DASM: Sirius Needs To Get Serious

On the cars we tend to buy, satellite radio is included. My wife’s 2007 has lifetime Sirius as part of the original purchase, for example. I was driving my 2014 yesterday, with Sirius installed and activated by the dealer before I picked it up, when suddenly Sirius simply quit, and when I hit my presets, they all said “unsubscribed.”

Later that day, I called Sirius customer service, and after four menus and shouting “Agent!” I was connected to a guy who barely spoke intelligible English. He had a very thick accent, and while extremely polite, he clearly couldn’t even find which of my cars was having the trouble. (I told him to stop calling me “Alan” because we weren’t buddies, I’m a customer. I hate that pseudo-friend stuff.)

When I asked for a supervisor, I had another wait, but this second guy knew what he was doing. He found the right car immediately, told me that it now came with a year’s subscription, not lifetime, but we were only two months into it and something had gone wrong. While the first guy was asking me in fractured English to get in my car, pull it out, and find the vin number or radio registration, this guy said, “I’ll send a signal and whenever your drive the system should update.” He apologized and said he’d give me a full year from this date.

Sure enough, on the way to dinner the radio kicked back in.

Everything that occurred before the supervisor was futile. The supervisor’s work was “failure work”—work done because the first person couldn’t do what was readily possible. That first experience is what drives customers away.

I don’t know why any company would put an employee on customer phone lines who isn’t completely educated in their own systems and practices, and who cannot speak fluent English. I’m not talking about accents—I have a New York accent myself—I’m talking about an inability to make yourself understood.

But, I guess that’s why I earn the big bucks. I wonder if Sirius needs a consultants’ station?

© Alan Weiss 2013

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2 Responses to DASM: Sirius Needs To Get Serious

  1. I agree – Most Customer Service Departments today need customer service. Not only is the front line not properly trained they are not empowered to make any decisions on their own. They always need to get their supervisor’s permissions and authorization. Very frustrating.

  2. Noah says:

    Very interesting point about the “pseudo-friend” stuff. I’m all for companies speaking more conversationally, but I think there’s something interesting to be said about overstepping boundaries or being too “friendly.”

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