The Horror of Time Slots

It is every customer’s nightmare when a customer service representative says anything to do with a timeslot. “We’ll call you back between 1 PM and 9 PM”, “The technician will be at your house between 8 AM and 7 PM”, “We’ll start caring about our customers and trying to improve customer service between the years 2035 and 3261.” The list goes on and on and it gets even more frustrating.

The best way to fix the issue with customers being inconvenienced with timeslots is simply by getting rid of them. No timeslots are the best timeslots.

Unfortunately, since we don’t live in “Customer Service Paradise”, no time slots are unlikely to happen. They do have a function, but they are almost entirely created to make it easier for the company and not the customer (there is a reason the word customer is in customer service, not company service).

The second best way to deal with timeslots is to make them as small as possible without them being wrong. If customers are told a representative will be there between 4 PM and 5 PM, the representative better show up at that time. Not earlier and not later.

Throughout the timeslot, the customer should be kept in the loop. If the representative is running early, late, or even on-time, he or she should call the customer and let them know the status. A call before the representative is ready to leave the previous stop is an excellent idea and will make the customer sure that they haven’t been forgotten about and that someone will be showing up on time(slot).

The key to timeslots are to keep them short and keep the customer informed. They are almost always customer service nightmare (despite how well they are done), but it’s best to keep them at acceptable instead of bad.


  • Do not be early. The customer may not be home.
  • Do not be late. The customer will be home and will be furious.
  • Call early in the time slot if you’re going to be late.
  • Follow the Etiquette of Service Calls throughout the whole process.

One Response to “The Horror of Time Slots”

  1. Service Untitled » Service? What’s that? said:

    Oct 02, 06 at 1:29 pm

    […] A lady named Paloma posted a comment in response to John’s post. She described her experience with Time Warner coming to install her cable TV and Internet. They gave her a 12 hour time slot (I talk about time slots here) on a weekday and she had to wait all day. No one ended up coming and the home office knew nothing.  A few days later, someone did show up who probably wasn’t qualified and definitely should not have been doing the job. Apparently Time Warner Cable is pretty bad. Maria at CustomersAreAlways suggested I send my series to them in a comment she posted. Needless to say, Paloma’s (or Maria’s) experience wasn’t exactly the experience I suggested companies try to create in my series on service calls. […]