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View Poll Results: Check everything that applies to you.
When my service doesn't work, I call billing instead of technical support. 1 2.94%
I pay the "monthly rate" as opposed to the "balance due" on my bill. 2 5.88%
I believe that the cable company is responsible for what program is on every channel. 1 2.94%
I blame the cable company for my computer problems even though they did not build my computer. 1 2.94%
I complain when my 6-month promotion ends after 6 months. 4 11.76%
I ignore the print on my bill that says that I cannot dispute charges after 60 days. 2 5.88%
I don't understand what a minus sign means. 2 5.88%
I don't keep the paperwork that proves that I returned my expensive equipment. 2 5.88%
I tell the expert technical service representative how to fix my technical problem. 8 23.53%
I listen to the billing and technical service departments and pay my bill on time. 30 88.24%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-20-2009, 10:43 PM   #1
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Are you a stupid [cable] customer? (BEWARE: sarcasm)

Currently, I work in customer service. I am lucky to have a job in this economy, but the sad fact is that my job would not be essential if my company's client's customers were not complete idiots.

Allow me to explain. As an outsource* call center representative, my company seeks out clients who want to pay less for essential staff. I work for a nationwide cable-internet-phone service provider's campaign, meaning that I get paid less than their associates but I have to do a better job to keep my job. There are a lot of reasons why they don't want to do their own job, but I've concluded that sheer annoyance and a sense of hate for their own paying customers is the primary reason. Their* prices and regional policies are clear evidence of this.

These feelings may be justified. Their customers who actually call into customer service are overwhelmingly stupid. This is a level of stupid that I only believed existed in dealerships. In order to become this dumb, I'm under the impression that some of these customers' parents are responsible. These customers seem to eat asbestos chips with lead paint. This is the level of idiocy that regularly makes its way to my headset-wired computer.

Don't be ashamed if you turn out to be one of the many fools who keep the likes of me employed. If you didn't call, we would not have the jobs of explaining the obvious to you. That is what brings me the bill.

Read the poll and check everything that applies to you.

*outsource—a company hired another company (not necessarily overseas) to do their job because my company can do it for less; I do not work for the company that I say I do on the phone
**their—not my responsibility since I represent the company even though I do not work for them; I will not identify the company because you never know who is listening

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Old 11-20-2009, 10:49 PM   #2
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I used to work as a rep at DirecTV we got the same thing
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:50 PM   #3
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stupid is me having to pay $66 a month for JUST cable internet...
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:54 PM   #4
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Poll?

EDIT: nevermind
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Camaro_Corvette View Post
Poll?

EDIT: nevermind
It was hard to express some of these situations in less than 100 characters on the first try.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:56 PM   #6
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It was hard to express some of these situations in less than 100 characters on the first try.
I figured that was the problem!
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:08 PM   #7
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I really wanted to check "I complain when my 6-month promotion ends in 6 months." We (my hubs and I) think it's crappy that loyal customers who have been paying their bills on time for years can't get deals like this, yet Joe Blow, whose 6 month Dish Network deal just expired can call up DirecTV and get another 6 month deal. There, I complained.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 5thGenCamaroChick View Post
I really wanted to check "I complain when my 6-month promotion ends in 6 months." We (my hubs and I) think it's crappy that loyal customers who have been paying their bills on time for years can't get deals like this, yet Joe Blow, whose 6 month Dish Network deal just expired can call up DirecTV and get another 6 month deal. There, I complained.
I agree. Loyal customers should get to the top of the list. If you have a very serious problem with your bill and threaten to leave, we will generally send you to our retention, service changes, disconnects, or saves department. This department is responsible for keeping customers. If you specifically request them, we have to do what you ask. A supervisor in billing cannot help you with promotions for most companies. Call the division that disconnects unhappy customers, and you might get a new promotion. I've seen people get 75% off their whole bill this way.

