How to Confuse Your Customers … If That’s Really the Goal

0
45 views

Share on LinkedIn

I continue to be amazed at how companies can do so many things wrong and not see it.  This story is a little long, but there are many points/lessons within it, so bear with me.

The FCC recently removed the requirement that cable companies be compatible with DVRs and similar that are not theirs, such as Tivo. This now gives those cable companies the opportunity to create a stronger bond with their customers or alienate them, depending on their approach.

We became a Spectrum customer when we moved to Reno at the end of 2018. Got a good deal on the bundle (internet, TV and phone) and then, two years later they doubled the price. I get that, they all do it. A loss leader to create a customer.

I was not aware of the FCC rule change, and I started getting deluged by emails telling me that the TV adapters for my Tivo DVRs are going to stop working at some unknown time in the near future and I need to replace the DVRs. No explanation but an implication of a good deal on their DVR or Apple TV (unclear why that one). Called Spectrum and they could not provide an explanation. Called Tivo and they said it wasn’t true for existing installs but was true for future installs since the FCC rescinded the rule that the cable companies had to allow other equipment to be used.

It seems like Spectrum’s marketing communications team was prepared to blitz their customers while their ops team was not prepared in the slightest to explain what was going on and better yet how a customer could take maximum advantage of this “great” change.

This is a perfect example of confusing marketing communications with marketing. Spectrum had apparently not thought thru the customer implications (a marketing job), but had created a communication blitz (a marketing communications function). They failed to “think like a customer,” which is a core skill for marketing and marketing communications people.

Called Spectrum back and got yet another incomplete explanation of what was going on, and when it would happen. However they would not be supporting my Tivo adapters but if I switched to their DVR they would install it for me, give it to me free for 2 years and remove the cost of the Tivo cable adapters I was paying for. Have loved Tivo since they came out, but free is compelling and lowering costs is even better.

Scheduled the tech to come out in three weeks. He arrived. He was on a temp assignment from MI as they did not have enough techs to do the work here in Reno. He said the Spectrum DVR was two generations, or more, old, but we got it installed. It was talking so long to download its “stuff” that I let the tech go to his next customer thinking I could handle the rest. Silly me.

Upon starting up the DVR it told me that I did not have access to any channels without an “upgrade.” That seemed odd/silly. Tried to watch thru the Tivo and got the same message, so called Spectrum. I was transferred 4 times by friendly but unhelpful people until I got to a guy who might be able to help. He told me this whole process/”upgrade” that Spectrum was doing was a mess and that no one had complete info. In fact, when he finished helping me, he had learned additional information no one had told him.

Long story shorter, he got the Tivo boxes working again, and I have since returned the Spectrum DVR. He did say that he was told the Tivo boxes would stop working on or about August 15 due to a system upgrade in Reno. He fixed it on the 19th and so far, it is still working. Meanwhile I have determined how to leave Spectrum if needed.

Spectrum badgered me into thinking I needed to change. They sent me almost 50 emails telling me that I was in danger of losing service. However, nobody could tell me about useful options other than their free DVR or an Apple TV. The training for their support team was beyond abysmal. How does that happen? Their marketing communications team had the blitz covered, and then some, but the company people who needed to explain options were not trained. A marketing failure.

They have succeeded in creating a potential former customer because they cannot explain the options, which it turns out are several and may be better than Tivo and virtually free.

They had the audacity to send an NPS (sort of) survey, which I did not bother to complete because it was supposedly about the tech installer, which was not remotely the problem.

Stop thinking inside-out when you are going to make changes that affect your customers. They are the only thing that really matters. I get that ops will possibly have it hard, but as someone said to me a long time ago, you can solve 100% of your ops problems if you lose 100% of your customers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here