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Goodbye DIRECTV; it was good while it lasted. July 14, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Business, Business Success Coach, Coaching, DIRECTV, The Secret, Veracity.
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abc1To succeed, and then stay on top, organizations need to be clear about what drives their business.  Regardless of the sector or industry, it always boils down to simple and fundamental factors.  Those who forget this rule of management become dinosaurs.  And they’ll suffer the same fate.  In this blog, executive and business coach John M McKee discusses why he is quitting DIRECTV’s service – an organization that he helped to become #1.

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In 1992 I was recruited to become a part of the senior leadership team which founded DIRECTV.

At the time we had a vision to provide the best values, best customer service and biggest package of entertainment available anywhere in the US.  We had a lot of difficulty getting up and running.  Negotiating programming agreements, establishing an outsourced customer care department, getting hardware manufacturers like Sony and Hitachi onboard to complement Thompson, and hiring people who would be as evangelical about the new service as the rest of us.

Under the guidance of Eddy Hartenstein, who became the CEO before he left, and Jim Ramo who went on to become the CEO of Movielink after moving- on, the company developed the right culture at the right time.  It flourished of course and the rest became history.  I was proud to be a key member of the leadership team; and during my tenure oversaw managed the acquisition of Primestar, the creation of the Home Services group, and developing partnerships with many companies such as AT&T, airlines, and bars/restaurants.

Since leaving DIRECTV in 2001 to launch Business Success Coach.net, I have watched DIRECTV evolve and change.  All organizations change of course.  But some do it better than others.  While pleased that it became a dominant player, I became concerned about decisions it was making which ultimately affected customer satisfaction levels.  I believe this indicator is critical to the ongoing success of any venture in any field.

During the past year, my experience dealing with DIRECTV has been very disappointing.  Hardware failures, lack of interest from customer care representatives, increasing fees and service charges, and mistakes on my bills have combined to cause me to decide to quit using DIRECTV and switch over to FIOS.  This was a tough decision given my background with the company.

I decided to switch over to FIOS for a lot of reasons including customer service, bundled services and monthly fees – each of which are all in the control of any organization’s management.   Distracted leaders, or those with inappropriate objectives, can derail any organization.  When faced with aggressive and well-financed competitors, that type of derailment results in customer defections, reduced subscriber acquisitions and higher operating costs.

If the current attitude and business approaches are maintained after the arrival DIRECTVs new CEO; I believe we will witness this company take a downward spiral that will shock many industry players and observers.

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