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Open Letter to Tom Rogers, Tivo CEO and Tivo Management

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by nyctwc, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Dec 5, 2013 #21 of 113
    nyctwc

    nyctwc New Member

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    I find it amazing that after complaining about the numerous and obvious problems that exist with Tivo, Inc., that there are some that are directing their criticism at me.

    If you were the owner or manager of a business, wouldn't you want to know about problems that existed in your business so that you could fix them? I certainly would. After all, that is the main purpose of having a "manager." Have you ever called Level 1 support only to have some rep spend tens of minutes on the phone with you troubleshooting, when you know the problem is on their end and you merely want to report it to make them aware of it so that they can fix it? That is extremely inefficient for everyone involved, and hiring those Level 1 employees comes at a great cost to Tivo, Inc. How hard could it be to create a database of known issues and have that entered into the troubleshooting guide that the Level 1 staff consults when they are diagnosing a problem with a customer so that they don’t waste their time troubleshooting known issues? Why is it so difficult to have a problem that you know is a bug reported to Level 2 support and have them share that information with everyone in the department? If I managed customer support, this would be my top priority and I'm certain it would result in a big cost savings overall to the company.

    As for the outage yesterday, how difficult could it be to put a message on Tivo.com's website saying that there was an outage with Tivo's servers that would affect service. It would have taken someone 15 minutes to do this and could have saved Customer Support countless hours of support time answering phone calls from confused customers. As an alternative, they could have sent an email to customers saying that they were experiencing problems and were working quickly to resolve them. I'm sure they maintain a database of customers' email addresses.

    As for the bugs, how difficult could it be to fix the disk percentage problem on the iOS Tivo App? Granted, I'm not a programmer, but I can't imagine it takes the three months I've been waiting for it to be fixed. Are they even aware that this problem exists? As I said, they don't even maintain a central database of known issues, so there's not way to even know if they know about this problem or not. When I first called up to report this issue, nobody seemed to know about it and the Level 1 staff were doing everything they could not to escalate the issue, which I suspect is on purpose. This is also a systemic problem with the way Customer Support works.

    So as I'm being accused of "whining," I feel that I'm addressing serious concerns as a Tivo customer who wants to see the company do better and succeed. While I did not originally make suggestions on how it could be better, it is not my job to do so. As a customer, I feel that it is my obligation to make management aware that it is having problems that aren't being addressed.
     
  2. Dec 5, 2013 #22 of 113
    jwbelcher

    jwbelcher New Member

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    Orlando, FL
    Its just the approach you employed. I'd love to see these issues tracked in an open forum that allowed customers / field trial folks to open tickets and have a means track tickets.

    Honestly feel that an Open approach to the way Redhat, Apache, etc allow customers open tickets would help the community here and let Tivo prioritize based on feedback.

    IF the community organized to open such a ticket system itself (Bugzilla, etc) that wasn't full of rants and rubbish, I'd think it could have greater impact with Tivo.
     
  3. Dec 5, 2013 #23 of 113
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Is no one even going to bring up the fact that this "Open Letter" is posted to a fan site and will never be read by Tom Rogers or TiVo Management?
     
  4. Dec 5, 2013 #24 of 113
    aristoBrat

    aristoBrat Active Member

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    I've had at least 10 interactions with TiVo customer service over the last few months (between setting up the transfer of Lifetime Service on all of the old boxes I sold + coordinating exchanges for a failed mini and a failed Roamio), and after each each time I received an email asking my opinion on the support that I received.

    And IIRC, at least two of the phone calls gave me the option to do the survey while still on the phone by instructing me to ask the agent to "transfer me to the survey" at the end of the call.

    It's interesting to me how we can both be TiVo owners and have such different views.

    You see TiVo management as being unaware of bugs and not being communicative, whereas I see that TiVo has a Vice President actively working on this forum (a fan site) with customers to squash bugs and communicate about when updates are rolling out (and what bugs are fixed in them).

    You see it taking an Open Letter to open TiVo management's eyes regarding customer service interactions, whereas I'm being so frequently asked by TiVo to talk about what I thought of their customer service that it's borderline irritating.

