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.


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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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:

  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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