Complaints Work! Time Warner Cable Exec Fired After An Avalanche of Customer Complaints

Bye, Roger Keating head of Time Warner’s SoCal regional office since 2003. You’ve been fired because Time Warner Cable sucks and its your fault. From The LA Times:

Roger Keating, head of Time Warner’s regional office since 2003, was done in by an avalanche of complaints about Internet and e-mail outages, TV channel lineup changes and pressure to sign up for digital service. Customers were most annoyed by maddeningly long — and sometimes futile — waits to reach a human by phone.

They have a tall order ahead in repairing strained relations with customers and winning back the more than 10,000 people who have canceled their subscriptions since October.

“I’ve given up calling them,” said John Toal of Culver City, who owns a photo business that went 10 days without Internet service last month. “I can’t stand staying on hold for an hour and a half.”

An hour an a half?! Jesus tap-dancing…. No wonder he got fired.—MEGHANN MARCO

Time Warner Cable exec ousted over poor service [LA Times] (Thanks, LMS!)
(Photo: snofla)

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  1. healthdog says:

    A truly historic day. *sniff*

  2. Bourque77 says:

    So who did they replace him with? I’m just wondering who they are going to blame next time.

  3. Havok154 says:

    Now if we could get someone better running Comcast I’d be happy. The quality of service is the most inconsistant piece o’ crap ever. Everyone that I know with comcast say the same thing.

  4. RPG-Advocate says:


    Last year, when I had a problem with my Road Runner service, I waited on hold for over an hour. Apparently, this was so common that a couple weeks after the incident, I got a letter from Time Warner essentially saying, “Sorry you had to wait on hold so long. We’re cleaning up our act, really! Here are some coupons for your trouble.” The coupons were for some random places around town. Sounds like their pledge to clean up their act on hold times was baseless.

    I’m not really inclined to cancel my subscription, though. Problems are infrequent and once I actually get through, customer service is good.

  5. Meatloaf says:

    Roger Keating is a very smart man – and a disciplined executer when it comes to getting things done. He rode the wave of the dot com boom in the late 90′s by founding Zatso.com and getting millions in venture capital http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BDW/is_5_41/ai… When he joined Time Warner Cable, he rode the wave of satellite customers balking and going to cable for their combined services (video, internet, and now phone) from 2003 forward. Now, I would keep tabs on what Roger does next because it might be a good indicator of the next big trend of a successful industry.

    Cable TV companies are already starting to feel the pinch in video distribution though IPTV provided by the phone companies AT&T and Verizon – and now they have new competition in town for providing internet WiMAX… I posted the following article I found in an earlier Comcast blog that announces that Sprint is coming to Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin with WiMAX.

    http://www.intomobile.com/2007/03/14/woohoo-texas-to-be-am

    Good for Roger for getting out before the upcoming period of gloom for the cable TV companies. Let’s see what he does next.

  6. shiftless says:

    I’m changing my service in a month when a competitor finally comes to town.

  7. Kryndis says:

    I kind of doubt the complaints actually had much to do with it. My guess is the “the more than 10,000 people who have canceled their subscriptions since October” had a larger effect.

    Let this be a lesson, don’t just say you’re going to cancel your service when you have problems, actually do it. They pay attention to that.

  8. kalikidtx says:

    TWC has terrible equipment and terrible customer service, but it doesnt matter all cable companies seem the same. Comcast also sucked, and so did Adelphia. NO one seems to offer decent cable solutions in SoCal…

  9. soulbarn says:

    I just had a TWC guy over for service in my Los Angeles home. He did a great job – but he left a dictionary-sized piece of equipment – some kind of digital testing device that seems to be able to program different levels of service (though I’d be at a loss on how to do it, even if he’d also left a battery charger.) I called the guy – I knew his cell phone, because he called me to get in, and I noted the caller ID (and saw him talking to me through the window.) I figured he’d want the equipment back. But when he answered, he told me he was done for the day, hadn’t left any equipment, and had no idea how I’d return it.

    Given the utter crappiness of TWC’s phone customer service – holds of over an hour, often, answered by beleagured and often dismissive reps – I’m loathe to actually spend that kind of time trying to give the thing back. I see TWC trucks on my block often enough to wait, I suppose. Maybe one of their installers could use the thing.

  10. @RPG-Advocate: “Last year, when I had a problem with my Road Runner service, I waited on hold for over an hour. “

    When I was with Road Runner, I found it remarkably effective to write a nasty letter to the local office and cc it to every grand high poobah at corporate, and to include the statement that if they couldn’t provide adequate customer service, I would also cease doing business with their sister companies also held by Time Warner, including (long list).

