Smart Solution, Dumb Deployment

“Customer service starts where customer experience fails.” Chris Zane, Zanes Cycles

One of our friends Bill Jelen (Mr. Excel) recently forwarded an account of his efforts to get cable service for his father. Obvious Time Warner attempted to improve customer service and experience which has gone, well, wrong. Here in Bills own words:

Our local cable company is Time Warner. They used to ask for account number, but now have gotten smart enough to detect the account number from the incoming phone number.

I called to establish cable service for my 91 year old father who is moving near us. When I call from my dad’s phone, they ask for order number. They tell me the install date. When I ask to reschedule, they say OK, then hang up on me. Repeatedly. But wait, that is not the funny part!!!!

When I try the exact same steps from my phone, they ask for order number. They tell me install date, when I ask to reschedule, they hit me with THIS ridiculous message:

“We were unable to identify you as a Time Warner Cable Customer because when prompted, you did not enter identifying information. Since you did not help us identify you, we will release the call and you will have to call back into the 1-888-TWCable number.”

Do you see how hilarious this is? They never prompted me for anything but an order number, which obviously is correct because they told me the install date.

They never asked me for my account number. I was never prompted for identifying information. They figured it out (or, apparently, failed to figure it out) from my phone number. If you are going to be pretentious and say that I refused to give you information, you should at least ask me first for the information!

Here is an unlisted video. You can hear that message at the 2:42 mark. By the way, I created the video to document the obvious bug for Time Warner (who at least took the time to reply to my Tweet and ask for details via Direct Message).

Turns out, I don’t care when they install the cable, because I discovered that when I hooked the TV up to the cable at the house, everything is working fine. If they choose to screw around until Oct 24 to “install”, I guess I get free cable until then!


So kudos to Time Warner for getting back to Bill via Twitter. It shows their social media monitoring is work. Their customer service logic and tools however need more work and more importantly a lot more thinking. Great tools, lousy design. Does anyone know if they have fixed this yet. Let us know.

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