Customer service woes? Tweet and win!

It’s part of life in modern times: the dreaded appointment to get new cable and Internet service.

I say dreaded because this inevitably involves waiting for a technician who may arrive at any point within a two to six hour window, often toward the end of said window. (Talk about #firstworldproblems).

So, imagine my delight when the Time Warner Cable rep I spoke with said a technician would arrive on a Wednesday, “between 10 and 11 a.m.” I even got a warm and fuzzy feeling. “People in Cincinnati know their  stuff,” I told myself.

Wednesday arrives

10:55 a.m. I am not unduly concerned as the hour nears 11 a.m. I believe.

11:05 I begin to stop believing and call customer service. A polite woman says she’s sending messages to my technician and the dispatcher. Someone will call me within 30 minutes to let me know his “ETA.” I’ll be getting a $20 credit for the missed appointment.

11:35 I am a non-believer. Not a word from the technician. I call customer service again. Another polite woman allegedly sends messages to the technician and dispatcher again.

11:43 I find Time Warner Cable on Twitter: @TWCableHelp.

11:45 To my amazement, @TWCableHelp Tweets back. I send my phone number and a beautiful friendship begins.

12:05 I get a call from another customer service person who tells me I should “hear something” by 1 p.m. Steam begins to pour out of my ears.

12:09 I Tweet again. Keeping it classy, I restrain myself from asking, “Is there only one technician working today?”

12:23 This response features a word that brings me great comfort: “escalation.”

12:30 A technician calls to say he’s on the way. He is at great pains to let me know he’s not my original tech. He’s a contractor named Ben who turns out to be awesome.

12:36 My next Tweet to @TWCableHelp. Note the hashtag. I also send a “thank you” Tweet. I give credit where credit is due.

(My ordeal was not over. Ben had some challenges getting my service installed and running, due to a very odd pre-existing configuration of cables and wires. Still, he got the job done).

Say what?

The experience reaffirmed something I tell folks who say they don’t do social media: “There’s a conversation going on. Don’t you won’t to be part of it?” If you have a business, you certainly do want to be part of it. An August 2012 article from shows that a startling number of Fortune 500 companies do not use social media for customer service.

“Companies don’t understand that social media is not just a marketing vehicle. They aren’t realizing that there needs to be a brand execution discussion.”

In the case of Time Warner Cable, failing to be in the mix would mean thousands of frustrated customers Tweeting about you and getting angrier by the minute as they fail to get satisfaction. On Wednesday, I discovered that Time Warner has earned the wrath of customers all over the country. In fact, the folks behind a Twitter account called @TWClassAction favorited my initial Tweet of complaint.

Responses from @TWCableHelp tend to come quickly, and almost all begin with “our apologies.” Tweets include specific questions, suggestions, tips, and–as in my case–promises of action.

Being part of the conversation allows Time Warner Cable to see what customers are saying about its services and products. Just as important, the company can demonstrate its commitment to customer service in a way no commercial or press release could ever do.

I have no way of knowing if Time Warner Cable always keeps its promises. In my case, it (eventually) did.

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  1. Good thinking to check Twitter. I was amazed to discover (because it’s so rare not because isn’t an awesome hosting company) that when there was an outage and I went to their Twitter feed in the hopes of getting a response, they’d already tweeted both the source of the problem and their path to resolution. Not only that, but for urgent cases (it was a couple years ago during the Muse Online Writers Conference which is one week and only online) they moved the site up in the ranking. There are companies who have figured it out. Here’s hoping others will use the good ones as a model. (And yes, I went to check out your blog :D.)

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