Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How NOT to retain your longtime loyal customers - in 3 easy steps. Listen up XM.

1. Make sure your web-site is often unavailable.

2. Make sure your customers are unable to manage their accounts from your web-site on the rare days you can get to it.

3. Make sure your customers know you don't give a shit if they leave or not.

Oh yeah, and irritate them by having the login screen take up every bit of a 2000+ pixel monitor, and not allow your customers to resize the screen. This is an actual screen shot from my husbands machine when logging into the XM radio web-site. The black area is not his background. It is the unused portion of their login screen.



I want to start out saying that we were early adopters. We have probably been XM customers for 3-4 years.. I don't know.... A LONG time. Well before anyone thought people would pay for radio. The relationship was flawless until this past Christmas. Today I am downright pissed about it.

Rewind to this past Christmas. My husband bought me a Delphi XM hand-held. The unit was an out of the box hardware failure. (gritting teeth) I understand failures. Look at my other entries. The hardware issue however was not the irritating part.

We replaced the unit with one from another manufacturer. We thought it would be a simple issue to switch service from the failed unit radio ID, to the new unit ID. At that time the web-site wouldn't allow for this. It was Christmas, and they were obviously under-staffed on the phones. I think it took about a day to finally get a live person on the phone.

I sort of understood not being able to disconnect service from the web-site. I'm sure it is just a need to talk your customers out of leaving. Well... despite we weren't leaving, just changing radio IDS.

Fast forward to this weekend. We sold our old car, and wanted again to manage our account. I wanted to delete the handheld, and find out what notice they needed to cancel the car. I wanted the new owners to have a little time before the radio was shut off.

Wouldn't you f-ing know it, the web-site was unavailable. The web-site not working after 7 months is absolutely unacceptable. You still can not add or delete radios online. And that would be great if when you talked to someone on the phone they actually tried to talk you out of leaving. BUT THEY DONT! As a matter of a fact, customer service did none of the things customer service does. Like try to find out why/if you're not happy.

So they transfer me over to the disconnection department. I flip out. I make sure to tell the operator on the other line I wasn't yelling at her, but it seems to me that XM doesn't want to keep their customers at all. There is no harder customer to drive away than us. I complain about the web-site, and she confirms it is ridiculous that their web-site is still not working. She apparently gets that complaint a lot.

UPDATE: I waited to publish this entry, because of some other crazy stuff I will eventually complain about.

We started getting notices from XM to give them our credit card, because our new 3 month trial would soon be up for our replacement car. (gritting teeth again) Even though I made sure to tell them to put the new radio on our old account so we could just start getting billed automatically when I called to have them manage our account last time.

We have had the new car 2 months, and I've already gotten two notices. I figured I should do something about it. Despite thinking the trial service was for a year. Whatever.. things have been crazy, so perhaps I was misunderstanding.

So... first step. Go to their web-site. Hurray! We can log in. We have a huge credit on our account. (because we are under a trial period) So why are they sending us these notices? We have our credit card on file. Crap... wouldn't you know it, I'm going to have to call customer service.

All I want from them is to link our credit card to this radio so when the trial period is over - 3 months or 12 months, whatever- they will start charging us. Did I mention how long we have been customers with the same credit card number on file? Oh yeah.. I covered that.

Apparently... customer service can not do this until a few weeks before our trial period expires. So I have to call them back. But how the F am I going to know when that is, because they are sending me notices every two weeks. By this time my husband is talking to them, due to my accelerating sarcasm. I'm not nasty... and I do laugh while I am telling him to tell them - that if our service gets cut off, I am going to call them back and completely wig out. She claims she stuck this in the notes.. I'm sure it just says difficult.

The thing is, I have had to call them 5 times this year, for things that could be simply handled from their web-site.

The answer is to change right?

Well.. I have to admit, we did get a Sirius unit very recently. The differences are pretty interesting. First...if you drive down a tree lined street. That is enough to stop your signal. Sometimes you just loose signal for no apparent reason. XM doesn't do that. The other...(tortured look) they have got me stuck in the f-ing 70's. For instance this morning flipping through the channels I was greeted with RUSH on two channels. The Beetles, (old)Santana, Led Zepplin, and I forget what else. I went though 30 channels before escaping that era. This wasn't even from the listed retro and hair band channels. Which is another 30+ channels. They have a freaking channel just dedicated to Elvis for christ sakes, and some Jimmy Buffet guy. A whole channel each!

So to sum things up.... XM customer service sucks, but the Sirius content sucks. Customer service at Sirius was actually really good. XM would be really good if they just fixed their web-site to take pressure off their customer service reps. I get the impression they get bitched at a lot. Unfortunatly I had to be one of the masses.

And frankly.. I dont enjoy it. What happen to the good old days when it took one call to get something solved? Now it seems on average it takes three... I really have better things to do with my day.

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