When people talk about Time Warner Cable it’s usually not to praise them. Here’s a typical TWC story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Time Warner Cable had the lowest customer satisfaction score in an industry-wide quarterly cable TV survey released Tuesday.
The quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index report released Tuesday suggests consumers are generally becoming more satisfied with their cable TV companies, in particular the picture quality.
But Time Warner Cable’s scores declined 5%, the most of any provider. That gave Time Warner a 60 satisfaction rating on a scale of 100 in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a score of 63 in 2012, according to the report.
That’s not always the case. I speak from personal experience in fixing a problem with Stef’s cable.
The story starts a few weeks ago when Stef’s LG TV went from picture to blank! She tried all the things you’d normally do–cables, plugs, buttons, praying. Nothing worked.
What Stef didn’t know at the time was she was suffering one of the most vexing problems in tech–a failure hidden behind a feature.
I didn’t know either when I drove up yesterday to troubleshoot the problem.
No matter what we did, the input button would not change the input! As we’d later learn, that was the feature. I’ll explain in a minute.
I called LG’s support line. The very polite, very non-native English speaking agent said this problem would need to be dealt with by a technician. In other words, the TV was broken.
It was around this time I had my Eureka moment.
We have a TV at home with loads of inputs. To make it easier on the consumer you can’t click an input unless it’s getting a signal. If Stef’s TV wasn’t getting a signal from her cable box the input button would be useless, exactly the symptom we were seeing.
I carried another set in from her bedroom and plugged it into the cable box. No HDMI output. Blank screen!
The problem wasn’t the TV, it was the cable box!
It was the TV’s consumer friendly feature that kept us from seeing the problem wasn’t in the set. Why LG’s rep didn’t know this is a subject for another day.
I called Time Warner Cable. After moving through the voice prompts a human picked up on the second ring. He asked me the standard questions and after around thirty seconds said,
“I think you’re right.”
He told me to go to a TWC store where there would be notes on the account indicating we were good to go.
I am used to the Comcast hovel in New Haven. This was the antithesis. The TWC store at the Beverly Connection was new, warm and well staffed. At Comcast the agents sat behind Plexiglas, making a trip to their office feel like visiting day at prison. Here I was offered a bottle of water and some candy.
Stef signed in on the tablet near the door. Five minutes later we were done!
Our wait was short, their staff was friendly. I can’t fault Time Warner for a box failing after three years. There is nothing I could have wanted in the service I didn’t receive.
After I got back to Irvine, I received a text from Stef.
“Thank you again for fixing my lightbox. You’re a good Greg.¹”
That seems like fair pay for a day’s work. Thanks Time Warner Cable.
¹ – No, my name isn’t Greg. There’s a story behind being call Greg. You can read it here.