Is Customer service dying out?


BAD Example: Time Warner Cable

This week has been a week in which I dealt with two companies in particular which makes me wonder if customer service is a relict of the past.

First my week started of with my internet not working, so I called Time Warner Cable (TWC) and the fact that they had a service tech at my house within 30minutes seemed to set off for a good start.

The fact that he could not help as there was a problem with the TWC back end was fine, at least he tried and spent a good 2 hours on phone with the folks in the TWC location.

As a matter of fact later the day my internet was restored and all was good.

But not for long as Wednesday night the same problem occurred. Since I am somewhat versed with IT I can check the status of the wireless router and look into the error log. I noticed that the same issue which had been causing a problem on Monday occurred again. My modem was not getting an IP addressed assigned by the TWC server. The connection to the computer was fine as I could see that a request had been send.

So I called the TWC customer service to check if the issue from Monday came back. After arguing for 45minutes the call center agent and supervisor insisted that it was a hardware issue limited to my house. The fact that the modem was brand new (the Monday tech had exchanged it) and the cable worked for the Phone over IP line, was explained with a hardware issue in the street or so. In addition to the incompetence of the individuals I talked to the TWC seems to be worthless, as I was told no-one would be able to look up the closed case from Monday to see what initially the issue was. I was told the only solution would be to send a tech out, the earliest was Sunday morning (keep in mind it was Wednesday evening).

Ironically the internet via the phone line did work fine (officially according to TWC this does not work at all), which further confirmed my assessment that it was a technical issue on the TWC back-end.

About 2 hours later my service was restored, keep in mind that no-one had touched any hardware. But yet the call center guys told me that there is no other possibility then a hardware failure and no other fix than a service tech coming out.

But the joy was not for long as on Thursday morning phone and internet went out. This time though the TWC computer system acknowledged a technical issue in my area and prompted it was being worked on. So I signed up for the service to be notified once the issue is fixed, well I am still waiting for that notification.

And for the TWC service tech, I have not canceled him as obviously I don’t know what I am talking about and it MUST be a hardware issue…


Medium Example: Sirius XM

Also this week I got another note from XM about an unpaid invoice. This was really not what I expected. A brief history: I bought my car in October 2010 with a 3-month trial subscription from Chevrolet. For whatever reason XM decided to give me a 12-month free trial, at least so they stated in their letter to me. Also did I find this confirmed on my account stats in the internet.

Therefore I was surprised to receive an invoice from XM in April 2011 for a 9-month time period. Especially since I never signed up for service beyond my free trial. So I called the call center and after hours and about 3 different stories about my trial we ended the call.

I then summarized the call in a letter to XM, elaborating on the fact that I received a free 12-month letter I would not be willing to pay for the service. Further that if this is business practice of XM to offer something for free and then just bill for it I would not be using XM any longer.

This letter remains unanswered as of today.

Instead I received another payment reminder with a note that if no payment is made the radio would be disconnected.

In one last attempt of fixing this without 3rd parties involvement I called the XM customer care line once again.

First call was dropped after waiting a few minutes.

Second call I was able to wait for a representative, who then dropped the call.

Third and last attempt I got to a customer representative. I outline my case and first thing he says is: ‘Yes I see a 12 month free trial on your account’ REALLY? No one else saw this! He then put me on hold for a while to come back and state that everything was taken care of and my owed balance is zero dollars! Finally someone who knew what he was doing.

Let’s see if this really was the end.


Good Example: Logitech

I have a multitude of Logitech products. On the one hand they last forever and on the other hand they offer something for almost any entertainment area in your house. Together with my wife we have approximately: 6 Keyboards, 5 Mice, 1 Webcam, 1 IPod dock.

When one of the Bluetooth receivers started to act up I contacted Logitech customer support via e-mail. The next day the customer support stated the receiver was most likely broken and I would need to present my receipt to determine if it was under warranty. I did no longer have the receipt since I purchased the product in 2006, also I knew it was out of warranty. Therefore I asked in the same answer for a possibility to purchase the receiver. The response I got was an apology about the fact that it is out of warranty, a link where I could order a replacement receiver for $10 (very reasonable price) and a 50% off coupon for a Logitech product!

Well that is about as good as customer service gets!


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