Keeping Existing Subscribers

siriusfan

Member
Nov 5, 2008
74
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"The net additions nearly flat-lined in Q4. Gross additions fell to 1,713,210 and 1,630,265 accounts deactivated, for a net gain of a mere 82,945." See Radio Business Report/Television Business Report - Voice of the Broadcasting Industry

If Sirius XM could stem the tide of deactivations, how much better off would it be? Perhaps Sirius XM could start addressing this by paying more attention to posters on this forum who continue to offer sage advice and suggestions as to why so many deactivations are occurring. For example, programmers have been highly inflexible in addressing common complaints about narrow play lists and unpopular single artist channels. Programmers have somehow lost their way and returned to their terrestrial ways when it comes to music programming on some channels. Given their dire straits, and the huge numbers of lost subscribers, Sirius XM clearly needs to do more to maintain its existing base. Bringing in new subscribers is important but so is keeping the ones they have. Pride goes before the fall as they say. Sirius clearly needs to give up on some of its sacred cows, especially when it comes to programming.
 

DaddyCanI

New Member
Jan 19, 2009
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Siriusfan - Great article, thanks for the link.

While I agree with the idea that SiriusXM needs to do a better job of listening to subscribers' complaints, I'm holding back on blaming the increased deactivation rate on "bad service." Most industries of all types are suffering due to the rough economy. Most folks who have deactivated (aka "not resubscribed") have likely done it for financial reasons, not necessarily all on principle. Combining that with the sharp decline in new auto purchases last year (as the link points out), and you have only a modest net gain in subscribers.

Even then, though, the company is not (yet) in "dire straits." The financials are clearly positive; on paper at least, the company is on its way to profitability. The link you provided referenced an 18% gain in pro forma revenues, and a 3% drop in operating expenses, which is why most economists aren't too worried about SiriusXM's future. At least, say, not as worried about General Motors', for instance.

Of course, if the economy keeps tanking, and people aren't resubscribing to save $$, then who knows what will happen.

At any rate, I still agree with you that they shouldn't risk sabotaging their relationship with currently loyal customers.
 

siriusfan

Member
Nov 5, 2008
74
1
8
I imagine a fair percentage of the 6,055,072 subscribers that deactivated last year would have done so for financial reasons because of the economy etc. However, IMO a significant percentage of those deactivations also likely occurred because those subs were either unhappy with the service, decided it was not worth it, or frustrated enough in some way to give up on it. If Sirius XM wants to blame it all on the economy, I think they're in denial. I understand the need to direct resources at bringing on new subs but, they also need to put more thought into keeping the ones they have. How much better off would they be if they could have hung on to even a third of those who deactivated.
 

sts103

New Member
Jan 6, 2009
16
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Ottawa
Thank you for starting this thread. I think the number of deactivated accounts is significant, particularly for those who purchased non-oem satellite radio systems. These subscribers made a significant investment in the equipment necessary to receive Sirius or XM up front. What would drive this segment to junk their investment in the technology? I suspect that many of them have become disillusioned with the direction satellite radio has taken through the merger. In this economic climate, fewer and fewer people will be inclined to make the initial investment necessary to access satellite radio.

In my own experience, I almost canceled my new subscription with the abrupt programming changes and uninformed customer service. I found answers to basic questions here, not from Sirius.

With a new lease on life, I hope that Sirius XM will demonstrate a commitment to distinct programming beyond terrestrial radio offerings. And I hope that the subscribers will have some influence in the direction satellite radio programming takes. Because beyond the frustrations over abrupt programming changes and very poor customer service, there is still a lot to like about satellite radio. As I have learned from the informed opinions here, with competition from other delivery systems increasing, satellite radio is in danger of becoming irrelevant.
 

FlaDoc

New Member
Jan 13, 2009
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1
I think a good start would be to actually have "customer" service. Right now that term is virtually non-existent at Sirius. I tried to renew my subscription yesterday online and over 24 hours later I still have not received an acknowledgment of receipt of the order.
Later in the day I sent them an email--no acknowledgment. This morning I tried to call on the telephone. After being kept on hold listening to "crappy" elevator music for 40 minutes I hung up, and sent another email.
I just sent another email explaining the situation again, and telling them that if I did not hear back within 24 hours of this most recent email, I will complain directly to CEO Mel Karmazin by certified mail.
Is upper management clueless? Yes, the economic times are tough, but ignore enough of your current customers and they'll soon find themselves begging again for the next "bailout" loan to cover their last loan.
 

Fergz99

Member
Oct 14, 2008
650
15
18
I imagine a fair percentage of the 6,055,072 subscribers that deactivated last year would have done so for financial reasons because of the economy etc. However, IMO a significant percentage of those deactivations also likely occurred because those subs were either unhappy with the service, decided it was not worth it, or frustrated enough in some way to give up on it. If Sirius XM wants to blame it all on the economy, I think they're in denial. I understand the need to direct resources at bringing on new subs but, they also need to put more thought into keeping the ones they have. How much better off would they be if they could have hung on to even a third of those who deactivated.
I think the majority of the cancellations were due to the merger, and not just the merging of the channels. From the XM side it seems like most of the people that were programming the channels were let go and the service lost its feel. They also seem to have changed some channels that didn't need changing.

XM Homeplate was totally changed for no reason, they stopped playing the movie clips on Cimemagic, For some other people they lost Brewer, and Bubba became a replay of a FM show. All of these things happened with in a few weeks of each other. Channels get added and then dropped. They just don't seem like they have a real plan

The service changed to much and just felt very scaled down to me and not the great service i was very happy with in the past.
 

