Monday, August 30, 2010

Direct T.V. Values New Customers MORE than Existing Customers

We have been Direct Tv customers for more than seven consecutive years. In the cable/Internet/phone service world, that is a long time without switching. You would think that retaining customers would be key to the success of Direct Tv, but I learned today, that Direct TV offers NEW customers better deals than they can offer their current customers. The whole scenario is bass ackwards?

Right now, Direct Tv is running a media blitz (ON THE DIRECT TV CHANNELS) offering 5 months of premium service for FREE when you purchase the ever popular NFL Sunday ticket.They are also throwing in the HD service for life, and HD DVR equipment too. The offer sounded great and since Mitchell has been hocking my chonick non stop about the NFL Sunday ticket, I thought I would surprise him with it.

Since the advertisements are being blasted on Direct Tv, and we are paying to see these ads, it did not occur to me that this offer would not apply to us. The offer is for First Time Customers, not existing customers. I called and shared my disappointment with customer service and explained that they are doing this all wrong. They should be WOW-ing me with promotional deals to keep me, rather than give the best prizes to someone who is new.

I was really pissed off after the call, and thought about how to fix this situation. The Direct Tv bill is in my name, with my cell phone as the account holder information. What if, hypothetically speaking, I cancelled my service, and Jeff Slutsky with a different phone number, signed up as a new customer. Would he get all the fancy bells and whistles? Hmmmmmm, should I monkey around with all of this to save about $300 and make my point?

Instead, I called back and spoke with the customer retention department. This is the call center that tries to save the sale when customers call in to cancel their subscription. I kindly and matter of factly told the agent that I wished to discontinue my Direct Tv programming. She was nice and asked the standard scripted questions. I answered them all, and told her I was upset because a new customer can get more for their money than me, a 7 year loyal account holder. I told her I wanted to cancel so that my husband could get his own service along with all the HD this and DVR that for the NFL Ticket package. I am sure she saw where we were headed and she had to agree with me on the absurdity of the whole thing.

In the end, the customer retention agent offered me a reduced price on the NFL Sunday ticket along with some equipment upgrades, since in 7 years our DVRs are old school. It was not as sweet of an offer as Jeff could have gotten if he were a brand new customer, but I was glad to accept the gesture.

It still bothers me that loyal, paying customers like me are treated like a second class citizen by companies. Direct Tv has it backwards.

Fortunately, the NFL Sunday Ticket will be playing on my HD television, and it will take my mind off of it, for awhile.


Melanie said...

We've had a similar problem with Direct TV. It is cheaper for us to bundle with another company and we have been customers for five years. They said it would be $20 a month for each month until our contract expires, which was 15 months, so $300! We're keeping it for now, but in 15 months, we're done.

KT in NJ said...

Delurking... I am completely and totally in agreement with you. My family has been a loyal DirecTV subscriber for close to 10 years because of NFL Sunday Ticket. But nothing peeves me more than paying $300 for the service when brand new customers get it on the cheap! Shouldn't DirecTV be rewarding its current customers?! Isn't THAT what good customer service is about?

I think I'm going to follow your strategy. We're going to get Sunday Ticket anyway because my husband can't live without his Packers games and I love the opportunity to steal a few hours to watch the Broncos play... but maybe we can finagle a lower price by saying we are going to drop DirecTV. If it worked for you, it will surely (right?) work for me?

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