This paper will examine the importance of customer service to one of the world's largest deliverers of entertainment content, DIRECTV. This paper will begin by providing a general introduction to DIRECTV's business. It will then shift to a brief overview of the importance of customer service in the business of broadcast entertainment television. The paper will conclude with an examination of the importance of customer service to DIRECTV.
DIRECTV was launched in the mid-1990s and has grown to provide service to an estimated 32 million subscribers in the US and Latin America. It recorded revenue of $27 billion in 2011 and employs roughly 160,000 workers. The firm is notable for having won 8 Emmy awards because of its strong customer service record. Thus making it one of the major content providers of broadcast video entertainment in the world. The cable company broadcasts content through 285 channels, of which 170 are provided in the higher quality high-definition video. It's broadcast programming is varied and includes sports, movies, television shows, documentaries, and special interest programs. DIRECTV also makes its content available across a wide variety of platforms including television, laptop, tablet and smartphone. In addition, to its home consumer base, DIRECTV also provides its content to a number of business establishments. These establishments include hotels, restaurants, hospitals, airplanes, and motor vehicles ("Who We Are").
In general, customer service is crucial to any business for a number of reasons. First, customer service is needed because they are the main point of contact between the firm providing the service and the customer. A firm like DIRECTV, charges hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of dollars per year to its customers. For a product, that has a technical component, it's important for customers to have someone who can respond to their concerns in a timely manner.
Indeed, it's quite expensive, for a major transnational firm like DIRECTV, to even acquire customers. It's likely, a not inconsiderable sum is spent each year on advertising to promote their product. However, if a customer is unhappy with the service or their treatment with customer service representatives, it will have a negative effect on brand loyalty.
According to research, customer service can and should be promoted by any firm as a means to differentiate itself from competitors. This is because a customer that has had an unhappy customer experience is likely to broadcast it to as many as 20 different individuals (Suttle 25). This is in contrast to the estimated two to three individuals that a happy customer will relate their bad experiences to. Once many of these negative reports are aggregated, they can then seriously affect public perceptions of brand quality.
The importance of customer service to brand differentiation also needs to be amplified. Two firms providing an identical service to the same customer base may only have good customer service as the means to differentiate them to most consumers.
An example of this is recent polling concerning the firm Comcast. Comcast provides similar services to DIRECTV. It also benefits from enjoying near-monopoly status in many local markets. However, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, Comcast is considered one of the third-worst companies in the US ("What You Can"). One of the reasons is that its customer service is considered one of the least responsive and helpful of any comparable firm. Its monopoly status protects its somewhat. But this insulation from the free market won't be permanent. A firm, like DIRECTV, can provide similar services, using satellite technology, to consumers. It's likely a firm with a reputation as poor as Comcast will lose many of its customers eventually. So customer service is important to DIRECTV as a source of customer retention and as a solid foundation to expand its customer base.
Suttle, Rick. "Why Is Customer Service Important to an Organization?" Smallbusiness.chron.com, n.d. Web. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/customer-service-important-organization-2050.html. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013
"What You Can Learn from Comcast: One of the Worst Companies in America." Amprewave.com. Web. http://www.amprewave.com/business-development/comcast-worst-companies-in-america. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.
"Who We Are?" Directv.com, n.d. Web. http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/content/about_us/our_company. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.