Our Customer Service Nightmare

Customer service is a rare thing to find these days. Sure, you will still find mention of customer service but it really doesn't do anything to serve customers. It usually just wastes their time, money, and destroys their faith in the company they are dealing with. You may wonder why I'm writing about customer service...well, here is the long explanation as to why our shop is not open for business right now.

What were we thinking??

We recently moved to a new location downtown, across from the Hamburger Inn, and we worked diligently to cross all our “t's” and dot our “i's”. We wanted this move to be as seamless as possible so there would be no lag in our ability to serve our customers' needs. We began scheduling with all our utilities two weeks before the move and everything went very well except one very important utility. Our provider of Internet and phone service is Cable One. They still have not processed our transfer even though we contacted them two weeks ago. I would have contacted them sooner than that; however, I had a heck of a time tracking down who I needed to talk to about scheduling our transfer.

So, I scheduled the transfer on September 19th, they told us at that time it would take 10 days. I assumed they meant weekdays so that would hit just right. What I didn't realize was that they meant it would take 10 days before they would show up for a “site assessment.” A site assessment has something to do with 911, or so we've been told. We've been told a lot of things. Anyway, we were also told that within a few days of that first call on the 19th, that our local facilitator would contact us. Nope. I called Cable One back on the 27th to let them know that after the 30th we would no longer have access to our old building. I asked them if we could unhook our modem and move it to the new building. They said “yes.” I also told them that since we were physically moving the modem to the new shop, they would need to contact us on our cell phone.

Monday, the 2nd of October, arrived and we waited and waited. No contact from Cable One. When we arrived at our house that evening, we realized that a Cable One representative had called our house and in her message she said that she had tried to contact us on our business line but it just went straight to a busy signal. You think?!? We had to unplug the modem and move it to our new shop! The voice on the message (I will withhold all names) said she would try to contact us on the other number provided but that call never came.

In the meantime, Phil spent all day Monday and Tuesday, October 2nd and 3rd, on the phone with countless Cable One representatives. Each promises call backs or technicians en route, but none of these promises ever pan out. One of the customer service representatives was even more concerned with having us change our PIN instead of figuring out how to physically get a technician to our shop to hook up our phones and Internet.

Remember, we are still just waiting on a site assessment. No one has told us that we will definitely have Internet and phone service once the technician arrives. Here's the rub: our new shop is surrounded by other Cable One customers. I know that we can physically receive Cable One service at our new shop. This shouldn't be this hard!!

I'm pretty sure Phil is catatonic at this point.

As I am writing this, Phil is still waiting on a call from Cable One. One of the countless customer service representatives that he has talked to over the past two days (I'm still showing great restraint by withholding names, but trust me we have a list of names and call times) promised him a call back in 45 minutes. That was around 3 pm this afternoon. It is now 6:00 pm. Rather than being in denial about this phone call, I think Phil is actually catatonic from the stress he has endured.

We have customers who are waiting to pick up their equipment locally and we have customers who are waiting for us to ship their repairs back to them. We can do neither because we are hogtied by our Internet and phone provider. We have now lost two days of business thanks to Cable One. I know we are a pipsqueak to them when it comes to business accounts, but in the world in which I was raised, I was taught to treat each customer equally. The customer that brings you $20 worth of business is just as important as the one that brings you $2000 worth of business. I'm pretty sure Cable One doesn't treat their big accounts they way they have been treating us.

What's the number for HughesNet??

Before this FUBAR moment, we had nothing but high praise for Cable One. When we switched our phones over to them earlier this year (after being with AT&T for 9 years) the installation was effortless and fast – a sharp contrast to the experience we are having now. Hell, I'm ready to plant a satellite dish on the roof and bog through HughesNet service. The way Cable One is making this transfer seem like I'm asking them to land the space shuttle on the moon, I wonder what it is that they really do over there.

So, here are some customer service critiques I have for Cable One:

1. Take a lesson from OG&E and have an actual place on your website that gives information on how to process a transfer of service. With OG&E, I was able to do everything online and I received perfect and timely service. (And they are dealing with massive amounts of electricity that can kill you dead!)

2. Train your customer service representatives to not make empty promises. If they tell a customer that they will call back in 45 minutes....Do so! Even if it is just to say they haven't resolved the problem. The impression of being ignored is much worse.

3. Do an assessment of your customer service team and see where the gaps are. I'm sure we aren't the only customers in this customer service Hell right now. Responsible customer service goes a long way when it comes to winning customers. This whole mantra of “Not my circus, not my monkeys” needs to be retired. Even if you are in a minimum wage customer service job, you should do your very best to help customers every day. If you can't do that, you need to find a different job.

And finally...

For those of you who have stayed with me through this entire rant, thank you for your patience. We apologize to our customers who have been waiting for us to reopen. We will have our doors open soon, even if it means I have to resort to wearing a satellite dish  on my head Al Franken style. (Google “SNL Al Franken” for you youngsters out there)

In the meantime, where's the Tylenol and I think I need a case of Shiner!

UPDATE: Phil actually got a call back at 6:08pm! They called to say that he would receive a call tomorrow to schedule a time for a tech visit. Here we go again. Oye veh!!

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