Wall Street Journal Article About AT&T Acquisition of Directv

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by ctide21, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. ctide21

    ctide21 New Member

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    Very good article posted today on WSJ about how the deal in 2015 has become a drag on the bottom line for AT&T. Here are some other interesting quotes about how customer service reps were gaming the system to maintain compensation by deflecting cancellation requests
    "These reps were getting thousands of dollars because they knew how to manipulate the system,” Ms. Grant said.
    Cyrus Evans, a former call-center manager in Waco, Texas, said employees’ pay could swing between $50,000 and $80,000 a year depending on their performance, which was often influenced by how many disconnection requests they could deflect. Mr. Evans said employees often got angry calls from customers who had been promised their service would end, only to receive a bill the next month. He said the incentive structure rewarded bad behavior."
    Former AT&T workers said the company launched a new audit team in 2017 to crack down on support staffers making promises they couldn’t keep. Ms. Grant said this initiative led the company to fire some workers but several customer-care executives are still in their jobs.

    The company said its incentives reward employees based on customer satisfaction, not sales or disconnections. “We have a dedicated team that monitors customer interactions and I can tell you that reps failing to disconnect a customer for any reason is extremely rare,” AT&T said. “Our expectation is that customers receive a great experience. Our employees are held to the highest ethical standards and we consider anything short of that to be a serious violation of our company Code of Business Conduct.”
    It is a good case study in how fast things can change in business
     
    242424 likes this.
  2. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    $50,000-80,000 salary? For a CSR? And here we've been cutting them slack because of their compensation.
     
  3. DirectMan

    DirectMan AllStar

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    Sounds like a PR person at ATT who doesn't know **** about D* and is giving the company line. With such improvements they are rolling out why is there such a dramatic increase in disconnections. (it isn't just streaming). And who are the brainiacs that decided to buy D* in the first place resulting in tremendous loss in shareholder value.
     
    Rich likes this.
  4. west99999

    west99999 Icon

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    It is a good Union job with reps making up to $25/hour with bonus potential and awesome benefits. They can usually work as much OT as they want so I could see them making that much if they hit highest bonus every month and work a little OT.
     
  5. DirectMan

    DirectMan AllStar

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    If you read the comments to the WSJ article I would estimate that 95% of them are negative to ATT and the decline in customer service at D* since the acquisition. Shows that the comments at DBSTalk are not out of line from the general population of users.
     
  6. DirectMan

    DirectMan AllStar

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    "This year, about two million two-year DirecTV contracts are expiring, an opportunity AT&T plans to use to roll back discounts. “As those customers come due, we’ll get closer to market pricing,” said John Donovan, chief of the telecom business, at a November investor conference. “We’ll be respectful of our customers, but that will move up.”

    Such confidence that raising prices will not impact subscription levels. Brilliant mind.
     
  7. scottchez

    scottchez Icon

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    So next time we call to say we are canceling and going to Dish unless we get a discount, we really have to switch to Dish as there are no more discounts due to the crack down, is that what they are saying? Or is it no more $300 visa gift cards for new customer sign ups.
    Seems like ATT is recking a good thing?
     
  8. Jodean

    Jodean Icon

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    not surprised. att cut customer service after 9pm now, anytime i call i get the dept that cant do anyting, yet at 9 am anything can happen, used to be 24/7 could get any help. Ive personally been installing past midnight before. Cant keep customers waiting in the RV business at a county fair!! Nowadays you cant do sh*t after 9pm
     
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  9. wxman2003

    wxman2003 New Member

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    I have no doubt AT&T is all of a sudden offering great deals to keep customers from leaving so they can't get maximum value for their satellite business which IMO, they will sell off this year and focus on streaming. When I called and cancelled I was offered a no contract, 12 month deal that reduced the cost of my service from $97 a month to $33 a month after taxes. I would not doubt AT&T is telling their CS staff to keep as many customers as they can, even if they have to virtually give away the service. This is exactly what USSB did before they sold out to DirecTV. When I was a customer of theirs, you could get 1 premium channel for $10 a month. When they were negotiating with DirecTV, they offered a great deal, all premium channels (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc) for $10 a month guaranteed for 2 years. Virtually no one dropped USSB, and they were able to get maximum price per share from DirecTV.
     
