The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 December 2004

Going the extra 1.6 km

UML Guy forgets to pay his satellite bill, and discovers a Great Truth:

So I went to the DirecTV billing site. This was almost midnight when I got in. I told them I wanted to pay my bill. I gave them the information. They gave me a confirmation page, and advised that I didn't need to call them: the service would be reinstated within an hour after I made the payment online. I was pretty pleased by that (and in fact, I'm almost always pleased by DirecTV's service), because so many places offer 24 or even 48 hour reconnect times for what these days almost always involves somebody pushing a button. One phone company I know can't reconnect service over weekends, period, even though they'll gladly take your money on the weekend. So I thought that promising a one hour turnaround was pretty impressive.

Then I clicked the Accept button. And from the office and the other room, I instantly heard TVs start playing. And I checked my email Inbox. There was a confirmation email.

That is how technology is supposed to work these days. Next time someone tells you it will take 48 hours to reconnect service, ask them why it only takes DirecTV 0.48 seconds.

Are you listening, SBC?

I have an example of my own to offer here, with the small electronics firm, which vends audio accessories pertinent to us diehard vinyl owners. I'd taken delivery on their midline TC-753 preamplifier, and while it performed up to specs — and better than the decaying phono section in the 30-year-old receiver to which it was attached — the DC power plug didn't seem to fit correctly. At 8:09 pm I wrote up an email query to the company; they responded by 8:22, and after a quick exchange of symptom descriptions, their mailer program sent me a confirmation that a new power brick was being sent out. It was still a few minutes before nine.

I mention this here because (1) one should reward those who have served you well and (2) once this gets into the Google system, it will probably carry more weight than the usual one-line entries in the Marketplace feedback system.

Posted at 8:26 AM to Almost Yogurt

TrackBack: 10:04 PM, 18 December 2004
» Speaking of Technology from Yippee-Ki-Yay!

Charles links a story of how these things ought to go.

...[read more]

Another data point: When my wife called the Dish Network - the satellite TV folks - about a problem with our receiver unit, they immediately sent a new one overnight with the paperwork needed to return the old one postage paid. Without warning they did it again a couple of weeks later to upgrade the new one they'd just sent us. So far, Dish has really impressed us.

Posted by: Ted at 7:08 AM on 19 December 2004

I used to take calls for DirecTV. One of the most pleasent aspects of the job was to turn service back on. I could do it immediately and I looked like I had superpowers when I did it. It was great!

Posted by: R. Alex at 12:54 PM on 21 December 2004