    The local office always jumped right to it, because they’re fairly small … and they don’t want corporate coming down on them over that letter.

  11. royal72 says:

    good old twc. i used to work for them and this does not surprise me at all. the problem is that the corporate attitude is “we hold a monopoly and so who cares”. they also know that the competition has the exact same attitude, so they routinely “trade” customers. it’s pretty much an unspoken agreement.

    which brings us to the attitude of the general employee and why i left the company. it’s a 9 to 5, it’s busy work to get a paycheck, because tomorrow it’ll be the same thing and corporate doesn’t care. if the numbers are a little low we do more local advertising/marketing to get customers to switch from satellite/internet/phone and bring up the subscriber base. step and repeat.

    the only incentive to do anything above and beyond, is to move up the ladder, make more money, and start telling others to do the busy work. this is how it is, why nobody really cares, why you wait on hold for 30 minutes, and why nothing changes.

  12. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    The main problem with these places is they are usually a monopoly, if a cable company is the only game in town, they just don’t have the same motivation to provide good service, since you don’t have a choice in many cases. The best thing to come along is the phone companies offering DSL and even TV cable on their lines, which locally has really lit a fire under our cable company to offer more speeds and keep prices in line since they have to compete.

    As previously mentioned, it was the 10,000 subscribers lost that got the exec fired, not the amount of complaints. In a corporate environment, complaints can be shuttered away, but not a loss in numbers of subscribers which is closely tied to performance for executives. If people just complained to a CSR and kept paying, little would have changed.

    Also about hold times, that software they use monitors the average hold time, they know that people are waiting on hold for how long during what shift. I am sure it was ignored since new staffing takes away from a departmental budget and they usually won’t hire new staff unless they have to.

    On a positive note, if you really want to make a change at a place like a cable company, visit you local news channels (don’t call, go down there, you’ll be surprised at how receptive they are). Find a producer or reporter about this and see if they will do a story on it. For one, watch local news and see the stories they do, it’s usually a cat rescued from a tree or some person who didn’t get their rent deposit back from a landlord. A chance to do a story on a large company might just get thier interest. Of course since their channel is carried by the local cable company, it might be a problem. Still, most reporters are very eager to make a name for themselves and if it’s an important story, and the channel doesn’t have a special relationship with the cable carrier (like if they don’t cut into CNN at times to do local things) then you’ve got a good chance. Even the local paper would probably love a chance at something like that since they likely don’t have any fear of retaliation.

    Jason Isaksen

  13. DudeAsInCool says:

    Hour long waits aren’t unusual – what’s worse is when you get disconnected while waiting, and then have to start the process all over again – and half the time they switch you to NY customer service, and then back again to LA.

    Not too long ago some idiot at TWC actually disconnnected my service instead of fixing the problem I called about. It’s a mess. And, they want to charge me more than Comcast charged me.

    How the hell did the FCC allow one monopoly to sell to another and what did consumers gain by it?

  14. whatanightmare says:


    TWC was my worst nightmare! We experienced sporadic internet service on a daily basis. Practically every person I spoke to (customer service, supervisors, area managers) provided one excuse after the other with no resolve. I actually had a customer service supervisor suggest I seek internet service from Sprint. He stated that since I was the only customer experiencing this problem in my area, my account was of no importance and losing it would hardly make a difference to TWC extensive customer base. Wow!

    Finally, after days and hours upon hours of hold time….I got results. How???? I filed a complaint with the BBB, the Franchise Authority and every single department accessible on their website and made a point to mention I had done so at every opportunity. The problem was fixed! I must say, the crew that finally repaired the problem are the best. Professional, polite and efficient.

  15. Ubetcha says:

    I heard consumer reporter Joel Grover at KNBC in LA was considering doing a story on TW’s sh** service and outrageous charges. I think Joel’s email address is found on KNBC’s site so email him & tell him your horror story. I’m still amazed at how disastrous TW’s takeover has been, I’ve literally NEVER had such horrible service from the hour plus on-hold wait times to the completely clueless and rude TW customer service reps. It’s hilarious that Adelphia had 1000% better service while they were bankrupt and their CEO was doing a perp walk for the cameras. You gotta be pretty lame to be the biggest media company in the world and get your butt kicked by a company in the slammer

  16. rrstinks says:

    Speaking as an it professional with close to 13 years of extensive experience in a wide spectrum of the industry, from hardware/software service, to system administration, network administration, web development, and have focused for a number of years on IT security.

