Here is what Direct TV thinks about its customers from the mouth of their employees. Its is mostly the customers fault. While I sit here for over a week with my Direct TV seizing up every 5 minutes. After spending hours on the phone with them. It like they feel I have some control over their programs seizing up. But remember DO GET UPSET, because they only read from a script and we are suppose to be understanding of that while they take our money and give us crapping service, WE NEED TO BE POLITE AND SWEET TO THEM. We cannot show our frustrations because it might hurt their feelings. Read below straight from their employees mouth and see how it is the customers fault that DIRECT TV SERVICE SUCKS AND THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS SO MUCH WORSE. CUSTOMER BEWARE--NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE TO BLAME!!!!!
Posted by Anonymous
for all the customers out there who took their time to rant about how bad customer service DirecTV have, well, you might as well take time to read this post from one of the employees and reconsider your "rant" if its really that "reasonable" before you post your comment.
Direct TV � Well, since what I am about to say is probably confidential and proprietary, then I will not post my name or the center for which I work. I am a former supervisor from an outsourced call center that took DTV calls, and currently I am a technical agent at one of DTV'scall centers. I have spent some time reading the posts here and elsewhere, and while there are some valid complaints (we would be remiss if we assumed that a company of DTV's size was completely without fault). However, more often than not, the issues posted on-line are due to confusion and ignorance of fine print policy, as well as industry standards.
First, one of the most common complaints that I hear about is regarding the "invisible" contracts. While I can sympathize to a point, more often than not the anger regarding these contracts is misplaced, as the customer agreement clearly outlines the policy, (this policy is available in its entirety on Directv.com, and I would highly recommend that all customers or prospects read the ENTIRE document BEFORE you sign up. This should be standard practice anyways...). Most customers are not aware (again, at their own fault), of the fact that the receivers that they "purchase" are not theirs to keep but are, in fact, leased. This includes the receivers acquire from Best Buy or other authorized retailers. The prices are exactly the same (around $199 for a HDDVR) regardless of whether one leases from Best Buy or directly from Directv. The fact is, the cost of a receiver (anyone who has bought a receiver can attest to this fact) is much higher than the one time lease fee, closer to $350-$500 for a HDDVR. We do not charge a monthly fee for a lease for any receiver. We do, however, charge a mirroring fee, regardless of owned or leased, for every receiver past the first one. That fee is $5 per extra receiver. The advantage of leasing equipment is that we can reduce our costs, and therefore replace your busted receiver for free instead of making you purchase another one. However, because of the fact that we live in an age of limited accountability, it is impossible for us to determine if a receiver is faulty due to a malfunciton or an intended cattle prod (yes, it happens FREQUENTLY). Even so, we still cover the replacement receiver, but we think its perfectly reasonable to ask that you cover the shipping. After all, our property was working fine when we sent it to you, and we aren't making you pay for the damages. The downside to this lease is that it DOES carry a 24 month agreement, and this is how we can discount the cost as far as we do. This is not just DTV, but many other companies do this as well. The cell phone industry is a perfect example, and anyone who has tried to cancel their cell phone service early will tell you, this is a common practice in today's economy. Welcome to America. Remember the adage: let the buyer beware. Read the fine print like Mommy and Daddy told you to...
Again and again, I hear complaints about the protection plan. $5.99 seems like alot, until you get a clearer picture of the situation. Again, we are not the only company with such a plan available for our customers. A broadband CABLE provider in my area charges $2.99, and again this is an optional plan. I have had many different providers in the past, and this is commonplace in this industry. Time and again, when I inform our customers that it will cost $49.95 for a service call, I get the same complaint: "You mean to tell me that you are going to charge me for fixing your equipment?". What they don't understand is that the ONLY equipment that we own are the LEASED receivers and that EVERYTHING ELSE BELONGS TO THE ACCOUNT HOLDER. Let this sink in for a moment. That's right, the FREE dish, with the FREE LNBs, and the FREE multiswitch (or the much more expensive SWiM equipment) and the FREE cabling, all installed for free, more often than not, belongs to you. It is now part of your home, and again we cannot be held responsible for customer negligence, or even the chance thereof. While MOST customers are very honest, it is still unwise for us to cover the cost of repairs to a system that no longer belongs to us. We do, however, provide a 90 warranty, so if ANYTHING happens to your system in those 90 days then PLEASE CALL US. The protection plan covers service calls (UNLESS the issue is customer caused. Again, NOT OUR FAULT), the shipping on receivers (just in case) and even the remote. That's right, if YOUR remote breaks, then you must pay to replace it unless you have the protection plan in place. This is not a deceptive practice, but instead another OPTION for our customers. If you have the balls to go without the protection plan, then don't whine when YOUR equipment fails.
