February 28, 2022

DirecTV

In early 1998 my cable television went down ... for a week. So I made the switch. I installed my own DirecTV satellite dish on my deck, ran coax where needed, and began my DirecTV journey.

In the early days, DirecTV was known for customer service. If we needed to call them, they reminded us that we were a loyal customer "since 1998". We (and eventually professional installers) put DirecTV in seven homes.

Eventually DirecTV was purchased by AT&T.

Eventually customers "cut the cord".

Eventually AT&T spread the costs incurred by departing customers on to those who remained ... a classic "dying brand" strategy that penalizes the customers who remain loyal, causing loyal customers to leave, causing the brand to spread even more of the cost across remaining customers, causing even more customers to leave ... you get the picture.

Our bill ... which used to be somewhere around $60 ... ballooned to $190. Inflation suggests the cost should have doubled over twenty-four years.

So on Friday I made the call. The AT&T call center employee made no effort whatsoever to keep me. Didn't offer his DirecTV Stream service. Just did his job in a kind fashion. Within five minutes, a twenty-four year relationship ended. Quietly.

All of us work for companies where this happens.

Product Preference comes in different forms. Is the customer loyal to Guy Fieri, Food Network, or the carrier that delivers Food Network into a home? Part of understanding customer Product Preference is understanding "why" a customer purchases what she purchases.

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