I was a loyal DirectTV customer for over 6 years. That loyalty was never acknowledged or even noticed until I dumped them for Dish Network last week. I went from $65/month to $30/month with much better equipment and better channels.
What is even more amazing than my delay in switching years ago is the attention DirectTV is now lavishing on me. Within 3 days of canceling my service I received from DirectTV:
- 2 or 3 calls from “the office of the CEO”
- an e-mail requesting 10 minutes of my time to complete a survey about how they rank against my new provider
- multiple offers to almost match the Dish Network pricing
In the 6 years I was their customer the only letter I received from DirectTV was to inform me that I was 1 week late paying a bill. I never received a call, e-mail or letter asking me to rate the service I was receiving. I did get offers for cash if I sold their product to friends and family which I find very distasteful. If I wanted to sell TV service, I would work for them or Dish Network.
If the CEO of DirectTV were to engage my services to help retain customers, here is what I would recommend:
- Stop asking your customers to sell your products. Instead, offer them a $10 credit for taking a 10 minute survey to tell you how good/bad your service is in comparison to other options. This is how you make improvements.
- Use your employees to test your products and provide feedback. Protect their anonymity so they are free to be truthful. This is something your marketing and product management teams should be doing ALL of the time.
- Instead of mailing letters to tell of missed payments, offer an “award” for paying on-time for a year. $5 or $10 credit goes a long way, as does 2 free PPV movies. Send notifications to the TV when payments are late 1 to 5 days, 6 to 10 days, run a large banner across the screen making it impossible to enjoy the programming. Suspend the account after 10 days. All of this costs nothing to maintain.
I am proof that it takes very little to retain a customer, but you do need to do something to show appreciation. All sales are relationship sales. If there is no relationship, then customers will go to the cheapest equivalent option.