I’ve been a happy DirecTV customer since 2007, when I switched from cable so I could get the Big Ten Network when it launched (Go ‘Cats!).
My wife and I are moving to San Antonio, where we will be in a condo. I don’t feel like cluttering up our balcony with a dish, so I’ll be starting with AT&T U-Verse (which also carries all of the football “overflow” channels, so I can watch Northwestern games this fall). DirecTV runs a ton of ads about how it’s easy to move your service and get set up in a new location.
Unfortunately, their “cancel because you’re moving” process has a glaring weakness. I called a few weeks back to let them know I was canceling as of May 25 and that I wouldn’t be taking their service to the new address. I knew I would have to return my receivers to them, so I wanted to get the pre-paid shipping boxes sent to our house before the move.
I was told by the representative, “We will send the boxes approximately 10 business days after you stop service.” I replied, “Um, well I won’t be at the house anymore… why can’t you ship the boxes in advance?”
I heard the famous words that are anathema to good customer service: “It’s our policy to send the boxes after service is stopped.” I pleaded, but they couldn’t overturn the policy to send the boxes in advance.
So, I had the choice of canceling service at the moment (which cuts into their revenue a bit) and that still wouldn’t guarantee that the boxes would arrive before May 25, necessarily (or that was my fear). And, I didn’t want to cancel service that early… I wasn’t going to change what I wanted to work around their dumb policy.
I gave them my new San Antonio address so they could ship the boxes there. That would mean my wife and I moving the DirecTV gear unnecessarily (talk about “waste of transportation”).
Later that night, we had people over and I wanted to put on the Rangers baseball game in the background… I couldn’t find our local channels. It turns out that putting the address change into the system (for future use) meant we were now getting San Antonio local channels…. near Dallas.
That, of course, led to another phone call… and means I have to call again on May 24 to switch the address BACK to San Antonio. More “waste of motion” and the “waste of overprocessing” on their part.
I’m still half afraid the boxes will come to the old house…. AFTER we move. Bets on how many more phone calls this takes? Does it have to be this difficult? Is it that unreasonable that customers would want the boxes sent BEFORE their move? Is DirecTV hoping I will just “give up” and decide to get their service at our new home?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Innovation and Improvement Services for KaiNexus.