  10. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    No that’s not what they are talking about. They are saying they told customers they’d cancel their account and other things of that nature then not actually do it so that they would get paid for saving a customer that they didn’t actually save cause they eventually called back and found someone who did properly cancel their account. And there’s no way this was an extremely wide spread problem, nor OS it surprising that some sales people found a way to manipulate the system and make more money than they should have.
     
  11. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I’d like to see a p&l sheet showing me DIRECTV is losing money. I know it won’t happen cause there’s no way they are losing money.

    Any idea pushed by anyone that it is is being done by a moron investor that wouldn’t know the first thing about actually running a business, only knows how to tell people how they should do it, and aren’t happy cause DIRECTV is marking millions but not enough millions in their personal stupid opinion.

    Absolutely ridiculous.
     
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  12. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Zero chance att sells of the sat business. Makes them to much money and their entire streaming backbone is coming from DIRECTV.

    The lose of subs right now may be decreasing the volume of profit but it’s not stopping them from making a profit.
     
    SamC likes this.
  13. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    He's talking about no longer giving discounts that last the full two years of the contract, they've gone back to what they'd always done where the discounts only last a year and you have to pay full price the second year.
     
  14. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    That was my first thought when I read the article early this morning. Second thought was the executives they interviewed have no idea what's going on.

    Rich
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I worked for a big corporation that was bought out with tons of debt. Didn't understand that I didn't understand why ATT bought D*. I did read about their reasoning, didn't answer my questions.

    Rich
     
  16. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Article said they got bumps in pay for performance. Could he have been talking about the tech support CSRs? If so, I have to wonder what performance. All they do is read a script and act on what they read.

    Rich
     
  17. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Raising prices is gonna raise the level of tech support? I kinda doubt that.

    Rich
     
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  18. dreadlk

    dreadlk Hall Of Fame

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    My thinking is that DTV sent in their corporate auditing team to examine how Directv could be made into a cash cow. The report probably stated that the areas that could be redone was CSR and to take advantage of the existing content provider contracts to expand into streaming.

    Both ended up being bad ideas because the CSRs and overall service and customer satisfaction was the cement that held the company together and streaming is a highly competitive market that has very little loyalty and an obsession with low prices.
    Low prices is not in ATTs vocabulary so they are pretty much doomed unless the mind set changes.
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Have you ever worked for a huge corporation? This kind of exercise goes on all the time. They spend more money trying to save money than they'd spend if they did things correctly. Yes, cutting CSRs who know what they're doing and replacing them with CSRs that have to read a script to find the men's room seems to be what happened here. The CEO was probably delighted with the money saved, at that level what does he care?

    If I wanted to I could get my TV viewing monthly bill down to less than $20 a month. So could everybody that reads this.

    Rich
     
  20. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    For many years before the AT&T acquisition, Directv's executives had said they didn't care if they lost the low revenue customers, because they saw themselves as the top tier video provider. AT&T seems to have continued that philosophy, which I think is correct, but bungled the customer support part of the equation - top tier pricing demands top tier or at least not bottom tier customer service. There's plenty of room in the market for high priced products that come with good customer service - just look at Apple. I'm not saying they are perfect, but you get way better support from them than you do from any of the other phone manufacturers, especially if you live near a big city and have the option of visiting an Apple store in person.

    I don't know if the executives in their ivory tower don't see all the stories like we see here, which are of course a fraction of all the frustrated customers, or just don't care and think the short term savings are worth it because they'll retire before the **** hits the fan. Some of the problems would be so simple and obvious to fix. For example, a subscriber ends service, send them a recovery kit for ALL their hardware, and let the receiving site direct equipment to refurbishing or recycling as appropriate. End the game of telling people to expect a kit and not getting one, or telling them they don't need to return something then charging them a NR fee. That's a perfect way to guarantee a customer never signs up with Directv ever again!

    Some, like installers missing appointments etc. aren't so straightforward, but even if you can't fix scheduling problems you could have an automated system that would call/text you when he's on his way, or notifies you once it becomes obvious he's fallen too far behind and won't make it out to you at all. Customers that are kept in the loop are less unhappy than ones who are kept in the dark.

    Neither of these solutions would cost much at all, but would improve their customer experience. Directv never fixed them while they were Directv, and they sure haven't improved under AT&T.
     

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