UPDATE 23 December 2011
As promised, I followed up with Phil from TWC. Here was his response:
Hi Mr. Hill–
We have indeed made progress. The employee was identified and the issue was addressed internally. We expect no further such incidents. Again, please accept my heartfelt apologies for what happened. To have an any employee speak to a customer in such a matter is unacceptable.
I realize that you did not mention that you were looking for any type of compensation for this issue, but I felt it appropriate to process a credit for a month of service on your account.
I want to be sure that your original service issue was addressed—have you had any further problems? Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Feel free to contact me with any further questions—have a safe and happy holiday.
THIS is good customer service. And I’m not even saying that because they comped me a month – Phil’s communications with me have been genuine and sincere. There is a modicum of professional context / distancing which is to be expected (it is business, after all), but throughout my correspondence with him he both (a) listened to what I said and (b) helped to resolve my problem directly. The feedback loop is the key part here.
The main difference between this experience and my previous experience is the fidelity of that feedback loop. You cannot realistically regurgitate a canned apology and expect it to be received as anything more than insincere time-wasting. There is an organic process behind the development of conflict resolution.
For the purposes of this particular saga, I’ll call it closed. I suspect that the throttling issue may come up again someday, but as this post was more about the customer service rather than the throttling itself, I’ll give that a bye for now.
UPDATE 16 December 2011
So yesterday evening, on my way home from work, I spoke with someone (I only heard his name once, but I believe it was “Phil”?) who said they were from Time Warner’s Social Media team. Earlier that afternoon, I had called their customer service people to file a complaint about this whole situation.
As far as I can tell, this person that called me is legitimate, though he did say he’d e-mail me his phone number and has yet to do that, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Philip has emailed me his contact info.
He said two things I felt were important:
- He views this complaint like how he would see one that involved an employee using company resources (phone numbers, addresses, etc) outside of the scope of their work [his example involved a disgruntled employee harassing customers after hours, or doing creepy slow drives by their house]
- The URL had indeed been passed to multiple people in the company, particularly the customer service team, because it contains what they feel is useful feedback.
UPDATE: 15 December 2011
Ok so there’s a rather colorful comment posted by someone who clearly has a secret crush on Time Warner. Normally, I try to not feed the trolls, but I was rather curious about this. So I waited a day for the Google Analytics data to come in. I figured I might get lucky and at least get some more info on who this person was.
OMG It was so much better.
Ok let’s start here, and connect the dots:
So I took the IP address there and ran an nslookup to see where it maps to.
So the commenter is from the Buffalo area.
What is particularly interesting about this particular case is that I sent the link directly to @TWCableHelp, the official and authoritative Time Warner twitter feed. This was via a Direct Message, meaning that unlike normal Twitter content (which is public) the only people that knew about this link were myself and this Twitter user (and anyone this user shared it with, separately).
Note specifically the t.co hash there: 44jxmSC
Twitter automatically shortens URLs pasted into it now, using the t.co shortening service. This particular shortened URL is *DIFFERENT* from the one that automatically syndicated from my blog, which was the hash E2qs9wo3. So when I realized this, I knew that I could use Google Analytics to see if anyone used that specific URL to access my blog. I ran a custom report for “Referrals” within the past 5 days, isolated that specific t.co referral, and here’s what I saw:
Where is that?
This means that the comment with multiple personal insults on it came from @TWCableHelp, or by extension, Time Warner Cable themselves.
Yeah, they’re getting a call about this.
I’ll let the twitter user know that I know who they are, too. Yeah that’s right, I work in IT.
So I’m trying out Google Music. It’s pretty neat.
In addition to the free music samples / demos that they have available and can provide at the click of a button, you’re allowed to upload up to 20,000 songs to your account, for streaming to a variety of platforms, including Android phones (very cool!). What’s even better is that they have a Linux app for the music manager (this seriously makes me very very very happy).
So I downloaded the manager app and, after culling the chaff from my laptop’s small music collection, started my sync with my Google Music account. ~1,400 songs; shouldn’t take THAT long, I thought. I started it on Sunday night.
When I checked it again on Monday evening, I first noticed that the internet had stopped working. Great. Time Warner is throttling me for bandwidth use. I went through the usual diagnostic steps – check my intranet speeds (still fast!), check the lights (on, but blinking irregularly), power-cycle the modem (restores blinking to normal), etc, and got a modicum of internet access functional again, though it was still very slow (Netflix was buffering a LOT and Netflix normally never buffers for me). At this point I knew that I would need to have Customer Service reset my connection.
If you are a normal Internet user from about 10 years ago, then you probably use Windows or Mac, and browse with Firefox or Internet Explorer or, if you are a Mac user, Safari. You will also have no problems with getting online with a customer service representative.
If, however, you use Chrome, like I do, or use Linux, like I also do, you will be unable to acesss online customer service. For reasons I do not understand, their customer service chat application exercises restrictions as if we were still back in the early 2000s, when application support was varied by browser. Chrome, which is used more than Safari and almost as much as Firefox (by some recent reports, actually surpassing Firefox altogether!) is disallowed.
So in order to use their online chatting, because it’s slightly less painful than waiting on hold for 30 minutes, I had to fire up a Windows XP Virtual Machine, and use what I think was Microsoft IE6 (the first time it’s EVER been used in that VM). Yeah.
What follows is this official transcript of my session with a customer service representative named “Elvis”.