    IMO, there's a bunch of stuff TiVo could improve on to make owners experiences better. And I don't think you'll find a single person in this thread that disagrees with that statement. I think it's like what jwbelcher said... it's the approach you took that's generating the friction.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2013 #25 of 113
    ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Feb 14, 2010
    Colorado
    Couldn't agree more. Since 2000 here.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2013 #26 of 113
    ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Feb 14, 2010
    Colorado
    Sorry, or not, to say this dude....you are definitely whining.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2013 #27 of 113
    RusRus

    RusRus New Member

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    Chula Vista, CA
    Pioneers (Western) are the ones with the arrows in their backs.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2013 #28 of 113
    ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Feb 14, 2010
    Colorado
    And, not being from New York, they just cut off the shafts and get on with their lives...:cool:
     
  9. Dec 5, 2013 #29 of 113
    nyctwc

    nyctwc New Member

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    Apr 6, 2010
    I employed this approach because I felt that there was no other way to get this message to management. Does anybody know how to do this without it getting lost in a vacuum of several tiers of lower level employees and useless surveys?

    I do appreciate that Margaret monitors and responds to issues here, which is partly why I chose this place to complain. It is atrocious that this is the main area people need to come to have their complaints seriously addressed. Even when she does address problems, the people working over the phone don't seem to know about many of them, which is another systemic problem in Tivo's communication structure.

    Every large organization has serious problems when communication within that organization breaks down. It's up to management to facilitate the flow of communication between departments and employees, identify problems that exist and restructure and reorganize as necessary.

    Does anybody think my suggestion for a central database for known issues that all customer support employees can consult is a good (if not obvious) one? As someone pointed out on a thread here, why isn't there a change log anywhere except here on Tivo Community that informs users when and what bugs have been fixed? This is standard practice for every piece of software and app I own. Why isn't there an indicator of server status on Tivo's website? I found a website posted by someone that actually does this. Why does Tivo rely on users to do this and come up with their own solutions (i.e. PyTivo and other software) and support instead of doing it themselves the way most companies would? The only conclusion I can logically arrive at is mismanagement, hence the open letter.
     
  10. Dec 5, 2013 #30 of 113
    jwbelcher

    jwbelcher New Member

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    Orlando, FL
    To be fair, TiVo hasn't used real-time services in products dating back to 2000 / 2001. Referencing dates like those are disingenuous. You would never be aware of a 18 hour hiccup back then.

    Note, Tivo has a job postings right now for a Service Architect. Two key criteria; reliable and fault-tolerance. We have no idea their cloud service architecture, but after the experience in the past 3 months with C133, I would say they are neither reliable nor fault-tolerant.

    Hopefully this posting will eventually lead to a more robust back-end, but my feeling is these bumps in the road are just the beginning. Having deployed JAX-WS on a large solution, its possible we may see scalability issues as more subscribers activate their brand-new Roamios.
     
  11. Dec 6, 2013 #31 of 113
    BiloxiGeek

    BiloxiGeek Reality Challenged

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    Gulfport,...
    You have a good point there. But let's look at the nuts and bolts a little bit closer. When did TiVo start using the real-time services? When the premiere's hit the market? Just for laughs and chuckles I'm going to assume it was on the premiere's for the point I'd like to make, I don't think the TiVo-HD's had anything along those lines.

    A quick look at wikipedia tells me that the premiere was released to the public on March 28th, 2010. I believe all the real-time services were on them at launch, but I could be wrong. So well over 1000 days of these real-time services being in use. This event is the only one of it's kind that I can recall.

    I believe the outage lasted less than 24 hours but I wasn't keeping that close a watch on my Roamio. If it was, that's less than 1 day out of at least 1000. So I think my point is still quite valid when we look at the availability of the mothership being 99.9%. It's better than Ivory Soap!!
     
  12. Dec 6, 2013 #32 of 113
    pgoelz

    pgoelz Member

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    If that is true (and it may well be) then it is a sign if a much deeper problem.... a company cut off from its users. I find this more and more these days, especially with Chinese manufacturers. I hope it is not true of a homegrown one like Tivo.

    Paul
     
  13. Dec 6, 2013 #33 of 113
    pgoelz

    pgoelz Member

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    May 1, 2005
    In fairness to Tivo, that is exactly what the text of the C133 error states, on your TV screen. There is a temporary problem with the TIVO SERVICE.

    The problem is that until the other day, all calls to Tivo support to report C133 errors resulted in us users being told it was definitely NOT the Tivo service..... it was our LOCAL NETWORK. And that resulted in endless rounds of rebooting everything, only to find the problem was not resolved.

    If the text of the C133 onscreen error message was not being constantly contradicted by Tivo Support, we would all have relaxed and simply waited for the temporary outage to be resolved.

