First-person customer service nightmare, courtesy of Time-Warner Cable, who houses the hardware that Earthlink sells me cable service over.My broadband fritzed for no apparent reason.  I recycled everything on my end to no avail.  I call TWC, skipping Earthlink knowing (from previous experience) I’ll end up there anyway.In the course of the next 21 minutes, I called three more numbers (all dutifully given to me by the person who said that they couldn’t help but the next one could.  TWC first line said I needed Tech Support, who forwarded me to Earthlink, whose automated system sent me to Comcast (who doesn’t even host my service) who said they were getting misrouted calls from Earthlink and gave me Earthlink’s special number to call.  Earthlink’s special system initially said I didn’t have service registered to me and then finally got me to a real person who said they couldn’t help and routed me to TWC who gave me another Earthlink number which put me in the Comcast queue again, whereby I hung up and returned to TWC and got two jumps through to “a different division” who recycled the signal to my modem (for the third time) and then concluded, “We’ll need to send out a technician.  What time Monday is good?” (This was Saturday).  “Will 3-to-5 work?“”What are my other options Monday?“”Well, you can have a floating time from one to five.” Huh?!  I’ll take 3-5.I spoke to 5 different people.  Along the way, I keyed in my “phone number for which you have registered service” seven times, only for the first question to be asked by four of the people I spoke to… “Can you give me your phone number?”  I went through the phone menu netherworld to answer the “what type of problem are you experiencing?” prompt six times only to be asked by every single person what the problem was.  It is clear their people don’t talk to their computers, and vice versa, which begs the question, why do they even have the computers?Now, I know that TWC basically has a monopoly (at least here) and likely has insane profits and rising stock prices (not that I care enough to even look it up).  But I have a hard time believing a technology company (or any other type, for that matter) can consistently fail to merge man and machine so blatantly and live to tell about it.  And whoever designed their menuing system or prototyped their users’ experience clearly failed the Rule #1 test.In public speaking, the similar experience is to ask for their input or conduct a poll or ask for questions and then proceed to only provide the content that you wish to provide.

If you can’t or won’t help or answer, don’t ask the question.

P.S. Five hours later, my connection healed itself (with no input from me), only to go down again three times today for times varying from minutes to 5 hours.  I’ll still find a way to meet the service guy at 3.  Or is that 4?  Or maybe 5?  Or…?

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