I will also point this out. Despite my complete lack of loyalty to my company, I am informed. Satellite companies do offer very good service when installed properly, but it is really hard to compete with the quality of a direct signal that goes into your cable box or TV. It is also worth noting that satellite companies have to pay for a satellite in space. As a result, they tend to hide their promotions even more questionably than sketchy cable companies. For example, they may offer a 3-month promotion but will require you to sign a 2-year contract. In the long haul, your bill will usually be cheaper with cable service. Add to that the cost of the channels. In order to do this, you need a channel guide from every company you are considering and the full price, not the promotional price, of each package. Usually, cable companies offer lots of HD for free and more channels that you'll actually watch. Have you noticed that cable companies never tell you how many channels they have? They usually have over 20 music channels, over 60 regular channels, over 30 premium channels, and over 100 digital channels. When you add those together, you'll find yourself enjoying more programming with cable. I don't even like my cable company, and I think the pricing sucks, but they're better than the space-based alternative.

Get the cheaper full price package, regardless of how much the promotion saves you. A lot of times, people will get Starz for a couple of months for free, but they will start getting charged full price, angrily calling customer service to demand why their bill increased. "You added Starz on promotion, and that promotion expired. That is why your bill increased." If you don't want it, then don't get it on promotion. If you do want it, learn the full price before you ever consider the promotional price.

Finally, I'll add that almost every cable-internet-phone bundle is a terrible deal. You'll only end up saving $10 per month, which adds up over time, but you may have a phone line that costs more than $10 that you will never lose. Stupid customers fall for this all the time. They want the service trifecta thinking that they will save money. It only saves you money if you actually need all 3 services. If you don't need something, don't pay for it.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:59 AM   #9
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We had a cable/internet/phone bundle. When we bought our 50" HDTV we wanted to use Monster HDMI cables to get the best possible picture. The cable box had an HDMI port but it was "closed". I called the cable company and asked if they could open it and they wouldn't. They said they had bought a bulk of component cables and had to use them. I told them I didn't expect them to pay for my HDMI cable, but they still wouldn't do it. Soo, we switched to Dish Network and kept the phone/internet through the cable company. Eventually we decided having cell phones and a land line was redundant so we turned off the home phone. At that point our internet bill went through the roof. Our internet service alone was more expensive than internet/phone together. The cable company wouldn't lower it so we went with a different company. Point of the story: I don't see how these companies turn a profit doing business like that.

BTW, thanks for the tips.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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I voted for them all because I don't know what the hell the cable company even does.

I just pay my bill and take the abuse.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:09 AM   #11
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I voted for them all because I don't know what the hell the cable company even does.

I just pay my bill and take the abuse.


I don't have cable/satelite/anything for that matter. I voted based on my experience with other kinds of tech support.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:27 AM   #12
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I'm a Tightwad. I don't even watch or pay for cable... its mainly for the wife. We use over the air HDTV antennas to capture free TV. We watch alot of the same shows everyone else does and if its not on the antenna we just use the internet card to watch programming on Hulu.com. I recommend people go read a book or turn a wrench.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:38 AM   #13
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I tend to usually tell technical support what to do to fix the problem.. and 80% of the time it works lol.. My porblems usually consist around not getting the speeds I am paying for and guaranteed which really upsets me.

It's funny when I talk to tech support and they say i have viruses on my PC which is causing the slow speeds.... even moments after reformatting to Vista 64bit or windows 7 64bit..

PS. I work as an IT Desktop Support and Network Administrator.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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First being put on hold for an hour before getting to speak to someone ticks most people off, that and having a technical problem or billing problem and they are in a bad mood to begin with....

I have found out that 90% of tech support people know nothing technical.. they read it of a check sheet and if that don't fix the problem they are lost...
I usually know what is wrong before they do and I will right off tell them what is wrong and they still insist at starting from the very first step.(stuff I have already tried).. 45 minutes later if I am lucky they will get to the part I told them about in the beginning..
9 times out of 10 it will fix the problem... (usually it is something on their end that need fixing, not on mine)
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:05 PM   #15
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I used to work in customer service during my high school and college years. I can say that people want everything done for them nowadays. If something doesn't turn on, do they have the common knowledge to check if the freakin power cord is plugged in? No! People don't understand that customer service is customer service, not customer slavery!!!
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:44 PM   #16
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None. Due in part to my 4-movie-at-a-time unlimited Netflix plan and the internet, I don't have cable OR satellite tv. I live in the country so I can't get cable here, and I rent the tv seasons I'm interested in from Netflix. If I need news or weather I get it online.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyman 08 View Post
First being put on hold for an hour before getting to speak to someone ticks most people off, that and having a technical problem or billing problem and they are in a bad mood to begin with....

