I have to admit something. I am a devout, loyal and “raving” fan of DirecTV. There are not many brands that I would go to great lengths to advocate for, but DirecTV is one of them. There are several “moments of truth” that drove me to this kind of loyalty, one of them as recent as a couple weeks ago.
Since its inception, DirecTV has been an advocate for its customers over rising programming costs charged by network companies and passed through the operator onto customers. As I understood it, while they were in negotiations for a new programming contract with DirecTV in early July, Viacom ordered DirecTV to stop distributing the feeds on 20 or so of their channels (Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV to name a few). This meant channels went dark and all the kids that wanted to watch Dora the Explorer or adults looking for their daily “news” fix from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart were left to find other channels that carried the kind of content they desired. Viacom even shut down the online versions of these shows during this time. This provided a negative Customer Experience that was out of the control of the operator.
DirecTV didn’t just sit in silence while their people worked hard to bring the channels back online. They were proactive and took the opportunity to promote the values of the company and show customers what was being done to restore the programming that they pay for. During the entire time that Viacom pulled their channels, DirecTV provided several updates each day on the negotiations via their dedicated outage website, Twitter account and Facebook page as well as several other communication outlets. They provided tips on other ways to get the content customers were missing (Hulu, etc.) and offered rationale on why it made no sense for customers to switch providers (other operators may not fight as hard as DirecTV would to keep rates low). Customers, in turn, would post comments of encouragement to DirecTV to “fight the good fight” and recognized DirecTV’s commitment to getting the channels back on the air and the efforts that were being exhausted to make sure that was happening as quickly as possible (working overnight, over a holiday weekend, etc.).
This is just one great example of the value DirecTV has placed on loyalty and having “Raving Fans.”
No matter what industry or market an organization operates in, a customers’ loyalty is the catalyst that breeds trust, confidence and value for customers. In most cases, if customers have trust and confidence in a company’s ability to execute and provide value, they will be more willing to “buy” more from and pay more for it.
Part II will focus on efforts to build a brand through a great customer experience in the Energy and Utility Industry.