Thursday, August 24, 2017

Customer Service: A thing of the past?

Edward Versus Spectrum

Just what is customer service exactly and what does it entail precisely? Well the following definition provided by a Google search explains the following: 

cus·tom·er serv·ice

  1. the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

A search on the website turned up the following definition as well:

"All interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. Customer service adds value to a product and builds enduring relationship."


I know that proper and decent customer service is not something we are born with, but rather appropriate techniques are taught to us and over time we learn to refine our customer service skills.  We sharpen those skills to a much finer point when dealing with the public as sometimes, more often than not the public can be quite salty.  More salty than a bowl of Planter's peanuts.  I myself have worked in the field of customer service over the years and even I have had my bad days, but at the end of the day I have did what I could to keep the customer happy.  I knew that if I did not then more than likely those customers would not be returning. 


My very first job that took me into the realm of customer service was at the tender age of sixteen.  That would be around the year of 1996-1997.  My junior year in high school.  The company I worked for was known as Office Max in my hometown, which has now ceased operations after combining with Office Depot.  I only worked there for a short time as it was my first job but it gave me the experience I needed to go onto my next job.  The next place I worked for was Walgreens which of course everyone and their grandmother is more than familiar with.  I worked there until such time that I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to live with my grandfather, where once arriving there I went to work with him at a local grocery store where he served as the night manager.  

It was from my grandfather that I obtained my initial fondness for customer service and working in and around the general public.  I say fondness because not only did my grandfather instill in me a hearty work ethic but he also instilled in me a sense of pride and duty.  He also beat it into my head that if you DO NOT take care of the customers they WILL NOT return.  And he was correct in that regard.  We live in a country fortunately that grants us plenty of opportunities and choices aplenty.  If we patron a particular business and we are not treated well or to what we feel are our expectations, then there is nothing that states definitively that we have to patron that business or organization ever again.

However, and yes there is a however!  We are also within our rights to voice our complaint to the proprietors of the said business/organization if we feel that we have been treated unfairly.  It doesn't mean they will listen and many do not.  Most typically do as they try to maintain some standard of customer satisfaction, as they prefer to keep the customers rolling through the doors.  It looks a lot better to the board members or stockholders if the customer base numbers etc. remain high instead of low because customers are being chased away.


I'm sure you're asking yourself what I'm ranting about in this blog post.  Well friends I'll tell you.  Earlier this morning I went to Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner Cable) to pick up a wireless router after setting up Internet service over the telephone.  First to give you some perspective on the matter - I recently moved into a house with some friends (whom shall remain nameless for legal reasons).  Things didn't work out and two of them moved out.  Apparently the cable was left on and in the name of one of the two roommates' that moved out. Anyhoo - When I go down to the office this morning after setting up the service last night, the first lady sitting behind the desk (a young girl by the name of Tamara S.) tells me that I CANNOT HAVE the modem because there is a rather hefty bill.  To be exact the bill is $243.00 and some odd change that I don't remember.  Apparently when those two losers moved out they failed to return they equipment and so now Spectrum is considering the equipment stolen. 

To add insult to injury, the woman told me that if I want to get service at my home in my name I have to bring a copy of my lease which is not in my name but in my friend's name down to the office and in addition to that I have to provide proof these two wastes of human skin no longer live at the residence.  Even after the service is turned off for non-payment.  I informed the lady that these two clowns now live in another state and I have no idea where.  She then made a claim to me that if she tried to remove the old service from the address and gave me a modem she would be fired.  I asked to speak to her supervisor which she then called herself and we went round and round some more to sum it up.  In the meantime the young girl had a colleague (a woman by the name of Daria W.) who was sitting not far from her making random snide remarks, including a remark how I could go to AT&T where a lease was not required. 

After working in customer service myself for many years as I have I find this woman's behavior not only rude but completely unprofessional.  If I had been her supervisor and she had been working for me (As I have been in a supervisory position before) I would've told her to pick up her things, clock out and go home and not return for the rest of the week.  You DO NOT talk to nor treat customers the way I was treated this morning.  At this time I should also mention I had a witness who was sitting there on a bench in their  lobby watching all this play out.  