I have found out that 90% of tech support people know nothing technical.. they read it of a check sheet and if that don't fix the problem they are lost...
I usually know what is wrong before they do and I will right off tell them what is wrong and they still insist at starting from the very first step.(stuff I have already tried).. 45 minutes later if I am lucky they will get to the part I told them about in the beginning..
9 times out of 10 it will fix the problem... (usually it is something on their end that need fixing, not on mine)
A lot of us do not know enough to do our jobs. We do what we are expected to do, and then we send out someone more technically inclined to actually help you at your place.

They don't have a choice but to troubleshoot according to the sheet or guide. We can lose our jobs if we don't follow standard operating procedures, also known as quality guidelines. Even if you claim to know the problem, we have to go through the motions. If we don't, we might not be working there for very long. It sucks, and that's why I'm working on getting out of this position as quickly as possible.

There are 2 reasons why we do this. The cable company wants to save money. If we send out a technician for every technical problem, I guarantee you that you will have to wait longer for a technician, and your bill will go up. You will have to wait longer for a tech to come out because half of these issues can be resolved over the phone, including simply plugging in the equipment. If we had to send someone to drive 20 minutes or more to your place to plug a DVR into a TV, then someone who actually needs the help will have to wait longer. You will also call again, making the company pay for an agent to talk to you. Why will you call again? You'll call because the tech will bill you for coming out. I'm happy to bill you for sending out a technician when you refuse to let me do my job, and I'll be happy to not credit you when you call later disputing the charges. If I can do it, you can do it, and most people are too lazy to do it. We want to keep our jobs This is another reason why we follow obvious and redundant procedures for making sure that your cable works. If we don't do these procedures, the quality assurance department will give us low scores for failing to do our jobs. Enough low scores causes us to get written up by our supervisors and eventually fired. As much as we hate our jobs, we don't want to live on the streets.

You may know what the problem is, but any good agent will probably not listen to you. We hear about these problems every single day, and you've only had that same problem a couple of times at best. Let us fix your problem or we'll be happy to charge you or put you on hold for a supervisor who will tell you that you should have listened to us. Don't tell us how to do our jobs. You wouldn't like it either.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:08 PM   #18
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stupid is me having to pay $66 a month for JUST cable internet...
+1
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:10 PM   #19
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i worked for one of the 2 local cable companies here for a bit. In short you are right, they way they bill, service etc customers is beyond dumb. We lost a ton of customers to sat or the other company b/c they have better service and keep customers happy with price. In this economy it seemed to me that people were worried about price and service 2nd, which we pretty much sucked, unless we were running some kind of campaign. We even called about 30k customers offering up to 200 bucks cash back to just get people back.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:10 PM   #20
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Well, I have both cable TV service AND Internet service and have had both for very long time. I recently built a house in a new part of my subdivision, and for the first couple of weeks after we got into our house, we had problems with the internet connection, BUT, the problem was intermitten, the BANE of troubleshooting.......being in maintenance, I know this, ESPECIALLY, with electronic or electrical problems......The SAME tech gay came out everytime and worked very hard, even gave me his personal cell number if I had a problem........HE found the problem, and have never had a problem since. GOOD Tech Support is worth it wieght in gold, and is usually under paid for doing the job they do, much like our men in Uniform, both domestic and orver seas.
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:45 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by The_Blur View Post
A lot of us do not know enough to do our jobs. We do what we are expected to do, and then we send out someone more technically inclined to actually help you at your place.

They don't have a choice but to troubleshoot according to the sheet or guide. We can lose our jobs if we don't follow standard operating procedures, also known as quality guidelines. Even if you claim to know the problem, we have to go through the motions. If we don't, we might not be working there for very long. It sucks, and that's why I'm working on getting out of this position as quickly as possible.

