In this guest post, 40-year industry veteran, Derick Frere, who was previously recognised by B&T as one of the top 10 ‘Ad Men’ in Australia, shares a letter he sent to Rupert Murdoch that claims Foxtel won’t exist in five years time. Read his post and see if you agree.
This piece isn’t about technological change or the advance of Netflix.
It’s about how a business that is in denial about being customer focused will likely go the way of the dinosaurs if it doesn’t learn from its mistakes.
I’m a 40 year marketing and ad industry veteran so hopefully I have learned a little about the importance of customers. I’m also a Foxtel Platinum customer for about the past 20 years.
In a customer focused organisation this means I’m a valued, loyal customer. However, my experience with Foxtel leads me to believe that they see me as a valuable source of maximum revenue (and little else).
Based on my user experience I put it to the people reading B&T that Foxtel will not still be around in five years time. This is why (and what) I wrote to Rupert:
“For the last five years my Foxtel ‘Platinum’ service has been lousy at best. Nothing works properly and often doesn’t work at all.
When it is working I’ll record something on my Fox box only to have it then disappear when I want to watch it etc. etc. Basically crap and certainly nothing like what Foxtel charge me for their service.
I checked on the net and found that many hundreds of other Foxtel customers were having similar problems and were scathing in their comments on line in total frustration at their lack of success in having their issues fixed.
Stupidly (in hindsight) I thought being part of this industry and all, that I should be able to figure out how to get the problems fixed.
Here’s where the fun started.
I phoned and phoned and phoned and had endless conversations with techs in a foreign land who turned out to be poorly trained and no help at all. How many businesses are falling into this cheap outsourcing trap?
Clearly I’m a bit slow because this process took two or three years as I naively assumed that at some stage Foxtel would actually help me get what I was paying for.
However, it eventually dawned on me that my phone for help strategy was a failure so being a persistent bugger (after having been an advertising “suit” for all those years) I then started emailing for help via the Foxtel website.
Surprisingly, not a single email was ever responded to.
So, now some four years down the track my patience was starting to run a little thin so I wrote a letter (old school) to the Foxtel CEO explaining that I was a 40 year industry veteran and 20 year Platinum customer who’d been experiencing serious problems for many years without getting any real help.
Six weeks later when my letter was neither acknowledged nor responded to I wrote again. However there was still no response!
So finally (now five years down the track) I wrote to Rupert in New York “Why Foxtel won’t exist in five years time”.
This is almost the end of my user journey. The next day I was contacted by the CEO!
So my – “contact the highest person in the company” strategy worked? Not really.
Whilst I had someone supposedly interested in my problems now many more months down the track nothing much has been accomplished.
So, I was very naive in thinking that Foxtel would look after its customers so I now think that, instead, I’ve been a unwitting participant to a dinosaur slowly moving towards extinction.
Clearly, there’s a corporate lesson about being customer focused here somewhere?
I’ve watched Vodafone and Qantas struggle with this same fairly basic marketing concept. Vodafone seem to have learned from past mistakes and have invested heavily in infrastructure to give their customers a better user experience and might even lose the tag “Vodafail’.
However, in this case, I pose the question to my industry colleagues – “Will Foxtel still be around in five years time?”