Directv has a poor record

I enjoyed your piece in the latest edition of the Explorer. As a person who worked in customer service for more than 10 years, does consulting and writing on this subject as well as being a consumer I can relate to your story. DirectTV is in one of those industry segments that has an incredibly poor record of providing a good let alone great customer experience. The American Customer Satisfaction Index ( provides data on companies and industries that show the level of customer satisfaction. In general the telecom industry is one of the worst historically in terms of CS. There are other notables as well like the airlines.

What I have found in my studies is that senior leaders of companies say they want or have good customer satisfaction but rarely do they develop the culture and the sustainability to make it a reality. Let me site a couple of examples of companies I view as leaders in providing great customer experiences. The first is Zappos. Tony Hsieh who founded Zappos created a culture of customer experience when he founded the company. He embedded this into the company and its workforce and they continue to be noted as one of the best in the on line shopping business. The second is Southwest Airlines. Herb Kelleher did the same thing and Southwest continues to be noted as one of the best in customer satisfaction. There are others but personally I have experience with both of these companies and their leaders and they really do excel at doing right for their customers.

One other point to make here and it relates to your experience with DirectTV. Zappos and Southwest do make mistakes. What they do really well is recover from them. I had an experience with Southwest a couple of years ago when a flight could not land in San Diego due to weather. The flight got diverted and we had to stay overnight in Phoenix. Southwest was so well prepared for this situation that my fears of a disaster on a Saturday night were totally negated. On top of that the next day every Southwest person we encountered apologized for the inconvenience and on top of that my wife and I got a voucher via email the next day for future flights. We use Southwest regularly and they recognized that they wanted to keep us as loyal customers. Needless to say I tell everyone about this great experience even though at the time I was expecting the worst. Southwest gets my business whenever I fly.

My last point and one that we find companies don't always connect with is the fact that great customer experiences result in beneficial financial performances. Although companies struggle to connect the dots between the very satisfied customers and financial performance it does exist. Just think about your DirectTV experience. Although you have limited alternatives, maybe Cox or Comcast, you can switch and people do in this business segment. On top of that you have told thousands, no 10's of thousands about your bad experience. Data shows that it costs 3-10x more to get a new customer than to retain a current customer. Also, your word of mouth has an impact on those who might want to buy from DirectTV or anyone else. The results are clear but the links are not always seen or accepted by business leaders.

Your story was a great read for me. What I see as a tremendous opportunity is that even small businesses don't always get this. I can't tell you how many small business services I use personally. Rarely do I get asked how the services are performed. I think that companies are really missing the opportunity to provide outstanding customer satisfaction that results in business growth in the community. This grow is virile. When a small company grows they buy services from other companies and the whole community benefits. Stores, banks, employment, you name it they all get the benefit of a great customer experience.

Thanks again for stimulating my thoughts with your article. I hope it resonates with others.

Dan P. Wiersma

Oro Valley Business Club

Dealing with the DMV

Your story couldn't have better timing.  On Monday, I had the displeasure of visiting the Motor Vehicle Division on Shannon/Ina due to a "Photo Expiration Notice".  So, even though my license does not expire until 2037, who knew that there was a separate photo expiration date until I received it in the mail.  I personally think it's a quicker way to get my $12, but I digress...  I waited about an hour (with my two year old in tow) to be called to the window.  I walked up, sat down and said "good morning".  I was not even acknowledged by the clerk.  She continued working on something else, and she ignored me for 3-5 minutes before saying "what do you need" while still not looking at me.  I told her about my letter.  She kept doing... whatever... and several minutes later gave me orders to go wait for my name to be called at the photo booth.  No other words were spoken.

After posting about my experience on Facebook, I received several comments about rude behavior out of that department - to include being hung up on.  

I'm so glad that with technology as it is today, I rarely have a need to visit MVD.  It's not an experience I care to repeat in the near future.

 Take care Shannon G.

The thing about DIRECTTV service reps

I,like your husband, have spent many hours talking to Directv service reps. For the most part I have found them to be very polite but unable to resolve problems. I don't have a problem with the individuals who are simply doing as instructed. bur rather with the instructions. Yesterday we were unable to receive the local channels, this of course was the kick off to new episodes and outage occurred at 7pm. I was informed that they were working on the problem and all would be ok soon. When I inquired about some sort of relief for the lost service, none was forthcoming. After appx. 25 mins of conversation the local channels were once again available, but of course the programs were half over. 

On another occasion I requested that a service tech come out to adjust the dish for better reception, I was informed that a service charge would apply. When I asked for an explanation as to why a service charge would apply to adjust their equipment for which I pay a monthly fee I was informed that they GAVE the dish to me. How convienent, the one item that is subject to weather and probable need of repair is given away free. Also, people should be aware that if any part needs to be replaced, receiver, cable, dvr etc. it will be your responsibility to pay for the shipping and during the time you have no service you will still have the pleasure of paying the full bill.

I agree with your assessment that the company is focused on recruiting new customers at the expense of the CASH COW. As a result as soon  as my commitment expires I will become an ex-Directv user.  Now where can i find a provider that will respect me in the morning...

