Have you ever tried to cancel your cable subscription?

July 17th, 2016 Back

Have you ever visited a website on a mobile phone and thought, “who designed this site? Why is it so crappy?” It definitely looks like it was supposed to be viewed on a big screen, and nobody took the time to really make the necessary changes so the website could be easily viewed on a mobile phone screen.

Another case: would you rather eat a taco from a Cheesecake Factory Restaurant chain -huge menu selection-  or from a small family-owned Mexican place? To me, the answer is obvious: I try to stick with the specialized vendor. For Cheesecake Factory, as much as I love their Godiva cheesecake, a taco is a second thought, or third or fourth; for the Mexican family, their whole family’s heritage, soul, and tradition are probably poured into each one of the tacos they serve.

Woman enjoys tacos

Hispanic woman toasting over tacos

Crappy presence

 

As in the case of the website, many times a big company just wants to get in the game or follow the trending fashion of the day by offering new, shiny products or services. Even if that new, shiny product is not part of their original plan, some companies still get on board just to make a quick buck, regardless of whether they really care about the specific needs of customers in that new market.

 

Second thought

 

Just like in the tacos example, companies that offer these new trendy products or services as an addition to their core lineup rarely act in the customer’s best interest. Many times the conversation about these additions revolves around increasing the bottom line as quickly as possible so the stock can jump right away, creating more wealth in the following quarter. So when it comes to the product creation, they focus on hastily putting something out into the market, without much thought about the customer experience or the potential requirements.

 

Ways to milk the customer

 

In other words, some of these enterprises find new ways to milk the customer. If a big cable company can find a way to quickly get into the virtual reality space, even though they may have no expertise or soul in that field, they will try to grab a bunch of customers, very quickly, with an initial promotion -you’ve seen those-and if they initially succeed, even with a crappy product, at least money can be easily made before users realize the truth. And that’s what counts.

 

Adapting technology

 

And here lies one of the easiest ways to get into a new industry: adapting an existing technology. An restaurant executive in Arkansas could be thinking, “oh! ceviche -a South American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood- is trending in big cities? we just take some raw catfish, sprinkle some lime… and voilá! Ceviche is now on the menu! But is it really ceviche? Do I trust the guys who have been making my po-boys for the last 20 years to all of a sudden become experts at Peruvian cuisine? For you own safety, I hope you don’t.

The same happens across the board, from the food industry to the technology industry, from the clothing industry to the toys industry. Just remember that if you have the chance, look for specialized businesses that really know what they are doing in your specific field of interest.

Taking it to the extreme, we wouldn’t trust a plastic surgeon to perform a heart bypass surgery just because the doctor thought it could be a nice addition to his plastic surgery menu, would we?

 

Inertia is a poweful force

 

Hooking up a customer is the dream for many companies, especially the subscription-based ones, since they know that many times a person prefers to stick to a mediocre service than to go through the hassle of canceling a service and finding a new one.

If you don’t believe me, try to cancel any subscription service you may have, from car insurance to a newspaper delivery, and you will soon find out how difficult it is. First, many of these services don’t offer the option to cancel on their websites. Just for that specific request,  you must call in, wait for a long period of time, and then get transferred about a billion times before you reach a human being.

The other day, just to test this idea, I called the New York Times to cancel my weekend delivery service. Predictably, there was no option to cancel the service on their website, so I had to call in. After being transferred several times, I ended up talking to a very sweet, calm lady who proceeded to explain how big of a mistake I was making, asking me many questions to justify such poor decision. I really felt I was trying to prove my case, threading arguments to arrive at the same conclusion: “please cancel my subscription.” “Just one more thing,” she would add, and the questioning would begin once again. Why would I have to beg someone to cancel a service? It seems a bit ridiculous.

Canceling a subscription based service can be frustrating

Canceling a subscription based service can be frustrating

Many callers obviously hang up in the middle of all the waiting and transferring between departments, frustrated with the poor service, finally thinking, “you know what? forget it!. The other companies are probably as bad, so I will just stay with these guys.” And that is exactly the reaction these big corporations hope for, the feeling of frustration reaching such levels that you give up trying to give up.

For me, a nice test to find a confident, trustful organization is when they advertise and widely promote the “cancel at anytime, no questions asked” message. I have tried with several of them -didn’t actually cancel but wanted to try- and just that opportunity to exercise that minimum consumer right exhudes maximum trust. In fact, that option is one of the first factors I consider when I enter an agreeement with any subscription-based service.

Whenever you are faced with the decision of whether to weather the storm and stick with big cable companies or cut the cord and switch to a more modern, lean way to watch TV, carefully consider your options. Some of the companies offering this new, trendy streaming TV services derive from some of the already big players in the industry; others, like Vidgo, have  been built from scratch just to offer this service, so every inch of their path has been paved with decisions specifically designed to serve the customers who decide to cut the cord. There are no conflicts of interest like the ones these big players face. Some of those big players have only recently began considering offering streaming services because their core business has been lagging, losing customers on a daily basis.

 

You are going to love Vidgo

 

So they have decided to get in the game, as quickly as they can, offering whatever incentives  so they can keep you hooked. Maybe it’s time to give the smaller fish a chance, especially if they flaunt that big sign that says “Cancel at anytime,” because those companies, confident enough to promote that slogan, know that when they really love someone, they should get the chance to leave whenever they wish, no questions asked. And I know for a fact that you are going to love Vidgo as much as they are going to love you.


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