How To Do Business
Posted by Euroranger on February 2, 2011
As has been revealed here many times before, the Gods truly do hate me. Case in point: at my house, mere weeks after Christmas depleted our savings accounts, we have been presented with dual demands on our finances. To wit, our living room television formed a suicide pact with the washing machine in the garage and they both committed appliance hara kiri last week. Now, to be entirely fair, both were old, decrepit things and they both had long ago surpassed their normally expected life spans. But, damn it, they both break within days of each other? Really? They couldn’t stagger their respective dirt naps by even a couple of weeks apart? Since the Gods who hate me are clearly involved here, that last question is uproariously rhetorical, by the way. So, anyway, for the past few days we’ve done with laundry piling up and having our living room abandoned. Being the proper husband I am, I assumed that the washing machine would take replacement precedence with the lovely and eternally talented Mrs. Ranger. Just when you think you know someone…we’ll be replacing the television in the next few days. Turns out, when it comes to a choice between “bored” and “naked”, “bored” is worse with the missus. Believe me, that one got written down as “she’s good with being nekkid”. However, to make it two points in my manly favor, I got to go TV shopping with my son this past weekend. We’re replacing an ancient Sony 54″ rear projection big screen TV that’s roughly the size of my first car. It’s only around 17 years old or so, so I’m not all that distressed that it finally gave up the ghost. Long before “Old Faithful” kicked the bucket, I’d had my eye on a nice 55″ LCD high-def TV. This bad boy ran around $1700 which was approximately $1700 more than I could justify in our budget given that the old TV still worked fine. Now, the title of this post is “How To Do Business” and my little adventure with replacing my TV will illustrate exactly how this applies. Illustration 1 follows:
I found myself this past Saturday at the local HH Gregg shopping for a new TV. I had a friend who’d bought three (that’s right, THREE) big flat screens last year to outfit his man cave/basement sports bar and he said they had done right by him. Lesson 1: do right by the customer and they will tell others how good you are. It’s like free advertising, you know? Anyway, I enter HH Gregg to look at TVs with Mini-ranger in tow. As is his habit, he is biologically incapable of passing a functioning toilet without making a deposit so after we locate the store’s mens room, we pass by a wall of plasma TVs as we make our way toward the LCD and LED TVs. Mini-ranger sees a big ass plasma TV with an exceptional picture and says “daddy, how about this one?” and I reply “I’m not interested in buying a plasma TV sport…come on”. Anyway, the store salesman Al, overhears us and while he’s professionally extolling the virtues of the $1700+ LCD and LED Tvs that I’m interested in, he says to me “I overheard you telling your son that you’re not interested in a plasma TV. Why is that?”. I proceed to tell him of my recollection (albeit admittedly dated) of the problems with longevity and maintenance of plasma TVs and that while I noted the plasma TVs were quite a bit more affordable than the LCD/LED TVs, I don’t want to be replacing it in 5 years. Al proceeds to inform me that while it is true that around 9-10 years ago plasma TVs did have those issues, they have largely been rectified and that they are now as reliable and long-lasting as any LCD/LED TV. Suspecting a sales tactic I ask Al bluntly “then why the price difference and don’t you make commission on these sales?” and he tells me it because there’s lots of people like me: their first impression of plasma TV quality persists and they simply won’t consider them and that his job is to sell me the best product for my needs despite the effect on his commission. Al discloses that he himself owns a plasma TV despite being able to purchase any TV in the store at the employee discount price. I like to think I’m a relatively open-minded guy and admit that I am NOT an expert on TVs and so I invite Al to show me the plasma TVs and sell me on them. Lesson 2: serve the customer’s needs, act in their best interest and treat them with respect. I am pleased to admit that Al did indeed sell me on the superior qualities of plasma TVs over LED/LCD TVs and the fact that the price is about 1/3 less didn’t hurt one bit. I will be returning to HH Gregg sometime between tomorrow and Saturday to purchase my new 58″ Samsung plasma HDTV and I will specifically be asking for Al so that he can receive his commission for the sale. Lesson 3: loyalty is a two way street – if you want loyalty, you must give it as well. Needless to say, the family’s anticipating having a ginormous high-def TV for this weekend and the wife is pleased to hear that it won’t cost near as much as I originally thought it might. Al and HH Gregg have earned themselves a new customer and we WILL be shopping there for our new washer in the next few weeks. Unfortunately for me, this story of How To Do Business has two illustrations and so, in the interests of balance, I must present the illustration for “How NOT To Do Business”. Illustration 2 follows:
Prior to the untimely demise of “Old Faithful” my household had three televisions. About 4-5 years ago we decided to go with Dish Network’s satellite television service for our home TV programming. I have to say, their service has been adequate and was of sufficient quality that I assumed I would simply be calling Dish to have them upgrade our service. We were no longer under contract with them and are a customer of long standing who pays their bill promptly each and every month. You would think, given the volume of advertising you see on TV between Dish, DirecTV and our local cable service Comcast, that Dish would be keen to retain their existing customers (like me). As this is what comprises Illustration 2, I’m sure you can figure out that this story doesn’t go like that. Earlier this morning, I contacted Dish through their website’s online chat service. That chat transcript is contained in it’s entirety below, edited only to change names and remove personally identifying info. Without further ado, behold: How To Piss Off And Lose An Existing Customer by Dish Network:
Please wait while we find a representative to assist you…
Welcome to DISH Network Chat.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Hello Euro.
