It’s About Friggin’ Time!

Accountability Organizational leadership Transformation


Key Point: “It’s About Time.” That’s the headline of a full page advertisement taken out by the large American company, Time Warner Cable (TWC) on page 11 of this Sunday’s New York Times. It goes on to make a very pubic pronouncement regarding customer service commitments. TWC admits, “knowing the cable guy jokes by heart,” and the advert goes on to identify  “changes we hope add up to more respect for your time,” etc. I’ve included a photo of the full statement below. Of course, it will be interesting to see how TWC ‘s 55,000 employees come together and execute. However, I admire them for taking a very public stand.


There are some basics that are fundamental for great customer service. At times I wonder if marketing experts and service delivery people just make it too complex. Before we can do the fancy stuff, I’m curious what the outcome would be if we ALL concentrated on making better use of each other’s time?

In my 40 plus years in business the most frustrating thing for customers has been around the matter of “time.” In fact, the number one complaint by far in the organization I currently work at is about the same subject matter. Here are some examples: “You told me you would call me back and you didn’t,” “the paperwork was supposed to arrive on XX/XX and didn’t,” “I waited 30 minutes on hold,” “I was transferred four times and then the call was dropped.”

In all cases, the customer had to waste valuable personal time because a commitment was missed. I bet every one of you blog readers has at least one horror story about waiting and rearranging your lives for some service person to not show up. How did that “no show” make you feel? Or, how about that 60 minute wait at the doctors office after fighting traffic and getting our heart rates up to get there “on time?” The underlying message is the same, “your time is not really that important.”

On the other hand, what a delight it is when our time is used well. I remember being in the Apple Store for the first time when everyone in the blue shirt could check you out with their iPhone. I actually had to confirm that she could really transact right there without me lining up at the cashier. Wow! I love seeing the Uber car show up in X minutes, exactly as the car and arrival commitment is displayed on my app. When a customer service rep solves my problem without transferring me, I’m blown away. One click to what I’m looking for tells me a lot about great web design. And “auto populating data” so I don’t have to repeat who I am makes me smile. Why is such a simple concept so hard? It has to evolve from you and me first.

Character Moves:

  1. Find ways you (and me too!!) can do better using other people’s time. It starts with meeting the commitments we make to each other and having the respectful courtesy to let others know when for some reason we can’t. What impact would we have on relationships with others if we became obsessive about that?
  1. Explore how you can better use other people’s time in the work/service you provide to others. I bet if you and I used “time” to distinguish our personal brands, we would stand out! Why does it have to be so hard? If you’re a leader of a service delivery system, I genuinely believe your ability to execute and distinguish your offering on “time” will be a competitive differentiator! It doesn’t have to be that difficult.

It’s about time in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Considering I’m a Time Warner Cable customer, I appreciate this. I’ve had no issues within the last three months of using their Internet services, really, but I was forced to make the switch from the beloved DirecTV, so I was dreading it because I heard the horror stories. Interestingly enough, in the past week, I’ve casually watched two very popular vloggers (Furious Pete, and The LA Beast), publicly call out two companies on their YouTube channels for poor customer service. Furious Pete was unhappy with Harry Rosen, The LA Beast was upset with Time Warner Cable (no, seriously)… Each of these YouTube personalities has more than one million (Furious Pete has like 2.5 million) subscribers that will potentially hear the critique. Powerful stuff. No wonder TWC is being accountable… These days, you never know how far and worldwide a single customer’s complaint can reach.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis