The DirecTV Debacle: How to Never Treat Your Most Loyal Customers

Published on December 12, 2013 by

customer service - put the cherry on top

So this weekend, my DirecTV went out. Or at least some of it did.

You see, we got a nice fluffy snowstorm here in the Midwest, and a decent pile of the winter wonderland decided to settle inside my dish, virtually obliterating a large chunk of my programming.

I considered sweeping the snow out myself, if it wasn't for the fact that the dish is about 25 feet off the ground atop a treacherously slick corner of my roof, which I wasn't about to step foot on. So I called up DirecTV to see if they could help.

And after several minutes of the obligatory "did you reset your receiver" script (which only screwed things up even more), they apologized, added a $15 credit to my account (whoopee) and set up an appointment for a guy to come out. The soonest he could make it? 5 days.

Of course, I was not happy. We would be losing a major portion of our programming for almost a week. And I expressed this in a very quiet and dignified way. (Really, I did. You can ask my wife).

Then I heard the absolute worst words you can ever say to a loyal paying customer:

"I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do."

Really? REALLY?

But if you're delivering a product or service to your customers and something goes haywire (and believe me--something WILL), fall all over yourselves to make it right. And then add a cherry on top to make it even MORE right.

Let me give you a little history on our relationship with DirecTV...

We've been with them for almost 14 years, buying their mid-grade package and leasing several HD DVRs for the house. We never mistreated the equipment, never missed a payment, and have never been the prototypical pain-in-the-butt. In fact, the CSR I talked to referred to us as a "5 Heart Customer", whatever that means.

In addition, we've been faithful subscribers to their NFL Sunday Ticket package, which beams my beloved Chicago Bears football into our southwest Missouri home. We've stood by and said nothing while this package has virtually doubled in price over the years.

But what happens when something goes all wonky in my satellite TV world, and I need something from THEM?

15 lousy bucks, a 5 day wait for service, and "Sorry, there's nothing we can do."

So much for the "5 heart customer" thing.

Long story short, I took matters into my own hands. I constructed a makeshift snow sweeping apparatus out of 4 broomsticks and some duct tape (can you say "redneck ingenuity"?) and knocked enough snow out of the dish to get things working again. But the point is this...

When you have a customer that's been loyal and faithful for many years, paying tens of thousands of dollars for your products and services without barely uttering a word, you DO NOT treat them this way.

These are the people you want to GET as customers, and KEEP as customers. And you should do everything in your power to make sure they're happy.

Did I want the President of DirecTV to helicopter in and fix things personally? Nope. But a free month would have been nice. Or at least some complimentary movie channels for a while.

Just SOMETHING with more value than what you would pay for a pizza. I think almost 14 years of dedicated service deserves that.

Needless to say, we're looking at dropping the whole thing all together and going with Netflix. And I can always find my Bears games online somewhere.

But if you're delivering a product or service to your customers and something goes haywire (and believe me--something WILL), fall all over yourselves to make it right. And then add a cherry on top to make it even MORE right.

Because customer loyalty is too hard to come by in this day and age. People are quick to jump to your competitors for any reason whatsoever, without even thinking. So don't give them one.

Rant over. 🙂

Until next time...


Jay White Jay White is an email marketing copywriter, consultant, trainer and speaker who trains copywriters and online business owners on how to write sizzling hot emails that get opened, get read, and get click-throughs. If you want a FREE video where Jay reveals 5 simple tweaks you can make to your email copy to boost conversions and increase profits, click here NOW!


  1. Al

    Jay, it may be helpful to call them again and ask for the customer retention department. It costs them hundreds of dollars to find new subscribers but if you politely and firmly let them know that you'll be glad to take your business elswhere, they may reconsider. But your point is well taken: they should bend over backwards to keep you happy.

    • Jay White

      I hear you Al. Still debating on what to do. Appreciate you chiming in! :0

  2. Malisia

    Hey Jay,

    I can see you expressing this in a very quiet and dignified way. Really I can, LOL.

    My dad and decided a few years ago to cancel direct tv. We didn't like the idea of paying all that money out just to be able to watch about 5 or 6 channels. That was about how many deceit channels to watch at that time. We watch netflix. I also just invested for Christmas in Spirit Clips (their is a link on my website if you want to check it out). It is put out by hallmark channel. That is the one channel I did miss having. Plus I watch some tv shows and movies on youtube.

    Besides all that, I wanted to say I liked today's blog post. I believe this is the first time I have been on this website. I will be on here alot. I learn from you Jay, you are a great teacher.

    • Jay White

      Thanks Missy--great talking with you today! 🙂

  3. Perry

    Hey Jay,

    It's been a long time. I picked this up on Twitter, which is a bit of miracle since I spend very little time there.

    Just as a friendly warning, a friend of mine hit some financial hard times a couple years ago and he and his wife decided to stop paying Direct TV thinking they would cancel the service for non-payment. What Direct TV did instead is to shut off all the channels but one and keep charging them the full price. After a few months, they figured out what happened and cancelled officially. They did pay the bill but learned a valuable lesson about how deceitful Direct TV was. They couldn't watch any channels but one obscure channel that they didn't even know about, and yet were billed full price for three months before they cancelled the right way.

    Obviously they should have cancelled the proper way initially, but you would think that the company would cancel completely on their own after a couple months of non-payment.

    And hey, you could move to Egypt or some other desert country that doesn't get snow. Oh, that's right, they just got snow for the first time in 112 years. Maybe the Virgin Islands. 🙂


    • Jay White

      Perry! Great of you to stop by. And thanks for the tip! 🙂

  4. Lynne

    I agree with you. This is not how to treat loyal customers. They should have said they apologize for the inconvenience and that they would do whatever they could to fix the situation. No one wants to hear all negative news. They could have said something positive like we are tracking someone to do the repairs or something...

    • Jay White

      Agreed--thanks for your comment Lynne!

  5. Megan

    Guys here is the thing The customer reps that u guys are talking to everytime you call in they have to follow policies and procedures . It's not always in there hands to make decisions. Neither the Supervisors can it's about the policies that they gotta follow it. And if u guys call in and demand for something whihc is not really availble or i'd say u dont meet the qualificatio the they sadly have to say no . Although , I do understand the fact that they have to be positive and show that they care about their customers! xx

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