It's that time again.
Every two months as you probably know, Ellen Filipiak, SVP of Customer Care at DirecTV writes a blog entry on the progress they're making in both fixing the problems that they've had with a lot of their customers over a long time and the new stuff they're doing. While the reviews have been mixed, I have to admire Ellen for her absolute commitment for sending me something each two months and always on time. She's been awesome about that.
This month, the discussion is considerably more straight - comparing where they were a year ago (when she came onboard) to where they are now - which is a legitimate horn tooting because it acknowledges the problems they've had in the past with their customers and shows what they're doing to fix them. The fact is, as a customer I want them to both acknowledge it and to then solve it. I don't want them to be bad. I want them to be good. This month, a real live set of steps. Not marketing hype. Straightforward. Good for her. Looks like she might be the person DirecTV needed.
Ellen, take it away.
Filipiak Steps to The Plate....The Pitch....And There's A Drive!...
As 2008 moves forward, I thought I might return back to an earlier post from late last year to highlight actions we've made within DIRECTV as a result of our call center visits to learn more about the customer care organization and find ways to improve on current practices.
We also reviewed our online site and fundamentally asked ourselves how we answer each customer inquiry to discover better approaches to customers' questions.
Here are actions resulting from that review:
First, we made changes to our online platform. We made it much easier to register for online services; we reshaped our programming and hardware ordering areas; and upgraded our e-mail service to help customers find answers faster.
Regarding registration, customers requested two things: make it easier and provide flexible ways to retrieve their password and allow updates to their e-mail address at log-in. Our web team took this feedback and implemented these changes late last year. We've since received positive feedback from customers on these changes.
Until recently, adding hardware and changing programming was not intuitive or well-coordinated. Many of our new offerings are dependent on specific hardware tied to specific programming - so linking both made sense. Now, where programming and hardware choices are dependent and a customer has a decision to make, we added clearer messaging to help them make that decision. So if a customer decides to order our HD Access programming package, we now check their account to verify they have an HD receiver, and if not, we show clearer messaging that indicates it's required to have both. At this point, we provide the customer a choice to continue with their order with an HD receiver added or make another choice. Again, these changes were made by our web team based upon customer feedback.
We are also upgrading our e-mail software so that many questions can be answered while still on the site, rather than waiting for a person to respond. If the question requires a personal response, our new e-mail process will gather more customer information, helping our agents respond in a more timely and accurate manner.
Also, we will be adjusting our hours of operation on May 11th. We will be available 24/7 to answer technical questions and our automated self-service options (web and phone systems) are also available 24/7. Since most customers call with billing, account, and installation questions during the day, we are changing our hours and are readying our staffing levels to match that. Our new hours of operation for non-technical calls are 8:00am to 10:00pm based on the local time of the customer.
Finally, we are in the process of revising which calls each representative takes to help resolve issues the first time a customer calls. For example, over 80% of the time a customer reports a problem ordering PPV, the issue is related to their bill. From a customer's perspective, it seems like a technical issue - PPV won't work. However, by sending these calls to a billing agent, we can resolve the root cause of the problem. For the small percentage of calls that require technical assistance, we can also get them to a technical representative quickly.
While each of these changes has been quite an effort by numerous teams here, we feel each will make a difference in how we serve our customers as we continue to listen closely to their needs and desires throughout DIRECTV.
As always, I appreciate the opportunity to share the changes we are making and to hear your feedback. Enjoy the upcoming baseball season!
Senior Vice President, Customer Care