DirecTV and How To Eff Up Customer Service in a Recession
In the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, DirecTV should be kissing my ass rather than probing it.
In my old house, after years of substandard service and creeping rate hikes with Comcast, I mistakenly called Comcast when I was moving and expected them to be responsive. Long story short, after the 4th call just to have my service moved (timing is important – had to keep the kids entertained during the move) Comcast had a) cut off the cable in my existing home and b) canceled the request to have my servince installed in the new house.
I wish I could remember his name, but I finally got one customer service tech who gave me his direct extension and told me to call him back to make sure that everything was done. I tried calling him back, but was told by the slack-jawed yokel who answered the 800 number that it was “impossible to connect me” with the very same guy. Here’s how the conversation went:
Comcast Slack-Jawed Yokel: “We can’t connect you to XXX. It’s impossible.”
Me: “How can you tell me that its “impossible” when it has already happened?
Slack-Jawed Yokel: [Perplexed silence].
Ok. I gave my dim-witted Comcast rep five minutes to solve my problem (I was on about the 7th call). When the clock struck five, I hung up, and like a drunken bar fly at last call when the lights come on, fell into the waiting arms of DirecTV. You had me at “hello.”
Been pretty happy for the last year and a half — until now.
Yesterday, I received the email (screen capture below) that told me ominously, that “as of March 4, 2009, new pricing will be applied to your account.” Note to DirecTV: I guess that they have heard the expression that if you are going to eff me, you should kiss me first.
Ok. I was born at night, but it was not last night. So I know my rates are going up – at a time in which many in the country are losing their jobs, and for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs, are most likely hoarding cash. That’s stupid, but not criminally stupid.
The criminally stupid part was providing me a link to click on “for more details.” So I’m expecting some sort of customer-service mumbo jumbo for “we’re bleeding subscribers and need cash, so like the federal government, we’re making you pony up.”
What I got, represented in the screen capture below — ALMOST AT THE EXACT, SAME SIZE AT WHICH IT WAS PRESENTED – was a .pdf file (don’t you think that DirecTV knows that abandon rates soar when you have to click on a link and open a .pdf??) that “explained” the price increase. Judge for yourself:
- If you can read IT;
- If it makes sense; and
- If it represents good customer service to explain a rate increase document that was written by the legal department.
DirecTV, you had me at “hello.” Hell, I even buy your MLB Extra Innings package every year, upgraded to a hi-def dish and receivers. I willingly GIVE you more money.
But when you lead with an email that says:
“Dear DIRECTV Customer,
Because your business is important to us, we want you to know about any changes to your DIRECTV service as far in advance as possible.”
and follow it up with an unintelligible and impossible to read .pdf form written by the freakin’ legal department, do you really think that I am feeling “valued?”
I can accept a rate increase. I am a big boy. Tell me. But don’t call me “valued,” don’t tell me how great you are by saying “we want you know to about any changes to your DirecTV service as soon as possible,” and then make it impossible for me to figure out why.
After an abusive relationship with Comcast, I may just need to take my DirecTV relationship to couples therapy – or head back into the bar at last call.