This BNET article couldn’t be more timely for my own life and my opinions on empowering employees, flexibility to retain customers and general arrogance from management oh and not to mention general greed and scams when it comes to business models and I lump mobile, satellite, and cable providers all together in the scammers categories for consumer rackets.
In my own case though, my experience is with DirecTV, but the BNET piece is very similar as it relates to Delta Airlines blaming the workers bad manners for creating a crappy airline with crappy policies, crappy services, and a crappy attitude that is rotting the entire fish from the head down. Do you really expect employees to have a friendly customer focus when your corporate policy is to screw your customers and your workers every cchance you get?
It is a typical response of big corporations when they get bad marks for customer service: blame the front line and the people who have the most public contact. But what about an examination of the age-old argument that in the end, the fish stinks from the head?
What management should change
If Delta doesn’t change its checked bag policies, and its change-fee policies, and its ticket penalty policies, no amount of pleases and thank yous will make much of a difference.
Charm has nothing to do with on-time performance or baggage handling. There’s nothing remotely polite about getting a bag onto a plane — and then off of one.
Back to my experience with DirecTV. I gave them 4 different opportunities to save me as a client, but none of their people were empowered to save my business. I pay a nice premium every month to them and I also have been paying a $6 per month warranty on the boxes I already paid upfront for at $199 plus I then have to lease their boxes. This is a nice scam that I will deal with in a later post. In our bedroom we have a standard definition(SD) DVR, but we recently upgraded that television to HD. When the SD box started to have hard drive problems, I decided it would be smart to have them use my warranty coverage and swap it out for an HD DVR. Well, there is the rub… not only doesn’t the warranty cover it, so I would have to pay out $199 for the box, plus continue to pay the lease fee, they also require that I renew my account with them for an additional 24 months to replace their crappy equipment. They are trained to equate it to cell phones, but the difference is I believe the cell phone may cost AT&T $200 or more, but I don’t have any believe that these cheap boxes cost DirecTV more than $50. Its all a big scam. Anyway, not a single one of the 4 reps I spoke to and made clear they were going to lose me over this was empowered to just give me the box. So, I started looking around a lo and behold I found out that Dish Network has a better Sling loaded DVR that lets me watch live tv and recorded shows on my iPad. I also get all of the premium movie channels for $20 less per month than the standard package I had with DirecTV.
Bottom line is you better empower your customer service people to retain customers, because in 2011, I am armed with too much information to stay a customer if I find out you are trying to rip me off. Service is marketing and you better be able to deliver on it.
Update: Now I have received multiple calls from DirecTV offering to give me the box I want and save me money. They cal trying to belittle Dish Network. The hilarious thing is they are still not empowered to override the renewal process nor can they beat the monthly price I get from Dish Network nor the technology of the DVR. Dish Network did my install within 15 hours of my call and I suspect it was because I was switching from DirectTv. They know that DirecTV will call and call trying to prevent the cancellation. Too late and too little as far as I am concerned.