Sultana (ID: B9B): How can I help you today?
Euroranger: Hi Sultana.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Hello.
Euroranger: I’m needing to speak with someone about upgrading my service to HD.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I’d be happy to assist you with your request.
Sultana (ID: B9B): For security purposes, can you please verify the last four digits of the Social Security Number on the account?
Sultana (ID: B9B): Thank you.
Euroranger: The programming package we currently have is fine. We’re replacing one of our 3 TVs with an HDTV in the next day or so.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Okay.
Euroranger: I’d like to find out how to go about that and what the cost would be to do so.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I will help you with that.
Sultana (ID: B9B): What type of HD receiver are you interested in? An HD receiver that records or a basic HD receiver? Would you need it connected to 1 TV or 2?
Euroranger: Right now we have a DVR receiver that connects to 2 TVs. One of those TVs is the one we’re replacing with an HDTV.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Okay.
Euroranger: So, the setup we’ll have is 2 TVs hopefully connected to a DVR but one of them will be HDTV.
Euroranger: The third TV is standalone and we can leave it as is.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Okay.
Sultana (ID: B9B): We have a great Existing Customer Lease Program, Dish’n It Up available with a 24 month agreement and a credit card qualification. This allows you to upgrade your existing receiver or add a new receiver.
Euroranger: We don’t currently use a credit card for our service with you. We simply pay our bill.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Okay.
Sultana (ID: B9B): But for this promotion you have a agreement as well as cr.card qualification.
Euroranger: So am I to understand that although we’re existing customers in good standing that Dish won’t extend this promotion to us without both a 24 month commitment and handing over a credit card number? Is that correct?
Sultana (ID: B9B): I am sorry, but its true.
Sultana (ID: B9B): IF you want than you can purchase the receiver.
Euroranger: Does Dish not want our business? I’m curious as I do have alternatives and this seems kind of a short-sighted attitude for an existing customer.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I am really sorry for the inconvenience.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Let me check that information for you.
Euroranger: Please do. I’d prefer to stay with you guys but I don’t pay bills by credit card for anyone.
Sultana (ID: B9B): By providing a credit/debit card to qualify, you authorize Dish Network to automatically charge or debit your card for any unreturned equipment fees and cancellation fees if applicable. The name associated with the major credit or debit card used to credit qualify the account must match the name of the customer listed on the DISH Network account. A temporary hold of $1 will be placed on the debit/credit card used to qualify. You will get this $1 back within 72 hours.
Euroranger: I’m sure. However, we seem to be trusted enough with Dish’s equipment now and we don’t have a cc with Dish.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I am sorry, but credit card qualification is mandatory to lease the equipment.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I understand your concern.
Euroranger: Then I guess Dish will lose a customer because neither Comcast nor DirecTV do this.
Euroranger: So’s we’re clear here…
Euroranger: I’m an existing customer of relatively long standing…
Sultana (ID: B9B): I understand your concern , However we need to have a credit card qualification is necessary, for the most of our promotions.
Euroranger: I contact Dish to see about upgrading my service within the same terms that we already do business…
Euroranger: Dish’s response is that my existing business relationship is insufficient to waive contract commitments or credit card use in order to simply upgrade my service with them.
Euroranger: Is that about right?
Sultana (ID: B9B): A credit card is necessary to recover the cost of the equipment, in the event the equipment is deactivated but not returned to DISH Network. We use this option instead of a deposit, making leasing equipment much more convenient.
Euroranger: What if I do not have a credit card?
Sultana (ID: B9B): In that case the option you can purchase the receiver.
Euroranger: As, in fact, I do not. I have debit cards for my accounts.
Euroranger: I see.
Euroranger: Well Sultana, I understand these aren’t your rules but I hope you’ll understand that this will likely mean the cancellation of my service with Dish in favor of a competitor.
Sultana (ID: B9B): I understand, but the system won’t allow me to permit for further.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Your satisfaction is very important to us, so I would like to transfer you to a special department for further assistance. Is it alright if I transfer you?
Euroranger: I suppose you can.
Sultana (ID: B9B): Thank you.
Sultana (ID: B9B) has left the session.
Please wait while we find an agent from the (20) Loyalty department to assist you.
Thank you for contacting the Customer Loyalty Helpdesk, I will be handling your request today. Please give me a few minutes to review the agents previous chat so that I can help you with your issue.
Euroranger: Please, take your time.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Thank you for your patience Euro, we have been very busy today but I will make sure your issue is taken care of in a timely fashion.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: I will be right with you.
