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Time Warner Cable Wants to Shed DMV-Like Service Center Image
by Karl Bode 09:16AM Wednesday Mar 19 2014
Add Time Warner Cable to the long list of ISPs that hope that a sleeker new retail experience can sex up the traditionally rather unsexy cable shopping experience. According to Time Warner Cable, the company has launched a new 4,000-square-foot new flagship store in Manhattan that, like similar efforts by Verizon, takes more than a few cues from Apple stores.

The company appears to believe that a sexier in-store retail experience will reduce the company's recent bout of consumer losses (many courtesy of high prices, sub-par service or retransmission blackouts, not retail):
quote:
"This channel needs to be awakened,” said Blaine Altaffer, group vice president of retail, in an interview. “I don’t want it to be a DMV experience. We realized customers need hands-on experience. It’s built for them on their terms." Satisfying customers is crucial at a time when Time Warner Cable is losing video subscribers, and the whole industry is soul searching to convince consumers, especially the younger demographic, why they should pay for cable.
By that measure, does that mean all retail experiences outside of Manhattan will continue to be DMV-esque? This also seems like an effort that's probably going to be shelved pretty quickly courtesy of the looming Comcast acquisition anyway.

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elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Retail Experience?

Why does it matter. They are done.

Well they can lower rates or stop giving $20 a month for each sub to the shareholders. And without changing the culture what good is polishing up a turd?

And it wouldn't hurt to update their Kaypro DVRs either. (Thats for the older guys
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Retail Experience?

said by elefante72:

or stop giving $20 a month for each sub to the shareholders

What? I'm obviously in the wrong stock?

Good Ol Dan

join:2000-05-15
Naples, FL
Reviews:
·Earthlink Cable ..

DMV-Like Service Center Image...

Gee, I was just thinking that maybe Time Warner could sell their "DMV-like" service center image to Comcast, who now has a "third world bus station" sort of service center image. It would be a big upgrade for Comcast.

No disrespect intended to the folks at the DMV, who here in Florida are actually pretty good.

PhoenixDown
FIOS is Awesome
Premium
join:2003-06-08
Fresh Meadows, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

Last time I had to visit the TWC center in Queens Center Mall, the experience was horribly long.

The ticket counters were very reminiscent of the DMV. It seemed to work well for the DMV unlike here.
--
Add a signature here

Straphanger
Express is Back
Premium,Mod
join:2001-12-08
Whitestone, NY
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

It's an atrocious experience at Queens Center unless you go on a weekday morning. Sitting around for several hours just to return equipment is unacceptable.
--
Please use all available doors...you have 33 to choose from.

norm

join:2012-10-18
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

The Comcast office near me is in an industrial park. You have to drive past a ton of loading docks and warehouses. Once you get inside, you're greeted by a TV way too big for the space that is demoing various things from Comcast, a DMV-esque counter that two people somehow share, and a server room with brown paper taped over the window. The lobby is incredibly small with only 3 seats. It's a former Adelphia store.

The only time I went there, the line started outside because of how small the lobby is.

My local DMV is actually many times nicer than my local Comcast office. I imagine there's some sort of specialist designer you can pay to achieve that as no regular person would be able to come up with a design that terrible on his or her own.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

At least they have an office. I can barely remember going with my Mom and Grandmother to the phone company office when I was a kid. After the breakup it didn't take long for South Central Bell to close up the business offices.
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I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.

norm

join:2012-10-18
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

said by battleop:

At least they have an office. I can barely remember going with my Mom and Grandmother to the phone company office when I was a kid. After the breakup it didn't take long for South Central Bell to close up the business offices.

Considering Comcast's strong financials, I don't think it's fair to compare them to a post Ma Bell breakup phone company in the early 80s.

I don't think many businesses could survive if they made such a garbage hole a part of their public image.
existenz

join:2014-02-12
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Google Fiber

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

The TWC center I go to in KC is also like a DMV, with reps hiding behind bullet proof bank teller like windows, where you slide the cash/papers under window and components in a drawer underneath.

The Google Fiber Store in KC OTOH is an open tech lounge with a bar and many couches in front of many screens that show off various services like Onlive and even a video conferencing room.

Good Ol Dan

join:2000-05-15
Naples, FL
Reviews:
·Earthlink Cable ..

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

said by existenz:

The TWC center I go to in KC is also like a DMV, with reps hiding behind bullet proof bank teller like windows, where you slide the cash/papers under window and components in a drawer underneath.

I think if I was the front person for Comcast, I'd appreciate the bulletproof glass between myself and a customer who had been enjoying the "Comcast customer experience" on (maybe) a hard chair in the "service" center for the past hour or two.

norm

join:2012-10-18
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

said by Good Ol Dan:

said by existenz:

The TWC center I go to in KC is also like a DMV, with reps hiding behind bullet proof bank teller like windows, where you slide the cash/papers under window and components in a drawer underneath.

I think if I was the front person for Comcast, I'd appreciate the bulletproof glass between myself and a customer who had been enjoying the "Comcast customer experience" on (maybe) a hard chair in the "service" center for the past hour or two.

