Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

A Race To the Bottom

Written on February 2, 2015 by Brett Nordquist
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I’ve been a customer of DirecTV for just over 14 years.

Yesterday, I called DirecTV and cancelled my account. To their credit, they didn’t hassle me very much, and only read off a script a few times to remind me that DirecTV is better than anyone else.

Let’s perform a little back of the napkin math: $100/month for 14 years comes out to just under $17,000. I’ve also recommended DirecTV to a number of friends and family bringing that total much higher.

I didn’t want to leave. There’s a certain amount of hassle involved that I’d rather avoid that includes returning my receivers, signing up for new service and learning the ins and outs of a new system.

Yet I still decided to take my business elsewhere. Why? Because I lost trust in DirecTV.

When I moved from the Seattle area to Utah nearly two years ago, I signed up for DirecTV’s Dish Mover service. I left my dish, took my receivers with me and a technician showed up at my new home to setup new service. After a couple of hours, he handed me the remote control and said, “Oh, one thing I should mention: we’re not able to provide your local channels in HD.”

What?

I had spoken to a DirecTV representative on at least three different occasions, and none of them mentioned this. Well, none until the installer was ready to leave.

Each time I called to inquire about the status of my local channels  I was told that I needed to have patience. Well, I ran out of patience yesterday as I sat at home watching the Super Bowl in standard definition. I decided I’m done paying for a service I can’t receive.  

So I’ve spent a few hours looking at TV options either through another satellite provider or cable TV service. And I have to admit, it feels like shopping at some of those flashy, over-the-top PC builders. It’s the hard-sell with promises galore where even the discounts have been discounted.

We’ve got a race to the bottom in the PC industry where the only thing worse than losing is winning.

Last week, I spoke with a customer who was after a certain type of laptop that we don’t carry at Puget Systems. He explained how he planned to use it, and I knew that the models we offered were not a good fit. Since I had used one of the models he asked about, I went online and helped him parse through all the choices until he found what he needed.

Did Puget Systems lose a customer that day? I don’t think so. Taking care of the customer doesn’t end when your products aren’t a good match to the customer’s needs. 

I’m glad I work for a company that has decided not to participate in a race to the bottom. I’ve never been asked to read off a script of excuses in order to keep a customer at any cost.

My job is simple: Make sure the customer has a good experience with Puget Systems.

We occasionally make mistakes, but we don’t mislead our customers. There are times when we may listen to your needs and suggest an alternative product we don't offer. I wish DirecTV had been willing to do that for me two years ago.  

Tags: DirecTV, Service, Loyalty