Destroying Customer Loyalty

I cancelled my DirecTV service (www.DirecTV.com) yesterday after being a customer for 17 years!  I repeat — seventeen years.  In an age where millennial’s reassess and frequently change every relationship semi-annually — I have been using this SAT TV provider (redundantly with cable) for nearly two decades.  But I can’t take it anymore — here’s why.

I recently had the roof of our home replaced, and not unsurprisingly,  in the process the SAT TV roof antenna got moved (or otherwise disconnected) and my SAT feed went out.  Since I also have cable TV service — no crisis — but something I wanted to get fixed.

Attempt #1 — I called DirecTV on June 23rd and explained the situation and asked that a repair tech come out.  The “first available” appointment was July 5th (12 days later ! – Good thing I have “hot” backup with cable).  On July 5th at the end of the 4 hour service window a technician shows up and said (a) he is unable to get on my roof because it is raining and (b) he only has a 30 ft. ladder and he thinks he needs a 40 ft ladder to safely reach the antenna.    He said he’d set up a follow-up appointment with a technician that had a 40 ft ladder.  The “first available” follow-up was scheduled for a week later on July 11th (we’re now at Day 19).

Attempt #2 — The new tech missed the 2 hour window on July 11th and never showed up.  No one from DirecTV ever called or said anything.  Calls from us to DirecTV on July 11th and July 12th indicated “the system” showed the tech was at our house “for the last 24 hours” (when he clearly wasn’t) so “they would have to call the dispatcher and figure out what was going on”.  Perfect.  Clearly they don’t have a clue.

Attempt #3 — Persistent badgering by me on Tuesday July 12th (Day 20) resulted in getting a tech to show up on Wednesday July 13th (Day 21).  The good news is he has 40 ft ladder.  The bad news is he cannot “get on the roof” — as his company’s policy is only to service antenna accessible within reach of the ladder.  He apologizes and says that policies vary between subcontractors and he will get a dispatcher to follow-up with yet another tech that can service my unit.

The End — No one ever follows up so I cancel my service on Monday July 18th — 5 days later (Day 27).  The response from the phone agent who cancelled my account was “Wow — you’ve been a customer for 17 years I hate to see you go”.  That’s it.  I guess the phone folks already know this storyline and have seen this play out before.

DirecTV is  now sending me boxes to pack up my receivers and send them back.  Given my complete lack of success over nearly a 30 day period getting anybody to fix anything — I’m guessing they have this “ship the boxes back in” workflow down cold.

No one needs to explain to me how DirecTV intends to survive.  My takeaway is that they are a Zombie Corporation — they’re already dead but they just don’t know it yet.

Cheers.  DC

PS — Don’t get me started on my cable company — that’s a story for another day.

About dougcurling

a compassionate capitalist
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One Response to Destroying Customer Loyalty

  1. JOHN PATE says:

    hi doug – i had a eerily similar experience with directv over a bad box after 15 years (note: their “bad box”) which they wanted me to pay for the replacement plus shipping. the front line person could’ve cared less but the supervisor was stunned. however, dish came out the next day and i was with them for 3-4 years. we just moved and I tried u-verse. didn’t like it so i started my second “lap” with directv – got better pricing and okay service. they all suck so I guess the best way to play the game is to keep rotating through them. in closing, one interesting stat: the last directv guy who came out was from dallas ga – on loan to the austin area. he told me his area has 1200 calls/day and the austin area has 5000. no one’s going out of business any time soon although more and more people I talk to have foregone all of them and now stream exclusively. hope you’re well. come see me. john

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