Alas, most of the postings here reflect the same tune over and again. Poor customer service. I have customers try to bully me on a daily basis. What customers must understand is that this is not a problem exclusive to DTV, but instead inherent to call centers in general. I have been in customer service for a significant portion of my career, and as any customer service agent can attest, the customer is NOT always right (GASP!!!). There, I said it. the cat's out of the bag, and now we can start setting things right. Most customer service agents will agree that the customer is not always right, but their job is to tell the customer that they are wrong while making them believe that they are, in fact, right. The idea of a never faulty customer comes from a marketing campaign from many years ago, and now our whining populace of consumers think that they are entitled to anything that they want. Guess what, if you try to bully an agent, they won't hang up (we have ways of making you THINK that we have), but you will make things harder for yourself. Once again, this idea is not exclusive to DTV, but to MOST companies in the world. The fact is that DTV has switched their primary metrics for their call center agents. Outsourced call centers enforce Average Handle Time (the length of the call, measured in seconds) as the primary metric by which to measure the performance of their agents. This is because the more calls that they can take, the more money they can make. The downside is that the customer service goes out the window and the agent is only looking for a quick fix to get you off their phone. As a result, a simple issue might be mishandled at the hands of an inexperienced agent, only to be further bungled down the road until the problem takes much longer to straighten out than it should. By the way, call centers in general experience extemely high attrition (mostly due to abusive customers) and therefore it is difficult for ANY company to retain their employees. A direct result of this inherent problem is that more often than not, the agent with which you are speaking is inexperienced and scared to death of you. I was long ago, but no more. A while back, DTVs focus was first call resolution. This means that you would call in and get the results that you were entitled to, but since it took longer to solve an issue you would have to actually wait on hold longer, and this would make people more angry (making it harder for us to HELP you) and therefore, upset customers would complain about this. So, sometime ago, (not sure when) DTVs focus shifted from first call resolution to AHT. As a result, we can get to you faster, but then again, customer service goes out the window. The simple fact is DTV, as well as EVERY OTHER CALL CENTER FOR WHICH I HAVE EVER WORKED, uses on-line references to tell us what to do and say. Yes, that's right. We use scripts. Be thankful if you get an agent that disregards these stupid scripts and actually tried to focus on fixing your problem. The reason that many customers feel that they are getting a resolution forced down their throat that doesn't make senseis because that is actually the case, more often than not. The fact is, our quality department will penalize us for NOT running through their stupid scripts. I won't go into details, but the on-line reference that we use is sub-par at best, and this drives up our AHT as we have a difficult time just FINDING the issue in our tools to resolve it for you. Again, experience is key here, as tenured agents are hard to retain and hard to come by. DTV is a great company for which to work, but the customers make this job unbearable.
The fact is that since day one, DTV has set itself apart (at least, for me it has) by focusing on customer satisfaction. We even have a several hour course that we are required to complete during training on customer care and how to interact with customers. As you walk through the center, you see posters, banners, and messages everywhere, all screaming the same thing: The customer is the MOST important part of our company, and customer satisfaction is the most important thing to our company. When the customer comes first, the customer will last, they say. Our QA department focuses on only 2 aspects of the call: relationship (how the agent will affect the business relationship with the customer) and resolution (whether the solution was appropriate for the customer). ANY thing that could POSSIBLY negatively affect ourrelationship with the customer is marked against us. Don't get me wrong, just because you THINK that you are right doesn't mean that we are going to throw credits at you just to satisfy you. This would negatively affect our relationship. The fact remains, no matter what we do, no matter how much we care (and we do...by the way), we are just not going to make most people happy. FYI: going back to the service call issue, it costs us more than DOUBLE to send out a tech to repair YOUR equipment. About a year and a half ago, we even DROPPED the cost of our SCs from $79.95 to $49.95, JUST TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. Based on the posts herein and elsewhere, even this is not enough.
As far as the rebates, I have no idea. I do know that one of the biggest obstacles to our billing agents is the ignorance of our customers regarding our billing policy. Most customers believe that we bill re-actively, for the previous month. I don't think so. Instead, we bill for the upcoming month. For example, if your bill is generated, say, on the 4th of the month, then the bill you are paying is from that day until then next 4th. This means that you are paying for the upcoming month, not the previous month. Therefore, if you ever lose your services midmonth (such as when YOU don't pay your bill) then you get a partial credit to cover the difference, because we aren't going to charge you for service if you are cut off. However, the downside is that when your services are cut back on, your going to regain the remaining charges to cover your precious TV until your next bill. Since you probably didn't pay this difference, then it is simply tacked on to your next bill, where your next month of service is being charged there as well. Do you have any idea how hard it is to calm down a customer that just doesn't understand this? Do you even have the slightest idea how hard it is to educate the customer on this (industry wide) pratice AND get them to pay their bill AND get them to like it? All in under 10 minutes? No wonder attrition is so high in call centers.
FYI: when you call, asking for a supervisor is a BAD idea. Its not a matter of authority, its the simple fact that supervisors are not accountable for AHT and will NOT budge on the policies. Also, more often than not your not even talking to the supervisor, but instead a more tenured agent standing in while the supervisor is busy. No offence, but customers have threatened our lives, screamed obscenities, cursed our mothers, and been EXTREMELY abusive. Why in hell would we care if you get your tv on at that point? If you want results, respect the agent (NOT just DTV, but customer service agents EVERYWHERE), be nice, firm, and polite. Respect their primary metrics (AHT, Quality, and CSAT) and they will do ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN FOR YOU. We will beg our supervisors to give you credits, we will provide special offers that are available to all customers (we don't provide them to abusive idiots, quality be damned) and will go out of our way (even risking AHT in the process) just to make you happy if you are polite and courteous. Trust me, people who get yelled at for a living will bend over backwards for the nice people in this world. Trying to bully an agent, especially when its YOUR FAULT is going to tie up the phone lines and make your life even worse. Guess what, the reason you were on hold for so long is because some jerk was arguing a lost cause with an agent for 40 mins and then the supervisor, all because he thought that he was always right instead of paying his bill, or letting the agent help him fix his system.
As always, read the fine print on the agreement before you sign the dotted line. Yes, we retain credit card information on file, because we are trusting you with hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars worth of equipment and we are going to retain ANY information given. That means addresses, phone numbers, names, social security (we NEVER ask for SSN when troubleshooting systems) and credit/ debit card information. That way, JUST IN CASE someone DOES rip us off (HAPPENS EVERY DAY, FYI...) we have some means of recovering our losses. Welcome to America, where this is practiced every day with most companies in the country, and even the planet. As always, I would advise you to research your business partners (TV providers, cell phone companies, etc...). This should go without saying. However, considering the current economic crisis, it really doesn't surprise me that customers have no f*cking clue what they are doing when they sign up. You have been warned.