Euroranger: As I said, please, take your time.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Thank you.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Thank you Euro. I see that you are looking at upgrading your equipment and do not have a credit card.
Euroranger: I contacted Dish as we are replacing an existing TV with an HDTV and would like to view HD programming on that TV.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Please give me another moment while I review your account.
Euroranger: I understand this will require a different receiver than the one we currently use.
Euroranger: As you do so, let me lay out my request as simply as I can.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Ok
Euroranger: I’d like to upgrade our service to HD programming for the new television while retaining the existing programming for our other 2 TVs. We currently have a receiver with DVR that serves 2 TVs. One of those TVs is the one we’re upgrading to an HDTV. I’d like to retain DVR service for both TVs as well.
Euroranger: If any of that wasn’t clear, please let me know.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Ok, You want to replace the dual tuner DVR receiver with a new HD Dual tuner DVR. I can try to set this up using your Debit card to qualify. I can not promise the debit card will work but they do sometimes.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: This does require a new 24 month agreement and there is a cancellation fee of $240 which is reduced by $10 for each completed month in the commitment.
Euroranger: So, I have no agreement now but I will be having a new 24 month agreement?
Euroranger: And you require my debit card?
Euroranger: I prefer to keep my service with Dish because Dish has given us satisfactory service but I am not interested in a new contract agreement and certainly not interested in using my debit card.
Euroranger: I have neither restriction now and see no good reason to assume them…not when I have alternatives that cost no more than Dish.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Ok, that is your choice Euro. I can not upgrade your equipment without either a credit or debit card to secure the return of the leased equipment.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: How else can I help you today Euro.
Euroranger: Perhaps you might answer a question for me?
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: No problem.
Euroranger: We have Dish equipment now and you have no card. How is your current equipment secured?
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: When you signed up for service you gave us a card ending in XXXX to secure the equipment.
Euroranger: So far as I can tell, it’s via my being a loyal customer. I dislike the inference that an existing customer is LESS trusted by Dish via a request to upgrade their service. Comcast cable has called my home twice this morning asking if they can schedule new HD service per a call for a quote for their service last evening.
Euroranger: XXXX is long dead.
Euroranger: We no longer carry credit cards.
Euroranger: I see.
Euroranger: Well, I’m sorry to have wasted your time. It’s apparent that Dish has determined that the relationship with an existing customer is insufficient to continue that relationship.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: I wish that we did not have to take credit cards to secure the leased equipment either but that is our policy and I can not change that Euro.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Please keep in mind that Dish Network is the leaders in HD and DVR services; we do have the lowest all-digital price in America.
Euroranger: Indeed. Well, if cost were everything then this conversation would be moot, wouldn’t it?
Euroranger: Comcast will be glad to hear of the inflexibility of your policies…especially when it comes to existing customers.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: If you purchase the equipment they there would be no commitment or need for a credit card.
Euroranger: I have an existing relationship with them for internet and they’re simply going to send me the equipment I need and the existing relationship we have is good enough for them.
Euroranger: Dish might could learn a thing about not insulting their existing business.
Euroranger: Can you arrange for instructions to be sent to my billing address for how we might return Dish’s currently unsecured equipment?
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: I can set that up for you now Euro. What day would you like the service turned off.
Euroranger: That will depend on when I can get the new service activated. I’ll contact Dish then.
Euroranger: Thanks for your time Gary.
Euroranger: I have other calls to make.
(18-20) Gary M.C5N: Ok, Thank you for contacting Dish Network. Have a great day Euro.
Thank you for visiting Dish Network. You may now close this window.
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You can imagine my surprise at discovering that “Have a great day” also apparently carries the lesser known meaning of “Go fuck yourself”…at least at Dish Network anyway. As you might imagine, this pretty much marks the end of my business relationship with Dish Network. A loyal customer for around 5 years who wants only to upgrade their service (and incidentally, pay them even more for it) and this is how Dish rewards such loyalty. Am I thrilled that I’m being pushed towards Comcast? Not really. However, I did indeed speak with them last evening to get a quote for HD service similar to the programming I have with Dish and THEY’RE delighted to send me the equipment I need without the use of a credit card or other such deposit. They just want my business and they don’t allow idiot internal rules to reign supreme in the quest for said business. With Dish, I get roped back into a contract and have to provide access to a credit card, which in my case, is a debit card. If you’ve ever used a debit card as a means of securing something, you likely don’t need to be told just how awful an idea THAT is. To be fair, I’ll have a 24 month contract with Comcast…but that’s because they’re discounting the bill for the first 12 months and again in the second 12 months but for just not as much. Since I’m getting something out of it, I get that and can accept the contract rules. Dish was offering nothing of the sort.
So, so long Dish. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Hope you know this blog post will stand as a testament to your idiocy and complete contempt for your customers. I know I’ll make it a point to mention my experience to everyone I know when the topic comes up. Good luck with that winning business model of “fuck the fucking customer”.
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.