I don't care what J.D. Power says, Cablevision Systems is
tops in my book as far as customer service.
I say that as a seven-year triple play customer of
Cablevision -- I switched in 2002 from DirecTV and Verizon Communications --
who has had some not-so-pleasant run-ins with Cablevision in the past. In the
1980s I lived in several areas served by Cablevision. Let's just say that
long-ago experience turned me to satellite when that option became available.
By sheer coincidence, while asked to help report the cable
service story, I had to call Cablevision
customer service to fix my Internet, phone and TV (On Demand hasn't been
working) last week. I tried all the home remedies -- rebooting the modem and my
cable box several times, to no avail. When I called Cablevision customer
service, I was first directed to an automated troubleshooter who walked me
through the rebooting process again. The automated voice also asked me to turn
on my TV --Internet and phone problems often also mean the TV is on the fritz,
too -- and when it was determined that I couldn't receive channel 12
(Cablevision's exclusive News 12 New Jersey channel), directed me immediately
to a live customer-service representative.
I can't remember the rep's name, but he was helpful and did
not waste time asking questions that I had already answered -- he actually said
that, "I don't want to waste your time," which briefly shocked me. Remotely, he
could tell that the signal to my modem and TV were weak and that they would
have to send out a technician, giving me the option of either having a tech
come out that day -- the window would be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- or setting up an
appointment for the next day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.).
Knowing my editors, I elected for the same-day appointment.
Total time on the phone with that rep and the automated rep: No more than 20 to
The tech came at 4
p.m. that day, went down to my basement to check
the wiring into the house, climbed the nearby telephone pole and went upstairs to check all the connections
to my computer. He changed out a few connections, clean up and told me that he'd
be back the next day to replace the
outside line to my house (a chronic squirrel problem). For the entire
hour, he was courteous, managed to dodge my hissing, elderly cat and was
nonplussed by my screaming 4-year old daughter -- home for the day with a fever
and a sudden stranger aversion. Oh, and he fixed my Internet connection and my
phone, telling me the VOD would probably be
available the next day. The next day the tech came at 10:39 a.m. and
installed the new drop line in about an hour.
And the VOD was back (Hello Hellboy
II!) No fuss, no muss.
I'm obliged to give credit
where it's due. No endless wait on the phone, no nasty service people and when
they couldn't fix my problem entirely, they fixed the most important and
pressing problems -- my Internet and phone.
All in all, a refreshingly pleasant experience, and one that hasn't been
uncommon in the past seven years.