By: Julie Williams
Surveys consistently put cable companies at or near the top of most hated “service” provider lists and with good reason. Quick—can you think of a good experience with your cable company? Needless to say, I was not looking forward to making a call to find out why our main TV’s screen said the set was “no longer authorized for service.”
Round 1: Is Anybody Home?
“Longer waits than usual” the automated system said—nothing new there.
Round 2: No Human Required
Next a robot tried to reboot the system. Sounded too good to be true and it was.
Round 3: Is Anybody Home [Again]?
I called back. The system recognized the robot’s failure and put me in another queue. Maybe things were looking up—I wouldn’t have to explain the problem all over again.
Round 4: Can You Repeat That?
When a live person finally arrived, she asked, “What’s the problem?” “The same one we had 15 minutes ago. The one the robot tried and failed to fix.” The telephone connection was worse than two cans and a string. Every time one of us spoke noisy static took over. “Should I call back, or can you call me back?” “No. We’re having trouble with the telephone system and things won’t be any better. If you want the problem fixed you’ll have to stay on the line.”
Round 5: It’s Broken
After several more reboot attempts, the representative said she thought the cable box had died and offered to make an appointment for a technician to come to the house two days later. Not what I wanted to hear with a week-end full of my favorite sport no longer accessible. “We’ve only had the box a few months….maybe you should get a new equipment supplier,” I growled. “And can you bring a new remote? That isn’t working either.”
Round 6: You Can’t Be Serious
Back came this perky reply, “I notice you only have our TV service. Before you hang up, let me tell you about our Internet and phone service.” Surely I couldn’t have heard this correctly?! A lousy customer experience coupled with an unsatisfactory result—was there a worse time to upsell?
The technician arrived on time Monday and rebooted the set, explaining that a system-wide software upgrade had wreaked havoc nationally.…one million calls jammed their telephone system in 24 hours. One million unhappy people like me hearing a sales pitch when most of us would have happily fired the company if there was an alternative. Tone deaf does not begin to describe the situation. Maybe there is something to be said for consistency, though. My cable company remains firmly in last place for customer “service.”
Have you had a similar experience with a service provider? Did you share your feelings with the company?