Time Warner Cable asks customers for "loyalty" ideas but doesn't actually want to improve service

J. Christenbury blogs this hilarious exchange that occurred on Twitter between a Time Warner Cable marketing stooge and a customer who had real ideas:
@jeffTWC: Please RT: working on customer loyalty programs and would love your ideas/input - raffling an iTouch on Thurs to constructive suggestions jchristenbury @jeffTWC I have a whole handful, where do I send them? jchristenbury @jeffTWC I want to choose and pay for the channels I want. (I know this is not a TWC decision but TWC has the clout to push it) jchristenbury @jeffTWC I want the CS reps to listen when I tell them I have already rebooted my computer and its not on my end. #customerloyalty jchristenbury @jeffTWC I want a bill that I can understand that doesn't have cryptic misc. charges. I want to know what the charges are #customerloyalty jchristenbury @jeffTWC I want Higher internet speeds. the US has the lowest speeds of all. jeffTWC @jchristenbury Thanks for your tips here -- but we're not really addressing industry problems with this, just creating a marketing tool jchristenbury @jeffTWC These ARE things that will increase customer loyalty.
[via Consumerist]
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11 Responses to Time Warner Cable asks customers for "loyalty" ideas but doesn't actually want to improve service

  1. ANNE says:


    I have two computers and whenever (daily) I need to switch computers on the internet I have to call and have Time Warner reset the modem and whenever I have to do that it is a living hell to accomplish. Every time (and specifically the last two nights) I call in I get cut off repeatedly, tonight it was NINE TIMES and every time I call back I am getting more and more angry and then I have to go through their voice prompts and then whoever finally answers I have to tell them my name, my phone number, my address, my last four of my social and my email address, at which time I start to tell them what I need and I am very upset and then (after announcing that THEY VALUE ME AS A CUSTOMER) they proceed to lecture me on not being upset and being POLITE to them when I would be perfectly POLITE if they quit cutting me off. So tonight after nine calls and nearly losing my mind I got lectured by KEN twice about how I should be polite and no one bothers TO VALUE ME

    You call in and they cut you off repeatedly and then you lose it and then they hassle you about that instead of helping you get your computer connected.

    I was perfectly fine and sane and polite when I first called them but how many times do they think they can cut you off and then put you through the same rote information you have to give and never getting anywhere and trying to convince them YOU JUST NEED YOUR MODEM RESET but then they yammer on about other stuff and about how I’m not POLITE.

    THEY SHOULD BE FIRED, every damn one for tormenting someone who is just trying to get their service to work AT A VERY HIGH PRICE AND shouldn’t have to put up with being hassled and ridiculed when THEY KEEP CUTTING YOU OFF INSTEAD OF HELPING.



  2. christopher j marsh says:

    this is preposterous. who does jchristenbury think he is? some kind of king or rockstar or exalted ruler of some mysterious fantasy land where you get some kind of service that you pay for as advertised??

    this is america not north korea. wake up, commie.

  3. Tim Warner says:

    Clearly, Time Warner does not understand Twitter any better than they understand their customer. If you ran Time Warner, would YOU let someone with so little understanding of their social media or the cable industry be YOUR public voice? It’s hard to understand…

  4. Sean Eric FAgan says:

    Well, in his defense, he was asking for ideas about “customer loyalty programs.” Not ideas on how to improve their service.

    Of course, the proper response would have been to explain that, and then say “but I’ll try to pass those suggestions on to the right group.”

  5. JeffSimmermonTWC says:

    Thanks, @Sean Eric Fagan. And you’re right — I really could have handled that better. Email, IM, Twitter, blog comments — none of these have tone of voice, and it’s hard to put nuance and context into 140 characters.

    I’m coming back to work after a health-related absence, and should have been paying more attention to the other ways my tweets could be interpreted.

  6. EyeRonik1 says:

    jeff – I managed customer loyalty programs for a Fortune 500 company. I changed the job description to measuring customer satisfaction and propagating that data throughout the company. It’s a much more effective way to generate loyalty.

    Once you realize this, you’ll see that all of those questions are exactly what you should be gathering. Loyalty programs are rarely worthwhile, unless your business has low switching costs and many transactions; managing to customer satisfaction is rewarding and incredibly effective.

  7. dculberson says:

    Here’s an excellent idea for a customer loyalty program: offer free months every so often or discounts to your lowest introductory prices for long term customers.

