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86 Reasons Why I Hate My Cable Company


Netflix has amazing customer service relative to this author's cable and Internet service provider.


I ain't lookin' for prayers or pity
I ain't comin' 'round searchin' for a crutch
I just want someone to talk to
And a little of that human touch

--Bruce Springsteen, "Human Touch"

On Sunday morning, my Internet service went out.

And that's okay. Every company has issues now and then. So I got on the phone to see what was up.

To make a long story short, I placed five phone calls to my cable company totaling 86 minutes:

And how many humans did I reach?

ZERO. I was on hold almost the entire time.

You know it's funny, the last time I ordered a UFC pay-per-view, I got right through.

I also tried harassing the company on Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR):

This led to a direct messaging interaction, which failed to result in the one thing I wanted for my $2,000+ per year: a response from a real, live human being.

Heck, I suspect that this Twitter account is automated.

Now why am I not naming the company in question?

Well, I don't want to take advantage of Minyanville's status as a major financial news publisher to have personal problems fixed.

But is it okay if I take the opportunity to beg Verizon (NYSE:VZ) to roll out FiOS near me?

Anyway, I doubt my troubles were an isolated incident. According to the Temkin Group, TV service providers are at the bottom of the barrel in terms of the customer experience:

And if you want to see some real vitriol, go to (NASDAQ:YELP) and search the name of any cable company.

These folks would do well to take some clues from some of the tech elite -- namely Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).

When I called Netflix this morning, I was able to get through to a real, live human customer-service representative in less than one minute.

Now I want to point out something very important.

Each year, I pay Netflix $96.

The cable company's getting more than $2,000 from me.

Correction: I'll be paying a lot less going forward. My therapist used to say I need to treat myself more. Well, for Valentine's Day, I'll be giving myself the gift of a drastically reduced cable bill as I'm dumping everything except my Internet service. There's nothing good on anyway.

On a related note, I use Verizon Wireless with my Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. I feel the service is on the expensive side, but at least the company treats me nicely after taking my money. Its representatives have always addressed my issues quickly and with no headaches.

And on a note related to that related note, the same goes for Apple. I'm contemplating buying a new iMac this year, which won't be cheap. But I'm okay with paying up a bit when I know I'll be taken care of in the event of a problem.

Corporate America, I want you to know you can have my money -- just be nice to me after you get it, and I'll keep coming back!

How about (NASDAQ:AMZN)?

You can hit a button and someone will call you instantly:

I tried it and it works.

So there are companies out there that go out of their way to interact with customers who experience issues.

Who would have thought?

Oddly enough, I wrote the above tale before Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announced its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).

That deal has the M word (monopoly) ringing in people's ears as it would combine the two biggest cable companies.

Remember how expensive long-distance phone calls were when AT&T (NYSE:T) ruled the communications world?

Or how bad computers were before Apple and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) started stealing Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) thunder?

What are the chances things get better for cable subscribers from here?

Twitter: @MichaelComeau

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Position in AAPL
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