    Paul
     
  14. Dec 6, 2013 #34 of 113
    jrtroo

    jrtroo User

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    I cannot imagine too many CEOs that are going around reading through fan sites.

    We already have feedback that Tivo is implementing a status indication on their site.

    Tivo is a public company, and IS in competition with others, thus has to keep a fine line of what they consider confidential and that which should be made public. In reality, we have been able to peek behind the curtain much more frequently of late, hopefully that will continue.

    Roamio bug fixes have been extremely quick. Much faster than any other release I have witnessed. Unfortunate that they exist at all, and that some continue, but so far the release has been pretty great with getting these in the cue. I may finally become a "fast follower" on the Roamio instead of my normal 6-12 month wait to make sure the bugs are cleaned out.
     
  15. Dec 6, 2013 #35 of 113
    BiloxiGeek

    BiloxiGeek Reality Challenged

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    Gulfport,...
    I don't agree, the CEO's in most companies are not going to be out surfing fan sites to get feedback. They're going to task their customer service and technical support departments for feedback. While tivocommunity.com is a popular website for TiVo customers is not an official support channel and has never tried to be. Tom Rogers MIGHT see this "Open Letter", but probably only if TivoMargaret or someone like her takes the time to show him.

    If the intent is to truly get this letter on his desk, a non-affiliated website is the wrong place to put it. Type it up, print it out, put in an envelope with a stamp and mail it. Or try to find his email address and send it that way. As others have said in this thread, we enjoy the participation from TiVo employees here on a fairly regular basis, but I would find it very surprising if that is actually part of their official duties. It's a bonus that I've never seen any other tech company do in a similar fashion.
     
  16. Dec 6, 2013 #36 of 113
    steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    I think TiVo has this in place already, or at least they have a system that could handle it. Trouble is getting the customer support staff to actually use it. Instead, they have you jump through hoops to make sure that whatever problem you're having is not on your end of things.

    The change log we get here really isn't. TiVo doesn't always tell us *everything* that gets changed. They just give us highlights, and THAT didn't happen here before the Premiere came into being. Before that, all we got was a message on the Tivo that the TiVo Service was updated, and that only listed new features.

    IIRC, TiVo had an outage once when the Premieres where still fairly new.
    That's when everyone noticed how dependent the HDUI is of the TiVo servers.

    Yep, this was what I was going to suggest. I believe it would be far more effective than posting it here.
    Heck, I even think posting it to the "official" TiVo forum would be more effective than posting it here.
     
  17. Dec 6, 2013 #37 of 113
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Near...
    Or TivoMargaret might, in the course of doing her job well, decide that calling Tom's attention to this post would be a waste of his time, since it's not a constructive criticism -- rather just a rant that assumes the worst about Tivo management execution, without really knowing what's going on inside Tivo. Just the fact you have many complaints about a product doesn't prove they can be blamed on poor management.
     
  18. Dec 6, 2013 #38 of 113
    WO312

    WO312 Active Member

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    Finger...
    :eek::eek::eek: Nothing's better than Ivory soap. It FLOATS. :D
     
  19. Dec 6, 2013 #39 of 113
    mburnno

    mburnno New Member

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    Oct 1, 2003
    Wow you must be a Tivo Fan boy and think Tivo can do no wrong! Seriously after all the crap Tivo has put it's customers through this is your comment? This is Tivo's 5th generation Tivo by now one would think Tivo has learned from it's past mistakes. I for one would of dumped Tivo if I wasn't in a year contract with then. I been a Tivo user for years and have never felt so much pain with the past models as compared to the Roamino Line. Tivo has turned to Sh*t in my opinion. But to each its own I guess.
     
  20. Dec 6, 2013 #40 of 113
    CloudAtlas

    CloudAtlas New Member

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    Oct 29, 2013
    +1 WAY :up:

    It's obvious with all that TiVo's accomplished in 2013 that management, and the company as a whole, is moving in the right direction.

    • MAR 2013 TiVo Mini released
    • AUG 2013 TiVo Roamio released
    • AUG 2013 TiVo/Opera announce partnership HTML5-based Opera TV platform & Store
    • SEP 2013 TiVo announces TiVo network PVR
    • OCT2013 TiVo releases Out-of-home streaming
    • OCT/NOV 2013 TiVo releases Fall update with support for older Series 4 Premieres!
    • NOV 2013 TiVo releases new TiVo Slide Pro Remote
    • 2013 MSO partnerships with Virgin Media, Mediacom, Atlantic Broadband, Midcontinent and GCI.
     

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