I had been a Dish subscriber for the better part of 6 years and earlier this week I canceled my Dish service. Based on conversations with your customer service representatives, I should make clear from the beginning that I researched packages from all of the providers in my area. My new service provides a significantly wider range of programming at a much lower cost than comparable programming packages of all other providers including Dish, both during and after the 12 month introductory period. That said, it was not cost or even range of programming that ultimately resulted in my decision to leave Dish. Rather, it was the long term customer care I received.
The genesis of this began last year when I changed my long standing Dish package from some 200 channels to a programming package of less than 100 channels. I made the change via my Dish internet account so no customer service representatives were involved. However, at a time when competition for subscribers is significant, I would have thought that someone from Dish would note that a long time subscriber had made a significant reduction in programming and called to ask why. To date, Dish has shown no interest in the reasons behind that change. My immediate thought was that Dish did not value what its long time subscribers were thinking.
Several months later, I reduced my service again by discontinuing two of my three Joeys. I spoke with one of your customer service representatives who was very pleasant and helpful. She made arrangements for the return of the Dish equipment and asked the reason for my change. I explained that, while cost was part of the issue, the main reason was that we had fewer people in our home. She noted that and we concluded the call. Since there was no follow up call from Dish, my belief that Dish did not value what its long time subscribers were thinking was reinforced.
Earlier this week, I canceled my Dish service. The first customer service representative I spoke with was pleasant, helpful and then transferred me to a second representative who handled accounts. That's when the contact actively deteriorated. The second customer service representative began the conversation by demanding to know why I didn't call Dish before deciding to cancel my service and effectively chastised me for not giving Dish a chance to see what it could do for me first. Feeling somewhat shocked at her approach, I replied that, as a customer, it was not incumbent on me to ask Dish for inducements to remain a customer. We continued the conversation with your customer service representative never deviating from what I can only describe as attack mode each time I asked for an explanation or provided information. A day or two later, another Dish customer service representative contacted me. The purpose of this much more positive contact was to offer an inducement to return to Dish by reducing my cost of service by $58.00 per month for ten months. During the conversation, I explained that I did not feel Dish valued its long term subscribers and a major part of my decision to cancel service was what I considered Dish's lack of customer value. I did agree that free HD for life was a $10.00 value. Your representative asked if I would reconsider canceling my subscription and I refused stating that I'd already contracted with another provider.
Simply put, customers like me are the only reason Dish is in business. Your level of customer service, that is how your representatives interface with your customers, says more about your company than any advertisement, programming package or range of equipment. If Dish truly valued me as a customer, its customer service representatives would never have attacked me or made me feel chastised for not calling Dish before making my decision. More importantly, Dish most certainly would have followed up each time I made a significant change to my programming rather than choosing to wait until I canceled service before offering meaningful inducements to remain with Dish. I should point out that the offer to reduce my monthly bill was relatively meaningless in that I'd already contracted with a new provider which means reducing my Dish cost of service by any amount was impossible.
The bottom line here is that customers are being presented with an ever increasing range of ways to watch television which makes for a very competitive environment. With internet streaming evolving at an explosive rate, competition for those customers will become even greater. Dish obviously recognizes the potential of streaming internet hence the Sling app available on Roku and other internet players. However, it's the long term customer care provided by Dish that will ultimately tip the scales in its favor or that of another provider. It is never acceptable to attack or chastise customers for their programming decisions. Dish needs to expand its customer service training programs to ensure that its customer service representatives are courteous and helpful regardless of the reason for the contact. Dish needs to actively contact its customers to offer meaningful inducements to retain subscribers. Temporary free access to premium channels like HBO is not truly a benefit, it's an advertising method designed to sell increased programming. A one time $50.00 reduction in a monthly bill when a friend subscribes to Dish is not a meaningful benefit, it's a temporary reward for using your customers to successfully advertise your service. Offering free HD for life when a customer elects to use autopay is more meaningful but not terribly significant. While the $10.00 per month bill reduction is nice, more often than not the decision to use autopay is based on the ease of ensuring that the bill is always paid on time. That, in itself, is the greater benefit whether you offer a reduction in the cost of service or not. Offering a substantial reduction in cost of service in response to a request for service cancellation is generally too little too late. If a customer has already contracted with another provider which is usually the case, its meaningless. Further, this approach leaves your former customer asking a very vital question: If Dish can do this after I've gone elsewhere, it could have done so earlier, why didn't it? Perhaps offering a temporary 25% or 50% reduction in monthly service costs over a six or 9 month period for those long term customers who always pay their bills on time would be much more meaningful. Finally, nothing is more critical than a real dialog with customers. It's the single most important thing a company can do to remain successful in the long term. When customers, especially long term customers, make substantial changes in service, Dish needs to actively follow up with a phone call rather than a passive internet survey that pops up when a website is accessed. If service is increased, thank your customer, find out what's good about the change and what could be improved. When a long term customer makes a substantial reduction in service, it's vital that Dish understand why. Customer contact on a personal level says you're interested in your customers and inspires their loyalty which is critical when choosing a provider. The information you gain from those contacts lets you know what your customers are thinking so that you can make changes to your service that allows Dish to remain competitive.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Please note, this was posted to the Dish Facebook page. Dish claims to have a policy of replying to posts within 7 days of the posting. Well over 30 days have elapsed and I'm still waiting for a reply