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After threatening to do so for the better part of a year, I finally cut the cord yesterday. I mostly held on this long because of sports. With the exception of a few programs I watch with the girlfriend, or in some cases drink scotch and tolerate, all I watch is sports. I had an irrational fear that I would miss coverage of The Masters, US Open, or football. I should also mention my dog Norman watches The Golf Channel all day while I am at work. So I spent numerous mornings researching and became convinced Hulu Live was the right mix.
Still, I did not make the move. I decided I would downgrade to basic cable first — incrementalism people! I logged into my cable account where I was promptly asked if I wanted to upgrade with HBO. I then looked for how to change my services — it was nowhere to be found. They were ready and willing with a “team member” available to chat if I wanted to upgrade. So, I clicked yes, assuming if they could add services they could also take services away. Wrong. “That is not my department.”
I was prompted to the chat area where I was asked what I needed. There were a handful of options and I clicked downgrade services. Then the chat box appeared and said no one was available at that time. I kept it open for two hours at work and still no team member available to chat. The same sequence occurred the next day. And that was all the convincing I needed — to heck with incrementalism!
I called the cable company and waited 30 minutes before speaking to a representative. He was great and the anomaly in this ordeal. I told him I wanted to get rid of cable and keep internet. Then I discovered that I would need to upgrade or downgrade my internet. My plan was obsolete. The only plans they offer now would be faster or slower — fine. I chose faster. I also would be paying 30 percent above the monthly rate of a new customer. With friends like these, who needs enemies? The representative then asked if I wanted to keep basic cable so I could have access to television when I wanted it. I told him it was originally my intention to do so, but I was so put off by his company that I decided it was no longer going to be necessary.
What I find surprising is that a cable company facing obsolescence of their business model can execute so poorly when it comes to the customer experience. Despite the niceness and helpful nature of the customer service representative, it took too long to get to him. The cable company refuses to allow someone to change services online. Now that may delay the loss of revenue for a day or two, but it is terribly shortsighted. They need a perfect customer experience and some new innovations in order to remain relevant with consumers.
On the most basic level, their customer experience stunk. Contrast that with the source of the certain doom — Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and the like. A customer can go on the website to sign up, change services, or cancel in mere seconds. I have done all three in the past. It is a fantastic customer experience. You can call their customer service line and not wait for long periods of time as well. I received a free month of Hulu Live on top of it all! That is offsetting the “install fee” the cable company charged me for changing my internet speed.
Cable companies have felt powerful in the past because of regional superiority and lack of options. That is not the case anymore. I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner. As I write this, Norman and I are watching European Tour Golf through Hulu — the same thing we do every Saturday before we go to the park. I am pleased.
The only thing I will miss is access to local baseball and hockey on WGN. Then again, I live on Chicago’s North Side, we can just walk to a dog bar down the street.