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Specter of the Charter may want to rethink its digital pay television service

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The cable companies have been eager to introduce new digital pay television products. Traditional cable television has declined in the midst of a growing wave of new competitions and new technologies. The new offerings reflect an avant-garde vision and are a step in the right direction, but too many providers still do not offer good quality digital pay television.

Charter Spectrum is a great example of what could be a good company with bad service. It offers consumer and professional versions of its Pay TV, VoIP Phone and Broadband Internet. Soon, he will offer the Spectrum Wireless service.

Charter Spectrum is the Pay TV provider at my home at the beach. I was happy with its traditional analog cable TV service for more than a decade. He switched to digital pay television several years ago, and I tried it. I did not like it, so I went back to its traditional analog pay TV and I was happy with that.

Sure, I would have liked the digital features, but I did not want any lousy service as part of the mix. So, I made my choice and I was satisfied … until now.

Charter Spectrum began asking users to switch to digital pay television. The word is that it plans to turn off its analog service. OK – I am forced into the company's poor quality digital pay television service. It's been several years, however, that had to eliminate all system bugs, is not it? The service should be as good, reliable and easy to use as my Comcast Xfinity service at home, right?

Bad. Bad by a long shot. My new digital pay television service from Charter Spectrum is fully connected and I use it. The truth is that the service is as bad as when the company introduced it several years ago. I have new equipment installed, and it has more problems than you can imagine.

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In fact, I've almost thrown the remote at the wall several times over the last few days, just trying to make the thing work. The charter should understand the problems that it has caused to its users – and ultimately to the business – since the market is more competitive than ever.

The following are just some of the painful details.

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This is not entertainment

When you pick up the remote control, you want to watch TV. You do not want to go through painful delays and confusing mistakes that make you worse even before a program starts.

The remote control is supposed to turn on your TV and your Spectrum box at the touch of a button. It only works sometimes. When it works, the TV often turns on, but the Spectrum service says "wait for it" while it goes through some sort of process.

A few minutes later – no kidding, a few minutes later – the TV service finally shows up on the screen. Meanwhile, you sit there waiting, more and more angry.

But OK, the TV is on, finally. Then, when you surf the channels, you realize that the new remote is more confusing than ever. It's full of buttons and controls. There are dozens of buttons on the device.

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I usually only use a few, such as volume, channel, mute, last, and favorites. These are the most common buttons and should be in one section and larger than the others. This would allow the user to remember where they are, so you would not have to think twice after entering the remote control.

If it's night, forget about it. You must either turn on the lights in the room or press the "light" key to see the keypad. It seems like there are thousands of pimples – but at least you can almost see what they say.

Stiff Pay TV Competition

Charter always works the same way as the cable TV industry. In the past, cable companies never had to worry about losing customers, so they never really cared to make their services easy to use or understand, or to improve relationships with them. customers.

Things have changed. A growing number of pay-TV competitors have really increased the pressure on traditional cable television companies like Charter Spectrum. This means that cable TV competitors need to improve their game to remain competitive and not lose market share.

For example, AT & T acquired DirecTV. Since then, he has created DirecTV NOW and mobile TV, or wireless TV. These options allow users to get all kinds of digital programs at home, at the office or anywhere in the US using their smartphones or tablets and the AT & T Mobility network.

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The transformation of pay television

The AT & T transformation movement has caused all kinds of reactions in the industry. Verizon has indicated that he wants to follow the path of success of his competitor. T-Mobile has acquired a pay-TV provider and wants to follow. Comcast Xfinity started offering its digital pay-TV offer years ago and its Xfinity Mobile wireless service a year ago.

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Add to this group of younger and newer players like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook TV, YouTube TV, Amazon TV and more – and you can see that we are just in the early stages of a new revolution of television.

Competitive pressure

Cable companies are under incredible pressure. That's why Charter Spectrum has to make changes. That's why he has to switch to a digital pay television service. That's why he has to start offering wireless services with Spectrum Mobile.

More than that, that's why Charter Spectrum must better serve its customers. Users must find the service easy to use and have a great experience. They must move closer to the Charter – or they will leave and go to one of its new competitors.

This should be at the center of Charter Spectrum's agenda. Why is not it? That's the important question. On the one hand, the company seems to understand the threat, but on the other hand, it has not yet improved the user service experience.

In his television commercial, he talks about a great conversation. Charter Spectrum stresses all areas that need to be improved and essentially admits that he did not care about the customer in the past. It puts the emphasis on all the new features that it offers now. All this is great – but that does not fit the customer experience.

Bad execution

The problem is that new services must be more than innovative. They must be pleasant and satisfying to the user. The old analog TV offered by Charter was simpler and easier to use. The remote control had limited buttons, making the whole experience easy and enjoyable.

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The Charter never had to worry about user satisfaction when it did not have competition, but these days are over. Customers can now switch to one of the many new providers. So, Charter must now consider making the customer happy – something that he has never had to worry about before. It has progressed too slowly on this point, which is worrying.

Many new services are available, including on – demand and pay – per – view services that offer the user more options. It's good. In general, I like the direction the company has taken.

Make the market adjustment

Every step forward should be easier and less complicated – and offer more. Although Charter offers more, it has turned out to be more complicated and less reliable, which makes the service less enjoyable.

This is a critical mistake that the company must correct. He must realize that he is facing stiff competition. It must show more care for the customer, what this customer does not feel yet.

Charter did not have to worry about competition before. He did not have to worry about making the experience easier for the customer. There was no other choice, and his market share was safe. However, things have changed. This market does not exist anymore.

In the volatile and rapidly changing market of today, Charter must pay attention to the user or suffer losses. It must create a positive and strong brand relationship with the user – and it must do so quickly, or risk losing customers to its competitors.

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Jeff Kagan has been a columnist for the ECT News Network since 2010. He focuses on the wireless and telecommunications industries. He is an independent
analyst, consultant and speaker.
Email Jeff.