Customers call on companies to shorten wait times

Time Warner Cable shortens wait time to 60 minutes

SAN DIEGO - Waiting hours for a cable technician or deliveryman to show up is costing customers time and a lot of money, with one study showing 50 percent of people surveyed took a day off work waiting for these services.

That same study, by TOA technologies, said customers lost $37.7 billion waiting for appointment times in 2011.

Kaitlin Ball told Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance she called Comcast to come to her home and install cable and knew she was in it for the long haul.

"They gave me a four-hour window, you know, something like 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I called for updates a couple times and, you know, at 1:55 p.m. they showed up," said Ball.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed by TOA said they waited an average of 4 1/2 hours in 2011.

"It's incredibly frustrating. It's a waste of time, energy and money," said Ball.

Lonnie Allen, a field service supervisor for Time Warner Cable, used to deal with frustrated customers all the time. He said the appointment times could take half a day.

"When I first started, they were four hours," said Allen, who had been with the company for 13 years.

Time Warner shortened their wait times to 60 minutes at the end of 2012. They said they were the first cable company to do so and customers are noticing.

"It frees up their day, they don't have to wait for us all day long," said Allen.

Team 10 looked at how long customers are waiting for other services:

-- Comcast now promises to come during a two-hour window or you get $20 or a free premium channel for three months
-- Sears has a two-hour delivery time for washers and dryers
-- Jerome's furniture has a four-hour window.

Allen believes it's only a matter of time before other companies follow suit and shorten the wait, otherwise they are going to not have that customer anymore.

Some companies charge customers for a shorter wait. For example, UPS lets customers pick a two-hour wait time for $40 a year.

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