After more than 15 years of utilizing the fine, upstanding services of my cable provider, the latest outage debacle drove me over the edge. It was the final straw. It broke the camel's back. It was the end of the line. The final nail in the coffin. And other metaphors that indicate just how pissed off I was.
Here's what transpired:
Sunday 9:00am - All cable services go out. Every box in the Blog-Bunker™ is suddenly unable to connect. I initiate a web-chat with a representative on the well-designed support website (that's sarcasm - finding customer support is roughly akin to a Where's Waldo). The rep indicates that indeed, there is an outage in the area.
Sunday 9:00pm - Still assuming the neighborhood is experiencing an outage, all of the cable boxes remain dead.
Monday 6:00pm - Return from work. Cable is still out. Now questioning whether this is a neighborhood outage. I ask a neighbor if they are experiencing any issues. Nope. There's been no outage at all on our street. The web-chat representative "feedback" was completely bogus.
Monday 8:30pm - After at least four separate calls to, and web chats with, customer service -- and several escalations with "managers" -- the fastest anyone can get to our neighborhood is... wait for it... eight (8) days from now. I believe cable repair service at Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad was faster. We put in our request, with the oh-so-fine-grained repair window of sometime, eight days from now. Despite several threats to cancel service, no earlier date was offered.
Monday 8:55pm - After ruminating on the conversations with "customer service", I've decided I've had enough. After more than 15 years of various debacles, this is finally the last straw. I decide that I no longer deserve the luxurious, 12-star customer service offered by the cable company.
Monday 9:03pm - I call the customer cancellation line. After a short delay; I am told that... wait for it... canceling service can only be accomplished prior to 8:30pm or after 9:00am. Can I put a name in a queue to be called on my cell when they open in the morning? The rep almost laughs in my face. Aren't government-regulated monopolies super?
Tuesday 12:25am - I get an agent, who tells me that her phone system is acting up and she can't access my information because she's in the wrong region of the country to service the account. Perfect. She says they've been having phone system routing problems -- do tell? -- and she will transfer me to the correct queue.
Tuesday 12:28am - The new rep, who I believe is speaking into a diving mask, says that she can't perform any transactions at the moment. The systems, it would seem, are down, and she is unable to make changes. I will have to call back. Is there an estimated time that the systems will be back up? I'll give you one guess and "yes" isn't it.
Tuesday 07:05pm - I enter the cancellation queue; and, as you might expect, they're not going to make it easy to cancel services.
Tuesday 07:29pm - After 15 minutes, I am able to convince the very nice customer retention specialist that I really do want to quit the cable service. Amazingly, they can schedule the home visit and shutdown this coming SUNDAY within a 1-HOUR WINDOW.
Stunning. They can show up within a 1-hour window on a Sunday to turn the service off. To fix something? Not so much.
I did a quick, back-of-the-napkin estimate and discovered that I've probably spent about $36,000 with the company over the last 15 or so years. So the lifetime value of a typical customer is significant.
In fact, the company should call their "customer service" area the "customer annoyance" department, because I missed out on the actual "service" part and they seem to treat customers as a bother than anything else.
I'm interested in your opinions. Am I the one being unreasonable here?
Now I ask you: can you imagine the customer service you'll get from the government-run healthcare system after Obamacare takes hold? Imagine the DMV the Social Security Office, only without the peppy and motivated employees. Faceless, nameless bureaucrats will be providing "customer service" and, thanks to civil service and public sector unions, firing a bad employee will require an Act of Congress.
When Obamacare is finished rolling out, there won't be any insurance companies left. A company forced to cover a pre-existing condition is somewhat akin to a home insurer having to cover a house after it's been set afire. Whatever you may call it, it's not insurance.
I have seen the future of health care: it's like cable customer service, only with your family's life at stake.