A tale of two customer services
Cablevision and Arriva
It was the worst of service. It was the best of service…
An Internet and telephone outage from Cablevision
Last week we suffered an Internet and telephone outage with Cablevision’s Optimum service. We are triple-play subscribers: cable TV, Internet and 3 phone lines. Internet service is the most important to me, followed by phone service, with cable TV a distant third. I have been toying with the idea of dropping cable TV entirely as the cost-benefit ratio has been going in the wrong direction for years, but that is another story. Normally Cablevision’s services are rock solid here in Weston, CT.
They used to have good customer service, but no longer in my opinion. Cablevision replaced a simple telephone menu, “Press 1 for sales, 2 for service, 3 for billing” with a sophisticated robotic automated call attendant that tries to mimic a real person.
I hate these robots! They make me angry. I don’t want to talk to them. They rarely understand me. Then I get angry and start cursing at them. I know they don’t respond any better when I yell at them but I do it anyway. As I said, I hate these things. What used to be simple is now more complex and less satisfying. It took me two phone calls and 30 minutes on hold on my cell phone to finally get through to a human. Jeff solved the problem and was quite professional listening to my rant against their telephone robot. But the whole experience really sours my impression of Cablevision.
Arriva Headphone malfunction
The Arriva Leo is a great stereo, Bluetooth headphone, designed for use in active situations. It has large buttons on the back that make it simple to raise or lower the volume when you are wearing it. I use mine to listen to audio, podcasts and music, from my iPhone, when exercising or commuting on Metro-North. It is a great not having a wire connecting my headset to the iPhone.
I have owned mine since May 2012. This Sunday morning I unplugged my Arriva Leo from the charger. Normally, the light goes off. This time both the red and blue LED lights stayed on. Holding down the power button, even for an extended period, did not turn off the Leo. Additionally, the Leo was not recognized by my iPhone.
I searched Google for the Arriva Leo manual to see if it had any information on this condition. It did not. So I went to the Arriva website and discovered a little chat dialog in the lower right-hand corner. I clicked on it, not expecting anyone to be there early on a Sunday morning. Arriva is located in Colorado, so even though it was 9:20am where I was, it was 7:20am there. I left a note in the chat window expecting to be contacted on Monday.
Less than a minute later Ben was on line and the following conversation took place:
*** Visitor 37568161 joined the chat ***
(09:20:16) Visitor 37568161: Blue and red lights are both on. Holding the power button or pressing the volume buttons does nothing. Is it broken? (Only owned a short time.)
*** Ben joined the chat ***
(09:21:57) Ben : We are very sorry for the problem. Please email email@example.com with some order information, state the problem, and we will send you a replacement with an SAE to return the original.
(09:22:24) Visitor 37568161: Thanks.
(09:22:33) Ben : You’re welcome!
I sent a note to the email address above and had a response in minutes. They were going to ship me the replacement Monday morning.
Fortunately for Arriva and me, the problem resolved itself. Since I couldn’t turn off the headset the battery eventually ran out. I then plugged the headset into the charger. Several hours later it was charged and working again.
It is my experience that small companies, like Arriva, value their customers and are more likely to provide good customer service, while large companies are at best a hit-or-miss customer experience, often mostly miss. What is your take?
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