I’ve had it with DirecTV. And I used to be one of DTV’s biggest proponents. Here’s a story of how one company used time—and bad business decisions—to demolish this customer’s loyalty.
I was an early adopter of DTV. Been a customer for 10 years. And the level of service—customer and product—has been precipitously declining ever since.
I’m not going to sit here and pontificate all the ways DTV has started losing me over the years; in fact, I’ve already done that. Let’s just say, over time DTV has been producing a lot of little irritating pebbles in my shoes, and this latest pebble, well, it’s become more like a rock.
So, DirecTV recently announces this new iPad app feature, where DTV customers can stream video from their DTV set-top box to their iPad. Great, right? Not so fast.
First, thanks in large part to the myriad morons throughout the media business, DTV can’t stream all the channels you pay for to the iPad, I’m sure because of various—and again, moronic—licensing agreements. Pebble #1.
(And for the record, I’m going to be the first to stand up and cheer—quite loudly—when someone steps up to reinvent the customer TV experience, likely Apple, by simply taking advantage of the greed and stubbornness of the media business morons that arrogantly juxtaposed themselves into a corner and allowed someone (see: Apple) to completely take the table from which they have been eating their lavish meals right out from underneath them. To all you morons I will happily proclaim: “Good riddance! You saw the table crumbling, but your arrogance prevented you from fixing it. Enjoy eating your meals from your TV table trays… watching Apple eat what used to be your lunch.”)
Second, DTV’s competitors (e.g., Comcast) have been doing the iPad streaming thing for awhile now, leaving DTV customers wondering… and wondering… and wondering when such a functionality would come to us. Do you think we don’t see that other TV providers are offering better features? Silly folks. Pebble #2.
Finally (though I’m sure if time allowed we could come up with other salient points of conflict), our friends at DTV decided to render useless the new iPad streaming feature for anyone with a jailbroken iPad (read: me—and a million other customers… I often hear approximately 10-30% of iOS devices are jailbroken, so, you do the math).
Pebble Rock #3.
Here’s an email I received from DTV announcing the new iPad feature—slightly edited by yours truly.
I don’t know or care why DTV decided to render the new feature useless to customers with jailbroken iPads, and it really doesn’t matter for the purposes of this conversation; I’m sure they believe there to be a few good reasons. What I do know is this: DTV purposefully alienated who are likely their most profitable, passionate and technologically-savvy customers.
As soon as I have the time, I’ll be permanently cutting the cord on DirecTV.
I’m confident when I call DTV to cancel, they’ll send me to their “Retention Department” in a last ditch attempt to try to keep my business. And they’ll throw out a bunch of wonderfully enticing offers. But that’ll just pour salt in what’s been a gaping wound for awhile—instead of showering me with offers that are irrelevant to me (I don’t care about the “Six Free Months of HBO!” you’re going to offer me, otherwise I would’ve called to threaten to cancel a long time ago), why don’t you sincerely ask me why I’m breaking up with you. And when I respond by telling you the truth (i.e., your crippled feature releases pushed me over the edge), transfer me to someone who can actually take my feedback and make a difference in your organization. It won’t save me from leaving you—that ship has sailed—but maybe, just maybe it’ll keep you from creating any additional
pebbles rocks you’re pouring directly into your customers’ shoes.
UPDATE (12/15/11): I figured out how to circumvent DirecTV’s stupid little jailbreak block, thanks to a helpful Cydia plugin called XCon.
UPDATE (5/3/12): It’s official—as of April 1, 2012, I am no longer a DirecTV subscriber. Five weeks now… and not at all missing traditional, paid TV.