Dish Network CEO: Who Needs Good TV?

by Jeannie Walters

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Thanks to The Consumerist, I am happy to learn that I live on a farm and I don’t know about New York. That’s what DISH Network Founder and Chairman believes.

You see, I’m a customer. Since moving into this house in 2007, we’ve had Dish Network satellite tv. We’ve been happy. But then they dropped AMC and other channels and it seemed temporary. We don’t watch tons of tv, but we’ve recently been getting into Mad Men and it’s the principle, darn it. It’s not like the cost to the customers went down. And yet the product changed.

But here’s the real sticking point – the Founder and Chairman, Charles Ergen, justified this move by stating his customers wouldn’t mind, because “They live in farms and ranches… They have no clue about zombies and New York.”

This is such a great example of mistreating and misunderstanding customers I almost don’t know where to start.

Mr. Ergen is suffering from inside-out thinking. He thinks he can justify this in a way that makes him ok with these decisions, but this is HIS ego and HIS rationalization. This has zero to do with his customers.

When discussing your brand’s customers, it’s not a good idea to generalize, patronize or insult. (That’s a pro tip for you, Mr. Ergen.)

Mr. Ergen, like many founders, used to be in touch, I’m sure. He used to be passionate about providing great service to his customers. Then, like many in his situation, as growth happens to a company, the founder loses touch. Mr. Ergen is not the CEO any more, but his ridiculous statement about the “data” he has on customers proves this point.

If you are a leader and not constantly assessing your experience from the customer’s point of view, you are most likely out of touch. If you believe blanket statements about your customers, you simply aren’t doing your homework. If you want to call your customers names and take your ball and go home, well, good luck to you. Your customers are smart. They are looking for something you’re providing. Make the most of it. Treat them with respect.

 Photo Credit: striatic via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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