Chairs are for VIP customers only. You are welcome to stand.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
At some point Comcast put their reps behind bullet proof glass. That was a bit creepy. Time Warner got rid of that shortly after they took over.

Later, they closed the two old offices (former Comcast, former legacy TWC), and opened up a bigger building in a new shopping center 4 years ago. The new office is as nice as can be, but I've only been there once in the many years its been open.


norm

join:2012-10-18
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: DMV-Like Service Center Image...

said by djrobx:

At some point Comcast put their reps behind bullet proof glass. That was a bit creepy. Time Warner got rid of that shortly after they took over.

Later, they closed the two old offices (former Comcast, former legacy TWC), and opened up a bigger building in a new shopping center 4 years ago. The new office is as nice as can be, but I've only been there once in the many years its been open.

They're not all bad. As much as I hate Verizon these days (tons of problems, not relevant to storefront), they do have nice offices here.

jacko15

@rr.com

Doesn't matter

We're video and internet junkies. It doesn't matter a hoot what the retail experience is like. We'd be lined up in a dark alley doing business with a cracker in a trench coat. Look at the "competitive" landscape. And now it will shrink again. Even if we "cut the cord" we only switch addictions from one feed to another. Get used to this "business model". We get less for more, and they get more for less.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Doesn't matter

Nothing is going to change with TWC and Comcast as far as options to choose from. Why doesn't most people on here see that? You only have one or the other option nor or another cable company for the most part. By these two companies merging changes NOTHING in terms of providers to choose from.

Rick4769

join:2012-11-21
Buffalo, NY

1 recommendation

Wait till Comcast takes Over

Comcast prides itself as a third world provider with zero customer relations and service. Once Comcast takes over, they will provide the minimum in customer support allowable by law.

Good Ol Dan

join:2000-05-15
Naples, FL
Reviews:
·Earthlink Cable ..

Re: Wait till Comcast takes Over

said by Rick4769:

Comcast prides itself as a third world provider with zero customer relations and service. Once Comcast takes over, they will provide the minimum in customer support allowable by law.

This about sums it up...

»www.funnyordie.com/videos/d06e47 ··· censored

Nameless

join:2014-02-25
Austin, TX

Austin is no different

Last time I had to go to the TWC office ~2 years ago was to return their modem when I bought my own, and my experience matches those of others here.

It looked like a cross between the DMV office and an especially run down auto parts shop, complete with bars on the windows, grimy industrial looking lobby, and a funny smell in the air. In the most miserable looking strip mall around.

Grimy industrial looking people working there too.

MagicMan

@comcast.net

New Service Centers

Comcast actually closed most of their old service centers and built a bunch of brand new ones (at least where I am in Michigan). Comfy chairs/couches, ipads, ipods, and big screens to use while you wait, and no more bullet proof glass.
Groggy Greg

join:2006-04-08
Astoria, NY

1 edit

Where's this new flagship store in Manhattan?

Does anyone know where this new flagship store in Manhattan is located? Clicking on "TWC Stores" under "Contact Us" on timewarnercable.com shows a list of "Payment Centers." Two of them (43 W 23rd Street, 96th Street & Broadway) are in Manhattan. Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: I just saw that the caption of the photo in the linked MarketWatch article says it's on 23rd Street.
Lewy

join:2013-04-05

TWC like Apple?

"new flagship store in Manhattan that takes more than a few cues from Apple stores."

TWC couldn't take clues from Apple even if they changed their name to Apple.

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME

Retail Experience...

Ordered online, had modem delivered... replaced modem with my own sb6141.

All without talking to a live person, or even on the phone.
Seems good to me.
waycoolphil

join:2000-09-22
Cathedral City, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

It's the line

The TWC office here looks actually looks okay. The problem is that there's only ONE line to stand in like at a bank. People who are only returning equipment have to stand in the same line with all those who've had their service turned off because they didn't pay their bill. Each of those people must pay their old bill (in cash, credit card or debit card), make a new deposit and apply to get the service turned back on. All while those that only need to drop off a STB or modem have to wait for a very long time. They could use a retail efficiency make-over.
hchen42

join:1999-12-23
New York, NY
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

comparing DMV on W34th St in NYC vs TWC E23rd St

Let's see, went to renewal my license at the DMV located on W34th St in NYC about 10 years ago, in out time, 10 minutes. I didn't take a picture. Report change of address about 5 years ago, 10 minutes. 2 Years ago, 10 minutes...

TWC, last time I had to return cable modem, waited 45 minutes.
Before that , I had to swap a broken cable modem, waited over an hour. Wife went to the gym (HRCNY around the block) and had her one hour work out. Of course, I went to TWC during weekend or evening hours.

DMV-like? you mean worse than dmv.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Where I live

Where I live there are two offices I can go to, Springfield and Westfield. Westfield always has a shorter wait.

I think Comcast did a system upgrade as it doesn't take as long to process a customer at the window. The receipts now look like a store receipt instead of a carbon form from a tractor feed printer. But still it feels like going to the DMV.

Our office is in a not so nice area so you have a lot of people going to try to negotiate payment plans to get the cable turned back on. One guy was there replacing a stolen converter.
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I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.