Losing Time

This is a long one, and hope you don’t spend too much “time” reading, but this seems like a timely subject in a world that should value people’s time and money. Sometimes it takes hearing the story to grasp the full meaning.

I’m losing time and it started out just being a problem with my watch.  I took it in to one of my “go to places” in Boulder and since losing time usually means “new battery ” required, I made that same assumption and $10 later, I was good to go. Problem was, I was still losing time. I took it to a new place in LA, and he told me I needed a new set of hands. $45 and a week later to complete repairs, I was good to go.  Problem was, I was still losing time. I took it back, and it took another week for him to remove the second hand. As I picked up my watch, I thought surely I was good to go. Problem is, I’m still losing time.  Not just with my watch, but losing time (my time) trying to get all those redo’s.  And I have to wonder, if I’m spending money to get the problem corrected, and it’s not being corrected, did I really need to spend the money?  I haven’t had time to take the watch back in yet, but surely next “time” I can get the “right time”.

I took my car in and they told me I needed to get a ton of work done to the tune of $1000.  Shop around my husband told me, so I took “time” to find another mechanic that could do the work at half the cost, and even though they were much farther away, I took the “time” to take the car in and get transportation back and forth while the car was being repaired.  Once the mechanic diagnosed the problem, I was told the cost was now $800. Ok, what do you do? So I authorized the work. I scheduled a ride to pick the car up and as I drove home, the car had a few new problems and a couple of warning lights came on. I called the mechanic, and he said to bring the car back in. More “time” and all that entailed. He needed to keep the car to figure out how to turn the lights off. So, I had to reschedule when I had “time” to leave the car and could get rides back and forth. Finally dropped the car off and he was able to correct a couple of problems, but couldn’t figure out how to turn the warning lights off.  His suggestion was to take it to the dealer, and he would pay for them to turn the warning light off.  More “time, but I took it to the dealer, they needed it for a few days to diagnose the problem, and I found myself spending more “time” waiting for my car. Finally, the dealership called and said I needed a new battery. It would cost a little over $200 and they could turn the light off (don’t even know if one had to do with the other).  Again, I have to wonder if I really needed all these replacements and repairs. By the “time” this is all said and done, I have spent a ton of “time”, more money than the original estimate, and probably paid for a battery I didn’t need. I still haven’t taken the “time” to figure out how to collect from the mechanic the cost of the getting the light turned off.  Finally, after hours and hours and hours of “time”, being inconvenienced and overspending, everything is working correctly again.

When the time changed and we fell forward to accommodate Daylight Savings Time. my cable TV started acting up and wouldn’t correctly display the time.  After spending 1 hour “time” on hold, my phone got “disconnected” and it took another 11/2 hours “time” on hold before a Time Warner Cable representative could correct the problem. It wasn’t until later that I realized in their correction of the problem, they created a new one. Now my channels didn’t display.  After my husband spent “time” trying to correct the problem and failed, we called again, this “time” only spending about 1 hour on hold.  The problem was corrected, but once again, we discovered a new problem.  Now we couldn’t get ON DEMAND!  I called, again. Wait “time”, took another hour to find out they needed to send out a technician, available five days later.  He spent 2 hours “time” here, changing out the BOX twice in an effort to correct the problem.  “That should do it,” he said as he left my loft, smiling in his ability to solve the problem. BUT that didn’t do it, because although I could access ON DEMAND, I couldn’t watch any programs for more than 2 minutes before getting error messages. I spent another 1 hour’s “time” on the phone with a representative from Time Warner Cable, telling them I thought it was on their end and I didn’t think they needed to send another technician out, but they insisted and after another 4 day wait, another technician came to my loft for a couple of hours, checking everything under the sun and declared everything worked just fine now. It didn’t. As I was dealing with these issues on the phone, Time Warner Cable ads were running that tell me they are the best and cable with them is something different. It was different alright. Another phone call, another technician to my loft, another chunk of “time” and finally they decided the problem was on their end (duh!) and they called in the big guns to correct the problem. Finally, about 13 hours total of my “time”, later, either on the phone or being present while a technician came to my loft, everything is working correctly again.

The point of this blog is not to complain or vent, but to point out how valuable a person’s time is as well as making people feel valued as a customer as they are going through a difficult experience as a result of your company’s limitations or policies or anytime really. All three companies could have done something to make me feel better about my experience and keep me as a customer. In the case of the watch, I will forever feel duped that I paid $45 for a set of hands that I didn’t need. If I ever get my watch fixed, I won’t go back.  With regard to the car mechanic, he was nice enough, but he should have been upfront that costs could exceed his original estimate and that he wasn’t familiar with my car. I won’t go back there again either. Businesses should take note. It costs 5-7 x more to develop a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Although I don’t have alternative options to switch companies with my cable company; as a consumer, I can protest virally and many a company has endured the wrath and PR nightmare that comes with a successful viral campaign. TIME WARNER CABLE could have apologized for the massive inconvenience I experienced and offered a month’s credit or something equally nice to make me feel validated in my frustration.  It wouldn’t have cost them anything really to offer that, but would have gone a long way in customer service and satisfaction. In today’s market, when customers have more choices than ever before, companies would be wise to take heed and structure their company to instill the customer service as a primary value in the company policy.

xo, jan