After she the young girl known as Tamara S. continued to make excuses why she could not help me, I informed her I was going to call her customer service while there and get them to assist me since she would not give me her supervisor's information (at least not at first) nor the information for the supervisor above her own supervisor.  I then went over to one of the benches they had in the lobby and calmly sat down and placed a call which she heard because my phone was on speaker.  The young lady then demanded to speak with the guy which I then obliged her and turned over my phone.  After Tamara spoke with the guy and explained her side of the story the guy then spoke with me and still took my side and then transferred me to someone else.  It was then that a resolution was finally reached. 


A gentleman and I regret I did not obtain his name so that I can give him proper kudos; between him and his supervisor they were supposedly able to override the local office and have a modem sent to my home address.  I reckon I will find out Monday when the modem arrives, if in fact I will be able to get Internet hooked up here at my home.  The gentleman on the phone stated he was making notations on the account now set up in my name, along with sending along a copy of the notes to his supervisor so that she could be fully aware even further of what else had taken place here at the local office.  He also informed me that the local office SHOULD NOT be able to interfere in the service being setup.  He also was quite dismayed when I informed him what Daria W. had informed me that I could just go to AT&T instead. 

For the record I did show the two ladies at the local office here a copy of the current electric bill by Entergy Texas with my name and address.  The gentleman on the phone informed me the utility bill was more than sufficient as he had checked with his supervisor to make sure that was more than acceptable.  So there it is as it stands.  These two ladies in the local office and whomever their supervisor were just trying to be difficult for no other reason I can think of than to get their jollies.   So by grace willing I will have broadband Internet come sometime Monday.  I will need it as well so I can get back to doing what I love and that is writing on my short stories as everything is stored in the cloud.  I will also need the broadband Internet to apply to my school of choice online.  

On a final note I would suggest if you live in one of Spectrum service areas, be wary of choosing them as a provider if you have other choices.  Unless you are comfortable ordering service through their website.  Perhaps you might have a different experience than my friend and I at your local office.  I know that even if I was on my deathbed and a single glass of water would cure me, I wouldn't go back to the local office here and ask these two women for a glass of water if it meant my survival.  I'd rather be dropped from a helicopter into a live volcano than deal with my local Spectrum office.  I also write this article from my own experience and from what I see as the dwindling down of customer service as an art form.  Yes I said customer service is a form of art.  And it can be if nurtured correctly.  As a business YOU need them (customers) more than they need YOU.  And as of lately it seems to me that satisfactory customer service is becoming harder and harder to come by.  Maybe its the profit motive that's behind the decline in the quality of service.

^The night before last though someone whom refused to identify himself and claiming to be calling from the corporate offices for Spectrum called from Pomona, California from a number of (909) 634-3244. He claimed that a complaint had been filed on my behalf because I had wanted to speak to someone at the corporate level.  This strange man who called late at night also claimed to have no knowledge of the emails I had sent to the media relations department, but that he was going to be looking out for those emails. He also stated he would look into the matter of what occurred regarding those ladies in the local store. Furthermore, this man went on to state that once I had displayed my Entergy Texas bill with my name and address, then that was more than sufficient to establish residency. He only echoed the same sentiment the gentleman on the telephone that had setup my service two or three days before had already stated.  Before the call ended I did try to obtain his name but he refused, instead informing me that if I wanted his name I would need to contact Spectrum's legal department.  I suppose in hi9ndsight I shouldn't have informed him that I was an independent writer and that I was writing a blog post about what happened and that I was planning on splashing it across the internet to warn people about the store here in orange, Texas.  Then perhaps maybe he would've given me his name.

And to think when I used to live in the northeast I complained about customer service from Comcast.  I think Spectrum has OFFICIALLY uprooted Comcast and taken the crown for "worst customer service ever." At the present moment Spectrum has a rather dismal rating on  Here shortly I'll be adding my own, fully detailing what happened this morning.  I'd go with AT&T but unfortunately they do not offer a faster speed than 5mbs in my area since I live in the country and Spectrum/Time Warner knows this and they take full advantage of that fact.  I believe it is high time that the FCC and FTC reign some of these powerhouse companies in regarding what I consider convenient price gouging.  Or as Tom Brokaw used to call it, "The Fleecing of America!" I'll post links at the bottom. 


Edward Alex Lively 

Brian Anderson - Director of Communications for the Texas Division
Contact Email -
Phone -  (817) 945-1833

^ = added in an extra paragraph.  

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