 Tom Stafford

Oro Valley

The call on DIRECTV is spot on

This was spot on!  The only thing lacking is for a whole bunch of us to take out a full-page ad in the AZ Daily Sun and/or the Explorer, telling people not to go with Direct TV.

Your husband being the one trying to contact Customer Service, I'm in your hubby's place because of my husband's health issues.  I do most things around the house, and have been exasperated beyond belief talking to these people.  Our office air has been "blue" many time,s cursing under my breath (and out loud when off the phone).   I get nowhere, and it seems Direct TV just doesn't give a damn about the thousands of people on the West Coast and inland who want to watch the NCAA football and basketball games.  

 We live in SaddleBrooke and there are so many people who are choosing another server, so maybe we should too.  I like Direct TV for several reasons but cannot comprehend the stalling we are getting through Customer Service and the so-called supervisors there.

 Sally Horn


I feel your pain

Honey, I feel your pain. Your article reads like you are part of the Baby Boom generation. If you’re not my apology to you. What I mean is that we were taught respect, courtesy, and Listen! Today its, get out of my way, it’s your problem and I don’t give a Damn!

Here’s my story of Customer Service with DirecTV. This past April I was laid off from my job. Ironically it was a customer service position. I was really walked out the door because I could not reach a call handle time of 90 seconds. So immediately my wife and I started cutting back on expenses of course. When she called in to DirecTV customer service she explained our situation. The representative said she could not help us blatantly, after I picked my wife up off the floor our response was Really? After a few seconds to recover she started going up the chain of command. She finally talked to a supervisor, explained what the issue was and gave us a discount of $12.00 a month for six months, which we accepted. Something better than nothing, I guess. We have been with DirecTV for over five years.

We then decided we check out other options and went with Dish Network. We ordered service on Monday, and instillation was Tuesday. Service is excellent and have no issues to date. Here’s where my story starts.

The following Sunday afternoon I get a call from DirecTV customer service Retention department offering us to come back to DirecTV, with reduced programming package for one year, Premium Channels free for 6 months and HD DVR receiver free and HD boxes up to 3 additional. I explained to the representative what had happened and that I was not changing services. It wasn’t the fact that I was disappointed with DirecTV; it was the fact they did not listen nor seemed to care in the beginning. Pretty Sad!

About a monthlater I received a letter in the mail from Vice President of Consumer Services. The letter was indeed an offer to come back, the offer was $29.99 for two years, 2 year commitment, free Premium Channels for six months (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, etc.) Free HD DVR plus 4 HD boxes, no install charges, and they would pay any disconnect charges that would be accessed from our current provider. WOW! What a deal! Of course I declined because I was happy with what I have, but wouldn’t it have been easier if the first representative could have helped us in the beginning? Look at all the time and energy was wasted because they did not listen or offered to assist us. That’s my story about DirecTV. Will I go ever go back to them, only if I have to, but as to now, NEVER!

There around 65 call centers here in Tucson, Arizona. The reason is because of the weather and plentiful employment. Most companies outsource there customer service departments so your not even talking to DirecTV employee. Big Companies! The agent your husband talked to was probably in Denver. They have no idea about Tucson and really don’t care which is exactly what he got. The number one goal for Outsourcing call center companies is called "Call Time." Most get paid by the number of calls they answer per hour per day.

In the beginning I said I was let go because I could not reach a 90 second call time. That means answer the call, listen to the customer, fix the issue and close the call. You hear about the sweat shops all over the world, work in a call center. It’s about as close as it gets.

 Thanks for your article in The Explorer.


Bad customer service story was timely

Your request for poor customer service stories was timely.  On September 20, 2012, we attempted to place a service call with CenturyLink regarding a buzzing on our landline.  We were told the lines would be checked remotely and that we would be called with the findings.  We were never received that call.  We made a second call.  Three and a half hours later, which a can best described as a nightmare, we were  finally informed that a technician would be out between 11:30 and 4:30 that day.  What a horrendous experience it is trying to communicate with offshore personnel, one cannot understand nor can they comprehend what you are saying.  Adding insult to injury, at one point there were two people on the same circuit!  Naively thinking that this unsatisfactory service should be reported, I attempted to place a call to someone in authority.  If there is such a person, I will never know as my call was unsuccessfully forwarded from one person to another. 

 A technician did arrive  by four o'clock, a nice  man who represents 

his company well.  What could he say?  These poor employees have to walk into a mine field of irate customers everyday.  They are the face of the company.  Our experience isn't  unique (check out complaints against CenturyLink on the internet). 

 Because all else had failed and we do live in America, I resorted to calling  the Arizona Corporation Commission.  When I told the woman I wanted to make a complaint against CentryLink, she in essence said, "take a number, lady."  She informed me that CentruyLink probably would not respond to the complaint but that I should file it anyway since when they go up for relicensing in Arizona complaints will be noted.

 To CentryLink's credit, a woman from the corporate office in Phoenix did call me.  I'm sure that the only productive accomplishment I made was that I was able to ventilate.  Corporate policies are almost impossible to change but rest assured this Oro Valley housewife is going to keep trying.

 As a suggestion, wouldn't it be a good idea to hear about  the companies who do give excellent service?

 Christine Tucker 

(1) comment


Customer service has become quite problematical. Here's another take at

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.