and pasting: I need that you please speak English.
M nica:    Otherwise we will give you $20 credit.
Joe:    no one is going to be there
Joe:    you changed the appointment without me agreeing to it
M nica:    But at this time I can not cancel or re-schedule the appointment.
Joe:    is there a number i can call that won’t result in me being put on hold for another 35 minutes?
M nica:    And the On-Time Guarantee is until 7 pm. Because you scheduled for today from 9 am to 7 pm.
Joe:   i didn’t schedule for today at 9am-7pm
Joe:    i scheduled for 8am-11am
Joe:    my appointment was changed without me agreeing to it
M nica:   I see. No words, really.
Joe:    i was there from 8-11.
Joe:    no one came.
M nica:    I understand.
Joe:    i had to go to work.
M nica:   I understand, I can cancel it but we can not give you the credit
Joe:    well what good is your guarantee if you can just change the appointment times without me agreeing?
Joe:    again, i don’t mean to sound like a jerk.
M nica:    You are correct.
Joe:    but what prevents you guys from changing the appointment time again if the technician is going to no-show?
Joe:    i’ll ask again. is there a number i can call that won’t result in me being put on hold for another 35 minutes?
M nica:    Please give me a moment. We just have the customer service department or you can send us a email.
M nica:    You can call us at (718) 358-0900
Joe:    and that’s the number i called when i got put on hold earlier
M nica:    Please send us a email please choose the option of What is your question/comment about? *Feedback
M nica:    We just have that phone number in your zip code or you can visit us. Cue copy paste.
M nica:    Our Locations
We welcome you to visit any of our convenient stores, located throughout the area. Pick up equipment and self-installation kits for any of our services, try out the latest technologies, including high-speed Internet and HDTV, and pay your bill.
769 5th Avenue (at 27th Street)
Hours of Operation: Mon Fri: 8am 7pm; Sat: 9am 5pm
Queens Center Mall (Queens   Woodhaven Boulevards at L.I.E.)
Hours of Operation: Mon Sat: 10am 9:30pm; Sun: 11am 6pm
133-19 Atlantic Avenue
Hours of Operation: Mon Fri: 8am 7pm; Sat: 9am 5pm
Joe:    ok. you’ve done what you can. i’m not seeing the point of talking anymore. There never was one. thanks for your time.

Oh, and yes, I noticed the “o” missing from Monica. But then I thought, there’s a very good chance that name is written as it was meant to be.

[Thanks, Joe. And M nica.]

2 responses to “Thank You For Holding, How Can I Not Help You?

  1. I honestly just got frustrated reading that. Ever try scheduling an appliance repair?

  2. What a painful read! I believe that quality customer service is the foundation of any business and more companies should realize that. Stories like this remind me of how lucky I am to work for DISH Network, a company that actually values their customers. DISH is even #1 in Customer Satisfaction among all cable and satellite TV providers (according to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index survey results for the U.S. largest cable and satellite providers). I’ve subscribed to DISH for about a year now and have not had a problem yet. On a side note, I wanted to be sure to bring your attention to the o in my name. LOL

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