I worked as a technical support agent for DirecTV for 2 years, learning the ins and outs of all things associated with DirecTV.
Thank You For Calling DirecTV Customer Service . . .
If you're a DirecTV customer, you have almost certainly heard those words. It may surprise you to know that the person uttering those words is not technically a DirecTV employee. So, if they are not a DirecTV employee, how do they know how to address your issue and why do they have access to your account?
Who Am I Talking To?
Like many large companies that receive a high number of daily inquiries, DirecTV outsources a portion of their incoming customer service calls. Although there are dedicated AT&T and DirecTV customer service agents, most of the incoming calls are re-directed to the DirecTV protection plan company.
If you thought that the protection plan you were paying for is part of DirecTV, you are wrong. Surprise! You are talking to a person working for the company NEW Asurion.
What Is NEW Asurion?
If you have ever purchased an extended warranty on an electronic device or appliance, chances are you have given your business to Asurion before. NEW Asurion is a subsidiary of Asurion that exclusively handles DirecTV accounts. Asurion as a whole covers just about everything electronic and can be purchased at checkout at most supermarkets if an extended warranty is available. While I am not familiar with the inner workings of the parent company, I do know everything there is to know about the NEW Asurion subsidiary.
Are NEW Employees Competent?
To become a customer service representative at NEW Asurion, employees must complete a 9-week training course. The trainee must learn the basics of DirecTV's inner workings, pass multiple tests, and perform certain hands-on tasks. After completing the training, most customer service reps will only know about 5 to 10% of everything they need to know to sufficiently fix or solve every customer issue. After reaching the call floor, CSRs gain about 5% more DirecTV knowledge per month, meaning it would statistically take 18 months for a CSR to be able to address every issue with certainty.
Now here are the statistics that should worry you a bit when calling customer service. Each branch employs between 100 and 200 CSRs and also trains approximately 100 people per year. Even at a 75% rate of training completion, that means that almost, if not more than, half of the employed staff is inexperienced. Having read that, you can probably understand why you may have had a bad experience with DirecTV customer service before.
Most times you are going to reach a CSR that knows only the basics of most technical problems that arise. On the bright side, about 85% of technical issues can be resolved by an inexperienced CSR because the most commonly reported issues are taught during the training process.
How Can I speak With an Experienced CSR?
Having established that most customer service representatives are inexperienced, it's time to learn how you can speak to an agent that knows best how to fix your DirecTV issue.
The first person that answers a technical support call will be a bottom-of-the-totem-pole representative. Unfortunately, DirecTV requires you to do some minimal troubleshooting with this agent. Educating yourself on the standard procedures is a benefit. If you know the result of each troubleshooting step, you can just go through the motions and, in a sense, lie to the tech support agent. The quickest way to speak with a more experienced agent is to complete all of the troubleshooting steps a CSR asks you to do. Once completed, if your issue has not been resolved, ask to speak with their superior.
A superior representative is usually just a tenured CSR. There are also line supervisors, but they usually do not take calls. In a sense, you aren't really speaking to a supervisor, but instead to a more experienced CSR, which is what you really want anyway. Usually, these types of CSRs have at least two years of experience and can offer you more compensation for your dissatisfaction. This is a good thing to keep in mind if you are ever offered a free programming package or discount off of your bill. You can often get an even better deal by simply asking to speak to a newer CSR's supervisor.