CRM the Time Warner Way

To understand why we couldn't watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince via Time Warner's video on demand last night requires a bit of time travel. More than six months ago, a credit card vendor, believing my account had been compromised, changed my credit card number and issued new cards. The change, while welcome from a security perspective, required me to update the card information wherever I had the details stored.

I called Time Warner to query why video on demand wasn't working. "Your account is past due," was the answer.

"Impossible, the account is on auto pay."

"Your bank denied the charge."

"Impossible, the charge goes to a credit card. This doesn't make sense. Something's odd here."

"I agree. Let me check into this, please hold."

"Thank you for holding, sir. It appears your credit card is no longer valid. Please update your credit card information."

"Um, OK."

Extracting the most recent bill from to process stack, it indeed shows a balance due and over due. Pulling out the previous month's bill, it too shows an amount overdue, however it also includes the message, "Do not pay; your account is on auto pay." So, naturally, I filed the bill with no further action. The most recent bill doesn't include the autopay language. Autopay was discontinued without notifying me.

Yep, more than six months after the new credit card number went into effect, Time Warner's billing system finally noticed. Once the billing system did notice, it took three billing cycles, and accumulated overdue amounts, to trigger a "we've got a problem here" symptom.

This is wrong in so many ways. One, I found out by accident: a feature wasn't working so I called Time Warner. Two, when I called, I was miffed. I was primed for a fun movie night with the crew. Third, I'm pissed that overdue payments accumulated while the messaging on Time Warner's bill indicated that all was OK. I pay bills on time and am embarrassed when one slips by my. This one didn't slip by, it accumulated due to the design of Time Warner's system. Fourth, Time Warner discontinued a payment feature without notifying me. Don't you think they'd be on top of this stuff to ensure they receive payment in a timely manner?

Improving the situation further, the perky TW rep told me that the monthly fee for my triple-play bundle will increase on January 24, 2010 unless I take action. That was the first time TW had informed me my service bundle had a time limit on the pricing. To maximize convenience, the rep indicated that I couldn't switch to a new package now; that I need to call on January 24 to learn about new package pricing.

What sort of twisted logic leads a company to design a retention path with so many hurdles? TW had me on the phone last night inquiring about my services, what better time to discuss a new package (that ideally offers more features at a lower price)? And the rep had no idea what bundle pricing would be on January 24th.

Time Warner: do you want my business? You sure are acting as though you would prefer that I switch back to Verizon.

Addendum: The TimeWarnerCable.com site informs me it is designed to run on IE or FF. Sorry TW, I prefer Chrome.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:34 PM

    The same thing would've happened with Verizon.