I have DirectT and it’s not even really a choice. I am addicted to programming like the NFL Sunday Ticket, The Big Ten Network, and some other sports channels and packages they offer. They’re also a lot more reliable than the big cable companies and in particular are not as mentally challenged in the customer service area where cable companies typically dominate the worst ranked Fortune 500 list. 

But DirectTV is expensive which leads me to my annual fabricated production where I call and threaten to leave in order to procure discounted rates for the coming year. For those looking to save some bucks, this is the blue print to achieve this. 

– Call DirectTV and immediately say you want to talk to customer retention. Don’t futz around with the front line of customer service people. Customer retention can give you discounts and won’t give you the runaround.

– Say you’re going to leave and that U-verse, Fios, or whomever is coming to install the new system in a week. DirectTV is too expensive and you’re getting a sweetheart deal to leave. Cite that they’ve added a lot of channels that used to be exclusive to DirectTV (Big Ten Network, Red Zone Channel). Also give them some crap for not having AMC in HD because that’s just dumb. Make sure you let them know it’s too expensive to stay. 

– They’ll then start offering you discounts. Don’t give in right away. They don’t want you to walk and even if you can’t come to an agreement they still have to send you to another person to terminate your account so you can always just hang up if they call your bluff which they won’t. You can usually get around 25% off of your annual bill. Last year I achieved a good discount and it took under 7 minutes. 

Anyways, this year my strategy was to really bemoan the fact that it wasn’t even a sure thing that there would be football this year. DirectTV makes it a habit to auto renew your package out of “convenience”. You can cancel the auto renew, but not a lot of people are that meticulous. 

Lo and behold DirectTV has wisely decided to not bill anyone for the Sunday Ticket until the labor situation clears up. 

“In a mass e-mail sent to all Sunday Ticket subscribers, DirecTV has informed customers that “[t]here will be absolutely no charge for your NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription until it is confirmed that the 2011 NFL season will begin.”

Probably a wise move given a lot of people are looking for ways to cut back and are finding that their DirectTV bill is 50%-100% more than some other providers. By removing a very obvious pitfall for customer retention, DirectTV is effectively shutting the barn door that could have led to a mass exodus of football subscribers.

Getting a big discount is still very doable but unforunately the main point of emphasis has been wiped and now I’ll have to fake outrage from another source.

About Ben Koo

Copying and pasting my Twitter bio. I'm also refusing (for now) to write this in the third person. This is me - EIC and CEO at @comeback_sports and @AwfulAnnouncing, world's greatest chinese jew, proud Buckeye, funny dude, and sports and digital media zealot.