I have already talked about customer service in another post but feel it’s necessary to do so again. I’m sure all of you have had your share of less-than-stellar service from people you are paying to help you and I would love to hear your stories. This is a tale of my most recent experience and I’ll start off by saying that I don’t heart Cox Communications. Not at all.

First of all, I find it reeeeaaaaaalllly hard to believe that they have been given awards for good customer service. I don’t know who voted for them or any of the methodology involved in the research that backs that claim, but I think it must be a sham. It has to be. Let me tell you why.

First, I’ve had dealings before with the customer service people in their office near my home and they treated me as if I was interfering with their donut break and that I was the stupidest person on earth because I couldn’t read their minds and didn’t know all of their policies by heart. That was before. This last experience was so bad it was comical. I can’t make this stuff up.


I go into their office and talk to the pleasant customer service lady about how I need a cable card for my TiVo. She says, “A technician has to come out.” “Okay,” I say. After lots of typing we make an appointment. I say, “I have a TiVo, so do I need to do anything or does the technician need anything for that?” She replies, “No, they’ll have everything they need.”


The appointment was set for 10 a.m. –12 noon. When no one showed up I called Cox.

  • Me: “Hello, I had an appointment for a technician to come out 10 a.m. –12 noon.” Pause here because there was no response. “No one showed up.”
  • Alicia, the customer service lady: “Hold on.” “Okay, they’ll be there at 11:47.”
  • Me: “It’s 12:18.”
  • Alicia: “It’s 12:18?”
  • Me: “Yes.”
  • Alicia: “Hold on.” “Okay, they’ll call you in about five to 10 minutes to let you know when they’re coming.”

Thirty minutes later the phone rang and I got an automated message saying that a technician would be arriving soon. When the technicians finally arrived, they did not have the proper equipment with them.

  • Technician: “Oh, you have a TiVo. We need a converter box for that.”
  • Me: “I told the customer service person about it and mentioned that specifically.”
  • Technician: “Yeah well, customer service didn’t put that on the work order.”

So basically, they had to come back later that night and still couldn’t finish it because I had not gotten the set up done ahead of time (something that the technician told me that customer service should have told me about).


So third time’s a charm and on Friday morning they came back to place two little cards in the two little slots in my TiVo. Seriously? I needed two guys to do that job? I really need to get a union job. That way I can hang out with pals and blame all the crap on customer service.

The Following Week

Now just to add a bit more fuel to this burning disaster, I also switched my phone over to Cox because the geniuses in their pricing department figured it out so that if I added a service, my bill would be ten dollars less than it currently was. I understand pricing and bundling and have worked out some complicated pricing structures myself, but that one doesn’t quite seem like a logical way to run a business. But so be it. The customer service guy I talked to told me that the phone guy would be coming out in a nice short window of time, 1–9 p.m. After my steep intake of breath he told me that I would be getting a call one hour prior to the arrival of the technician so I wouldn’t be trapped all day. I did get a phone call. From a customer service rep telling me that the technician was knocking on my door and there was no answer. Thanks for the one-hour warning call Cox, you managed to screw up yet again.

Final Conclusions

Is your left hand talking to your right? Are the executives, marketers, finance personnel, etc. talking to your front line personnel? Are you hiring competent workers and training them properly? From my perspective there are a lot of companies out there that need to seriously work on their customer service skills. Because after all, it’s just your brand image that’s being shattered. And that usually translates into less revenue and bad reviews on blogs. So there. And while the phone guy was still in my house I got a cutomer service follow-up survey call from Cox. I told them the job wasn’t finished yet and we hung up. But because I didn’t get a call back, I’ll express my opinions now. You stink Cox.