    I had road runner broadband service installed in my residence in the middle of april 2007. the installer informed me at that time, that there were issues resulting from the recent storms, and speeds were around 100kb, as opposed to 2-3 mbit.
    after a week, and still speeds at or below 100kb, i attempted to contact support. the installer had never left any paperwork, not even an account number. The online support was less than helpful, and refused to talk to me.
    After several attempts, i was finally able to get online support to assist me. Several more contacts, and the issue was escalated, and agreed that there was a problem, although it was denied that there had been a problem in this area.
    I spoke with a level 3 engineer, and he agreed there was an issue. A tech was scheduled. He arrived and told me, that there were still problems in this area. And that speeds were still in the 100kb range. But mysteriously and miraculously, the speeds jumped while he was here to over 2.3mbit. That speed stayed for a few days, then dropped back to where it had been. This issue has dragged on and on and is going on a month.

    To me it is unbelievable that there can be such a lack of communication, and denial that there is a problem. This area is experiencing an enormous amount of latency, and then mysteriously it goes away, but then returns. The level 3 engineer admitted that there were some hops that were having problems, but almost a month, and its worse than ever. My last speedtest, at the request of an rr tech, produced a result of 35kbit…slower than dialup. this is not a problem? I have continuous scans coming from rr customers, and needless to say, all of my computers are heavily secured, including preventing the scans that rr does on its customers. While that is understandable in the prevention of illegal file sharing. were there a problem at my location, the speeds would not burst at rare points nor would they be sustainable, and the latencies drop to normal within the route

    at this point, i feel that there are several dialup providers that could provide me with more bandwidth than i am receiving right now. Waiting 10-15 seconds for google to load is almost laughable.

    i am a very patient person, but this has passed the point of being ludicrous. from scouring the blogs, and consumer sounding boards, there seem to be a lot of problems that “dont exist” I have multiple computers on my internal network, and this bandwidth problem is consistent with the connection state at any given time. The throughput on one machine is within a tolerance of a few kbit. i am at my wits end with this, and need a reliable connection. I have accumulated a large number of speedtests, including dusting off my bandwidth logging/monitor that collects statistics on throughput.
    This is a simple problem it would seem, but one that i am getting no results with. Perhaps posting this identical post on every blog and consumer sounding board that i come across, as well as urging other mistreated customers to do, may in fact jolt road runner into a proactive action

    im including a few speedtest results as well
    all from speedtest.net
    the timewarner speed test was even slower.

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/125098441.png
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/125125713.png
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/125124802.png
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/125115335.png

    this one was quite interesting, as it was done approximately 2 minutes after i received an inbound dns query to my honeypot, from level3 net , one of the slow pokes in the route
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/125119674.png
    so if these and the many more that i have are not indicative of a serious problem in the service, then i must be ready for the men in the white suits.

  17. Muldrin says:

    Well Time Warner and Comcast…Verizon is working hard bringing in Fios (fiber optics) internet to your neighborhood. Granted, like cable it may take awhile. But, offering blazing speeds for less money with 4 times the upload speeds for starters will definetly cut into your customer bases. Your backs are forced to the wall by a competitor who you can’t compete against. Copper has it’s limits and money talks. Fios uses the speed of light. So, get with it in a hurry or become extinct….. think about it!

  18. cemusze says:

    More people need to be fired. I was still officially an adelphia consumer. I just called and asked what the difference would be to change from 4 movie packages to 2. the representative changed my package without approval and then proceeded to change my rates without my approval
    now i am paying 10 dollars more a month for 2 less movie pacakges.

    i am cancelling

  19. gdidieu says:

    The qauality of service has yet to improve in the Buena Park/Anaheim area since this incident.

    I seriously wish they deregulated all this mess and multiple cable companies were available to choose from in the area rather than just 1 cable company for internet & cable television bundles.

  20. barbmohr says:

    TWC is the absolute worst company I have ever dealt with. New to the area, we have had TWC for only 3 months yet needed service 4 times for our digital phone service. Each time I called customer service I have been on hold for over 30 minutes. Today I asked to speak to a manager, and after being on hold for over 30 minutes, THEY disconnected the call!

    The wait time for a service technician is 3-4 days. When you are without phone service, this is unacceptable. You have to “kick and scream” to get them here sooner.

    I informed them I would be looking into other options for phone, cable and internet services only to be told that there will be a $250 cancellation fee. I agree with the other comments that this industry needs to be deregulated and other options need to be available. Free enterprise is a great concept and needs to be applied here!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I moved to New York 6 months ago and signed up for phone, internet and cable with Time Warner. My cable service has been a disaster. No picture, or a lost signal every few minutes. Every few weeks I have to phone tech support, and I am now waiting for my 5th service call (and missing the inauguration!!). Every time I’m told it’s been fixed. The people on the phone are always polite, but unwilling to acknowledge a problem. Is a monthly service call standard?? I am moving soon, and I hope I never have to deal with Time Warner again.