    Sprint held onto me, a 10-year Nextel customer, by doing just that. I was totally ready to jump ship, and they kept our business by offering great prices and terms. We’re a business customer, but still only $200 – $300/month, not a huge corporate powerhouse.

    AT&T held onto us (despite misgivings) for land line service (8 lines) by giving us free months every 12 months and a better rate than new customers.

    Reward your loyal customers more highly than your new customers, and you’ll hold onto them. Offering discounts for “new customers only” screams “we don’t care about you” to your existing customers.

  8. zuzu says:

    Thanks for your tips here — but we’re not really addressing industry problems with this, just creating a marketing tool

    “Industry problems” meaning your fucking job as a service provider?

    “Just marketing”, spoken like a true government-granted monopoly, only interested in rent-seeking, not competitive profit-seeking.

    Well, in his defense, he was asking for ideas about “customer loyalty programs.” Not ideas on how to improve their service.

    Do people just suffer from cognitive dissonance problems, or what?

    Improving their service is the only real reason anyone would continue doing business with them.

    That’s what business is for! To keep your customers, you have to continually improve your product or service. (Just like, to keep your employees, you have to give them a raise every so often.) Oh how sweet it must be to have a government-granted monopoly and not actually have to adhere to the pressures market competition.

    We should expect a Moore’s Law for bandwidth. Every year, your bandwidth should double for the same price. If it’s 10Mbps today, next year it should be 20Mbps, and 40Mbps the following year, and 80Mbps three years from today.

  9. SuperMarina says:

    I’m a Time Warner customer in LA, and they’ve got my loyalty so long as their low introductory rate lasts…

    However, if I had reason to believe that staying with TW after the first six months would mean better service, more bandwidth, and better prices than switching to somebody else, then I might just keep the service.
    That is, if I can be reasonably sure that I won’t ever again have to make 7 phonecalls and spend a total of 11 hours on the line to explain to TW that the cable to my apartment has been cut on the ground floor, in the meantime managing to verify that not a single cs rep at the whole company knows even the most basic things about networking (such as what a wireless router is, that a computer can use a network without being physically connected, and that it is possible to measure the incoming signal), and then waiting another 4 days for a tech to come reconnect the broken cable (I ended up doing it myself; it only took 15 minutes to explain to the neighbour why I needed access to his coat closet and he only flinched a little at the sight of the cable pliers).
    I would also like TW to stop calling to pester me about buying their overprices phone services that I don’t need and don’t want, and it would be really nice if their paperless billing didn’t include at least two paper bills each month plus a minimum of one weekly letter nagging about those useless phone services I still don’t need and other “services” I really don’t care to even read about, much less pay for.

    Oh, yes, it would also be nice to really have the bandwidth that I pay for, but I know this is asking way too much…

  10. Grimnir says:

    All good ideas that would improve service and by extension, loyalty. It’s not what he was asking, but hey, if you talk in marketing jargon don’t be surprised if you get literal responses. Of course, those responses are what Time Warner Cable should actually focus on, but obviously it’s hard to turn around a giant evil government-sponsored monopoly that consistently screws over its customers, its employees, the communities it does business in, and ultimately, its shareholders.

    That being said, and since Jeff is in the room, a loyalty program that is simple and unconfusing will work best. The first problem is your bills are stupid and have all kinds of meaningless charges that really tell me that you’re a bunch of liars and cheats in all of your advertising and will screw me over at the earliest opportunity. Loyalty is frankly entirely out of the question, because your company is pure unadulterated evil, but if you can make sure your service is cheaper and better I’ll stay with you.

    My suggestion– an extra $1 off every month you’re with the service, capping out a bit below your lowest introductory rate. Absolutely nothing that I have to fiddle with, no specific plans that qualify, no hassles of any kind, and make damn sure I don’t have to call customer service about anything related to it. Don’t make me think to use the program, I don’t have time or energy for dealing with your crappy bureaucracy, and capitalizing on that fact to make the program cheaper just makes me and everyone else HATE YOU.

  11. jjasper says:

    @ JeffSimmermonTWC – your problem wasn’t tone, it was phrasing. There’s no tone of voice that would have fixed what you said. All you needed to say was “Thanks for the suggestions”. If you felt a need you could have said “I’m just making a list right now, pls contact CS if you’ve got immediate concerns” .


    “Thanks for the suggestions. I’m just making a list right now, pls contact CS if you’ve got immediate concerns” is under the 140 character limit. I used to work in customer serice for an online company, and leaned how to write these sort of responses off the cuff when needed.

    How is it again that you’re employed, while I’m laid off?

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