customer experiencemusicranttech

I Love and Hate Sirius Radio

I love music. I hate commercials. I spend a ton of time in the car. I love Sirius Radio’s product. I hate Sirius Radio customer and billing practices.

I have paid for Sirius Radio since 2007 across three autos and a digital login. I no longer pay Sirius for their service, although I still love and miss the product.

A while back, our cars were coming up for renewal and the calls started coming in. I don’t mind the calls save for the fact that they are clearly off-shored and are sometimes hard to understand. Part of scale for them, I guess.

For 2018 though, there was a difference when it came time to renew. I had already indicated that I wanted to continue and during the enrollment I asked when the contract ended. I was then made aware that there was no option for a set time length.

All new plans are auto-renew in perpetuity. Huh?

Essentially they wanted me to sign up to be billed forever, with yearly increases baked in, I’m sure. Well, at least until I remember to call or check a bill. Nope.

I offered to pre-pay two autos for the year but did not want an auto rollover. I was told no.

I escalated this to a manager, explained my history (over 10 years) and my desire. I was told, “I’m sorry, but perhaps I could choose a less discounted monthly payment plan and then use a card that will expire in the next year.” His thinking was I’d then hear from Sirius for collection when the billing stopped processing at the expiry of my card and have a chance to opt out or re-evaluate. He actually said this to me.

This was the proposed solution. To apologize for the company, which I appreciated, and then help me beat their system.

What I was asking for, reasonable time-bound contractual billing, did not exist anymore from Sirius Radio.

In the age of customer experience and transparency, how does Sirius think that it will not sour large groups of customers who take a moment to ask further details about the billing parameters of its service?

I guess the answer is that without a clear alternative in their eyes, they may do as they please. This is such a bad, old retail, way of thinking about consumers and assuming their ignorance and / or need for your product will overcome bad experiences and the misalignment of company and consumer interests.

We live in the abundance economy, during the age of expanding consumer choice. I know Sirius has a monopoly on Howard Stern, but outside of that consumers have many more choices for lightly ad-supported or fully ad-free music.

A lack of a billing plan that was not overtly focused on maximizing customer value and minimizing breakage did enough to churn me and sour me on Sirius as a whole.

How does this happen in 2018? I can’t be the only one shaking my head at this. Who’s in charge of the brand over there? Oh, the public company quarterly earnings cycle…. short-term planning and the agency problem rears its head once more. Sadly, this is not unique to them in the grander scheme.

Stop emailing me and calling me Sirius Radio. It’s over –  and it was definitely you.

Oh, hello Spotify Premium…

I can opt out any time? And you integrate with Waze as well? That’s great. We may have just become best friends. Have you met my wallet? How would you like to go out for a seafood dinner? I’m buying.


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