DirecTV has been a darling of the multimedia world in terms of customer service. Somehow they managed to hire great agents who do anything to make the experience great.
After getting bombarded by AT&T and Time Warner with offers to bundle my home phone, internet and TV, I thought I should check it out and make sure I was getting the best deal from my current providers.
So I called up DirecTV and was transferred to their retention department. My plea? DirecTV, you’re too expensive, what are you willing to do to retain me as a customer?
They were willing to offer up all kinds of deals including a new HD receiver for my small kitchen TV, discounts off my HD service, and free services tied to the purchases of other services (e.g. free NFL Superfan as part of NFL Sunday Ticket). All told, it was in the neighborhood of $450 in savings and credits which came close to the deal I would have received had I switched my service to Time Warner cable.
A couple weeks later, I received a bill for the HD receiver, I didn’t receive a discount off the HD service and I was charged for NFL Sunday Ticket, although I didn’t agree that I wanted that package.
So here we go on another nightmare with a telecommunications provider.
Calling back yesterday, there weren’t any notes in my record of the deals I was supposed to be receiving. I worked with a representative in the retention department again to undo everything and netted out with a couple discounts on my monthly service fees. After spending 40 minutes, I had the rep. read back the notes on my account and give me her ID number.
Last night, the Showtime Channel, which I pay for, wasn’t available on my system. I called back again and went right to the retention supervisor. For some reason, the agent removed Showtime from my account. Ten minutes later, it was reinstated and I wound up with 6 months of free Showtime.
Can you afford to run a bad operation?
What’s it worth to have a great operation? How much are you willing to spend to make sure things are operating at peak efficiency and peak profit?
I’ve written a lot about the importance of the experience. The importance of customer service and of employee training in product knowledge. We come to expect poor service when dealing on the phone with just about every company, especially utilities.
But all the discounts, credits and freebies in the world won’t make up for the 1.5 hours I wasted. More importantly, the damage to DirecTV’s reputation is done. If I’m going to get the same [lack of] service with DirecTV that I would with any other provider, why not save the money and just switch over the other provider?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING EXPERIENCE
A customer experience is a customer experience, no matter where it’s taking place.
As a retailer, your customers have options. Too many options. And contrary to the popular Osmonds song of old, “one bad experience DOES spoil the whole bunch girl.”
We all have zero tolerance in our busy, hectic lives for anything less than the ideal experience. But we’ve also lowered our expectations to a level that’s in the basement, simply because it’s rare that we have a great experience.
Imagine if you offered a first-rate customer experience. Imagine if your customers walked in and were greeted with a warm, friendly smile. Imagine if you and your team became the experts on whatever you were selling. Imagine what it would be like for you customers to have that amazing experience each and every time they walked into your store.
DirecTV used to offer this but for some reason, not anymore.
Stop imagining. Create a customer-oriented mindset. It’s not about creating a plan, it’s about creating a culture.
How are you going to create a customer-oriented culture?
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