AT&T and DirecTV Combination Should Improve Consumer Experience

AT&T announced plans to buy DirecTV for almost $50 billion. I won’t comment on the deal, but want to make some observations about what this might mean for customer experience in the TV services industry.

As we show in our examination of the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings, the TV services industry delivers terrible customer experience. It has the lowest average score out of 19 industries. When Comcast and Time Warner came together, it actually combined two of the worst companies in delivering customer experience.

But the DirecTV and AT&T combination has more upside for consumers. As you can see in the chart below, DirecTV is one of the best companies in the industry across many of our Temkin Ratings (see Temkin Forgiveness Ratings and Temkin Trust Ratings). It also has a relatively (for the industry) high number of consumers that are willing to recommend the company. AT&T, on the other hand, is about average for customer experience in the industry, but it is above average in the other measures.

1405_ATTDirectTV

Hopefully the combined AT&T and DirecTV will focus on building differentiation through great customer experience. The bar isn’t very high in the industry and it’s already on the right path.

The bottom line: Great customer experience in TV services will drive loyalty

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 Responses to AT&T and DirecTV Combination Should Improve Consumer Experience

  1. Jeff Toister says:

    My bet would be the opposite.

    Since AT&T is the controlling company in a merger, I think we’ll be more likely to see DirectTV’s service and customer experience take a dip toward’s AT&T benchmarks.

    As an example, this is what happened when United Airlines merged with Continental:
    http://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2011/6/29/is-there-such-thing-as-the-united-airlines-effect.html

  2. I had a personal (pre-merger) example. My AT&T U-Verse bill for phone, Internet, and TV went up $60 in one month. They offered to get my bill down some by switching my U-Verse TV to the same package on DTV. That would have meant having an installer coming to my house and doing a good bit of work, all of the TV setups changing, and the loss of some nice DVR features from U-Verse. None of it was about me as a customer, it was all about AT&T. As a CX professional, I just shook my head as I churned.

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