There are 2 reasons why we do this. The cable company wants to save money. If we send out a technician for every technical problem, I guarantee you that you will have to wait longer for a technician, and your bill will go up. You will have to wait longer for a tech to come out because half of these issues can be resolved over the phone, including simply plugging in the equipment. If we had to send someone to drive 20 minutes or more to your place to plug a DVR into a TV, then someone who actually needs the help will have to wait longer. You will also call again, making the company pay for an agent to talk to you. Why will you call again? You'll call because the tech will bill you for coming out. I'm happy to bill you for sending out a technician when you refuse to let me do my job, and I'll be happy to not credit you when you call later disputing the charges. If I can do it, you can do it, and most people are too lazy to do it. We want to keep our jobs This is another reason why we follow obvious and redundant procedures for making sure that your cable works. If we don't do these procedures, the quality assurance department will give us low scores for failing to do our jobs. Enough low scores causes us to get written up by our supervisors and eventually fired. As much as we hate our jobs, we don't want to live on the streets.

You may know what the problem is, but any good agent will probably not listen to you. We hear about these problems every single day, and you've only had that same problem a couple of times at best. Let us fix your problem or we'll be happy to charge you or put you on hold for a supervisor who will tell you that you should have listened to us. Don't tell us how to do our jobs. You wouldn't like it either.
What ever happened to learning to do more than what is expected? just doing enough to get by isn't good enough any more...

maybe you should read what the term CUSTOMER SERVICE means

Quote:
Definition of Customer Service
Customer service is often seen as an activity, performance measurement and a philosophy. That is why generally speaking, one single customer service definition does not exist.


Here are some definitions of customer service in use today:

"Customer service is the ability to provide a service or product in the way that it has been promised"

"Customer service is about treating others as you would like to be treated yourself"

"Customer service is an organization's ability to supply their customers' wants and needs"

"Customer Service is a phrase that is used to describe the process of taking care of our customers in a positive manner"

"Customer Service is any contact between a customer and a company, that causes a negative or positive perception by a customer"

"Customer service is a process for providing competitive advantage and adding benefits in order to maximize the total value to the customer"

"Customer Service is the commitment to providing value added services to external and internal customers, including attitude knowledge, technical support and quality of service in a timely manner"

"Customer service is a proactive attitude that can be summed up as: I care and I can do."
Does that sound like the Customer Service the cable company gives??
In your little speech I see nothing but concern for yourself and the cable company and not the customer...
For one Don't Assume everyone is too dumb not to be able to hook up a cable or plug in a box.. there are some very smart people in the world.. learn to ask the right questions and do not keep insisting on the person trying things when he tells you he has already done it.. LISTEN to the customer... geesh is that so hard??
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:17 PM   #22
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I worked computer customer support for 4 years. i've learned that mostly realtors don't know their majordomo list at all.... and lawyers are also the not so smart ones when it comes to computer or general knowledge other then their profession..

i've had everything from "my cupholder broke" (cd rom drive) to "i tried to pay a bill online by sticking my credit card in the slot on the computer".... idiot put their credit card in the floppy drive..

all i have to say is , thank god for the mute button...

also, to the above poster.... it's hard to listen to the customer when the customer won't listen to you..

everyone wants to think they know what the problem is and when a support specialist tells the customer what to do to fix the problem there is almost always resistence...

like I said, thank god for a mute button.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:30 AM   #23
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I worked as an Instrument and Electrical Mechanic and as an Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering Technician for 32 years. 15 years of that I worked troubleshooting electrical and electronic problems..

What is your background in troubleshooting?
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:10 AM   #24
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Good for you for being born 20+ years before me, i'll have you cookies baked and your prunes cleaned in a half an hour...

The topic isn't on electrical troubleshooting, it's computer and cable tv connection troubleshooting by PHONE

You have no phone call center experience from what you've told me, dealing with people in person is way different then dealing with them over the phone, for some reason when people call on the phone they think that it's the technician's fault that they are talking to... I can understand the stresses the OP is going through...
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:53 AM   #25
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i can't wait til AT&T gets done installing their cable network here... JUST for internet with Comcast is $60 a month!! for $10-15 a month difference i'd switch to AT&T...
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