Monday, April 28, 2014

Not This Time (Warner Cable)...

The Facts

We use Time Warner Cable. It's a rocky relationship.

His Side

I know this blog is about having differences in opinions yet finding common ground. Sometimes, though, no matter how different you are, you must come together to do battle with a common opponent. That may be a bit overdramatic but I just wanted to prepare you for the fact that our opinions might be pretty similar on this topic. What topic? TIME WARNER CABLE!

We have internet and cable provided by Time Warner Cable. We don't have a house phone because house phones are pretty much obsolete these days. No offense intended for those that still have them; that's a personal choice… but I am perfectly fine without one. Anyway, internet and cable are important to us. I need access to internet for email correspondence as I pursue screenwriting opportunities and we need it to provide you guys with these blog posts for your entertainment. And cable is important to us because one way we spend quality time together is lounging on the couch, halfway paying attention to a TV show while we chat and hang out.

With that being said, it's obviously quite an inconvenience when cable and internet are down. And they have been going down a lot recently. The first time, we called TWC and they gave us a one day credit which equates to basically nothing. But, it's a nice gesture. As the outages continued, though, single day credits were not going to cut it. We pay for reliable service and we were not getting reliable service, so we were trying to see if we could receive a discount. It's the least they could do. We talked to various people from TWC and, each time, we got more and more frustrated because they kept telling us how much they understand how we feel and that they could give us a credit. After asking one girl to speak with a manager 4 times, we still never got to speak to one. She gave us an extension to call where we could speak with someone about getting a discount. It turns out that the extension was just the in-house extension that they use to connect you with the department we were trying to get in touch with. And she had no authority to tell us we would get a discount… or so we thought.

After getting the runaround again on the phone when trying that extension (which obviously didn't work), all we got was another credit on our account. It was a generous credit but I literally asked specifically for a discount on the services since they were far from reliable and nobody was able to do that for me. I was flabbergasted. We started exploring other options for cable and internet but it's not just like changing which deodorant you use… it's a bit more complicated. Then, however, we had even more issues with TWC. 

As we were trying to set up my Sonos Playbar (which is amazing, by the way), all TV sound cut off. It wasn't because we set up the Playbar incorrectly, either. It was a TWC issue… we thought. We called TWC again. The thought of calling them again made me sick but it had to be done. Surprisingly, the technician we spoke with was extremely helpful. But here's the craziest thing about the call:  while we were waiting on our system to reboot after he reset it, he said, "while we wait, let me see if we can't get your monthly rate lower." WHAT?! Did he seriously just offer to do that without us asking? Yes, he did. I was thinking there was no way he would come back and say he lowered our rate. I was wrong again… He didn't lower it much but any little bit helps. When we called and specifically asked them to do that, everyone (even managers) told us that it couldn't be done. Then this guy just does it like it's nothing. 

The weirdest part, though, is that the sound issue took 4 seconds (I counted) to fix. A technician came out to check on our box, asked how we connect it to the TV (I told him HDMI), then he changed the audio output setting to HDMI and the sound magically returned. I've got to be honest, I felt pretty dumb. 

The moral of the story is that our relationship with TWC is much like a marriage, friendship, dating relationship or whatever you have. You will have your ups and downs and you might even be ready to give up on it. You may even be made to feel really dumb sometimes; but, if both sides work together, you can make the relationship work. TWC just doesn't always seem to be trying. Hopefully your spouse, friend, family member, or whomever you have does work on it so that your relationships can be better than ours is with TWC… (cheesy, I know, but think about it).

Her Side

We live in a country obsessed with what’s going on NOW. In order to know what’s going on, we have to be able to quickly go to a website or flip to (your favorite) news channel... Mine is obviously E! News (duh!). Needing news channels and websites translates to needing cable and internet which translates to choosing between a few companies who hold a monopoly over the industry. We get those services from probably the most annoying one of them all, Time Warner Cable.

I relish the times when I don’t have to have any contact with them other than simply paying our bill. Recently, however, we have talked to way too many customer service representatives than I’d like to admit. This wouldn’t happen, though, if their service was great and didn’t mess up constantly.

In the past month or so, we have experienced situations where both our cable and internet goes out and it’s usually in the evening when we are trying to relax and watch TV. When this happens, one of us will quickly call TWC in hopes of getting this resolved, only go be met with a recorded message telling me what I already know:  there is an outage in my area. They go on to say that customer service reps cannot help with this outage and to sit back and relax and wait until the service is restored. That response pacified us the first time or two; but, after that, these outages began to make us very angry (understandably so).  

I must, however, give a shout out to the most recent Customer Service Rep that we talked to. Among the gamut of problems we have had with TWC, the sound while watching cable was one of them. It just so happened that the night we wanted to install our new Sonos system, the sound went out. We called TWC and spoke with the most delightful gentleman, Raymond (and no there is literally no hint of sarcasm in that previous statement). He was the most helpful person I have ever spoken to at TWC. He walked us through a number of various options to rectify our silent situation and, even though he wasn’t able to fix the problem in the end, we hung up the call fully satisfied. Why? One, we could understand what he was saying… as in his accent wasn’t too think and we didn’t have to ask him to repeat himself. Two, we didn’t have to get firm, stern, or demanding with him. He provided options without us having to ask about them. Third, he is the ONLY person who OFFERED to give us a discount on our monthly services. This is without a doubt the biggest reason we were so pleased with his service. In the number of times we have called TWC in the past month, no one has ever been able to decrease our monthly bill… We asked nicely, pleaded, demanded, and even threatened to end our service with them… but, to no avail. Each person said there was nothing they could do for us. So, when Raymond casually mentioned he was going to see if he could get us a discount without any prompting from us, we were shocked! I thought he was just saying that to buy time and keep us happy while our cable box reset and I figured as soon as he came back on the line he would conveniently forget about the offer he just gave to help reduce our bill. To our surprise, he casually mentioned at the end of the call that he was able to cut our monthly bill. Granted, it was only cut by a measly $6; but, in this economy, any little bit helps!

So, Raymond, if you’re reading this (which I know you aren’t because, lets be honest, only family and a few friends read this blog at this point), I want to thank you immensely for providing such great service to us. We hung up the phone with smiles on our faces instead of the normal angry face and steam blowing out of our ears (not literally, of course).

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