Kate Hawkesby: Sky has finally acted, but is it too late?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 1 March 2018, 7:09AM
Sky TV always contacts you about they have a boxing match on, but not about their changes. (Photo / NZ Herald)

When will companies figure out that one of the key tenets to good business is goodwill?

Sky TV yesterday cut its prices, and that’s great, but I’m a Sky customer, and short of reading about it in the paper, I would otherwise not have known a thing about it. 

Where’s the email or text telling me about this?

Where’s the offer to reduce my subscription given the new pricing starts today? There isn’t one; well, not yet. 

A phone call to Sky told me via an automated message that the company “has a new pricing plan!” and that they will be “writing to me” at some stage this month regards the new pricing. 

Why as a customer am I having to chase them though? Sitting on hold waiting for various options, an automated message directing me to the website. Waiting longer on hold, only to get to the eventual much desired customer service line, only to be hung up on after a pre recorded message saying, ‘we are unable to answer your call right now – you may wish to contact us via our website… thanks for calling,’ click. 

How much time do I have to chase Sky? Well, about as much time as I have to watch it: none. 

Credit where credit’s due though. After sitting quietly by, seemingly with their heads buried in the sand while Lightbox, Netflix, and streaming on demand services grabbed many of their customers, it’s good they’re finally doing something. 

But is it too little too late?

Even Sky chief executive John Fellet says it was a Hobson’s choice. Sky directors believe the impact of the price change will be positive, but recognise there’s uncertainty around customer churn and subscriber numbers.

When customers have more choice, they weigh up many factors, and actually, it’s not just price.

A flooded marketplace means people can be more discerning. Customers want to feel like they’re part of something that’s going somewhere, a company who treats them well, shows goodwill, and makes an effort to retain them, especially in such a competitive market. 

An automated message telling customers they can go to the website, or wait to be written to, doesn’t really cut it.

I do note as a Sky customer though how quick they are to text me when a boxing match is on, asking if I’d like to buy it. Seems they can work the technology and information when it’s to their benefit, but perhaps not so much when it’s to ours.

There also appeared confusion over those who have Sky services through their Vodafone account. Those with Sky Basic through Vodafone getting a $10 discount wanted to know if they’d still get that discount now that Sky Basic was split in two. 

Sky was unable to clarify and deferred to Vodafone, who seemed unable to give a clear answer either. Vodafone, after putting me through to three different people, still didn't have the answer, but did tell me to 'have a great day' though, so that was something.

So will Sky customers stay? Well, it depends if they even find, out about the new charges in the first place I guess. I’ll stand by for my letter, but I won’t hold my breath that it’ll be as easy to opt in to the new discounts as it is to buy a boxing match.

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