FlaDoc

New Member
Jan 13, 2009
9
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1
Customer service does not exist unless you know how to navigate the Sirius/XM system. An email to Mel Karazin went unanswered. So I sent an email to Jim Meyer, who is next on the totem pole. His response:
"I am very sorry for the problem.
>We have been overwhelmed with customers calling to renew and our service level has suffered.
>No excuse however!
>One of our customer care executives will call you and get things squared away.
>Please fill free to email me directly with any other issues."

Ok, maybe I'm getting somewhere. The day goes by and no one contacts me. I send another email. His response:
"I guarnatee you your rate is safe"
The spelling error is his not mine.

Knowing that I am talking with a brick wall, I poke around the internet a little further and find this little tidbit, kept well hidden on another website. It seems that Sirius has a department they call "executive customer relations", their telephone number is; 1-888-635-5142.

I call this number and it is answered by a live person on the 3rd ring. Holy cow--and this person actually gives me her first and last name, and can help me. She resolves my issue, (at least it appears she did--I'll have to wait and see), and sends me an email confirmation.

At least someone at Sirius/XM is doing their job. No thanks to the talking heads upstairs who are actually running the company.

So if you are having a problem getting customer service issues resolved with Sirius call that number, at least you will speak with a live "English" speaking person who will try to help.

Right now I have no confidence in the upper management at Sirius.
 

jester7677

New Member
Feb 21, 2009
2
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1
Sound quality

How about they improve the sound quality. If your car has ANY decent system in it, listening to the music channels is almost impossible the quality is so bad.

How about cutting some channels and bumping up the bit rate on the MUSIC!

I subscribed a month ago and about to ditch it.
 

Dragline

Member
Nov 12, 2008
84
6
8
How about they improve the sound quality. If your car has ANY decent system in it, listening to the music channels is almost impossible the quality is so bad.

How about cutting some channels and bumping up the bit rate on the MUSIC!

I subscribed a month ago and about to ditch it.

I agree about the sound quality. It's so bad that I no longer listen to the music channels unless its a specialty show (e.g. Eddie Trunk Live, etc.)
 

siriusfan

Member
Nov 5, 2008
74
1
8
I agree sound quality is poor lately, and this is another customer maintenance issue. By their action, or I should say lack of action on this, Sirius gives the impression that this simply is not a priority concern for them. Yet, it is clearly an issue for those who subscribe for the music. Perhaps they have simply decided to write off the audiophiles; another mistake IMO.
 

Steel Cranium

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2008
1,004
49
48
NorthEast Ohio
Easy. LISTEN TO US!!! The 'main' music director was on Stern last week. Did he concentrate on music? No. Trivia. Why not have a call-in show for an hour or two weekly/monthly to discuss the music channels. Add it to any talk station and include programmers from the various stations. All music stations can include a short advert the week before the show. At least they will appear to care about what the listeners think. Better than receiving emails since some discussion can be done to see what's in their heads. Changing/improving music programming is cheap - compared with procuring/resigning talk talent.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
9,434
149
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Louisiana
I think all the unknown for so long while the merger was pending, along with them finally making some hard decisions that simply didn't set real well with many especially on the XM side has a lot of do with the number of deactivation's. Then there is the down turn in the economy and those that were on the fence just decided now was the time to let sat radio go.

However, it is my belief that unless those that left sat radio find a good replacement many of them will eventually return. Some were initially pissed with all the merger changes and rightfully so. People hate change and this change was way to dramatic, along with the fact that they then went up on subscription rates for secondary subs and took away internet listening unless you paid extra. Now all the hard decisions have been made and now is the time for them to push forward.

The question now is will subs continue to bleed off at this rate? I don't think so, unless the economy gets even worse. I think now they can focus on building this as a merged service.
 

Alpolio

New Member
Mar 16, 2009
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1
A friend of mine was going to cancel because he lost his favorite station, but after he thought about it, he reconsidered. FM still sucks and supporting an iPod addiction can be VERY expensive. So, I'm thinking that a lot of people who left will be back before long.

On my end, I haven't lost anything. Hair Nation is still there. :churn:
 

TheScionicMan

Last non-Hating Stern Fan
Oct 11, 2008
2,171
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Just because you agree with a poster in a thread doesn't put you in the majority. If they listened to all the complaints on this forum, they'd have to shut the entire service down...
 

no1hedberg

Member
Oct 13, 2008
335
19
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West Virginia
The problem with the music as I see it is...When they merged the music channels, they also compromised between the deep xm style playists, and the hits based Sirius style. Now, no matter which you prefer you aren't happy. I think it would have been much better to keep the genre specific music channels separate. Instead of keeping both Lucy, and Lithium, and diluting both. They should have kept both and kept them like they were. To me there's a difference between totally consolidating the decade channels, and diluting the genre channels. The beauty of satrad, is the ability to program channels for everyone unlike FM.
 

Steel Cranium

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2008
1,004
49
48
NorthEast Ohio
The problem with the music as I see it is...When they merged the music channels, they also compromised between the deep xm style playists, and the hits based Sirius style. Now, no matter which you prefer you aren't happy. I think it would have been much better to keep the genre specific music channels separate. Instead of keeping both Lucy, and Lithium, and diluting both. They should have kept both and kept them like they were. To me there's a difference between totally consolidating the decade channels, and diluting the genre channels. The beauty of satrad, is the ability to program channels for everyone unlike FM.

Additionally, they removed some unique offerings that weren't merged with something else. When I joined the satrad revolution many years ago (Sirius), it seemed to me that they had a place for every genre. It isn't that way now. Boombox is (was) a great example of a provider of dance/techno music that fits somewhere between rock, rap/r&b, alternative, and heavier (trance/house/etc)dance. Now that it's gone, the only outlet for most of these artists is on a couple-hour show at a time I never remember or playing one of their 'more mainstream' tracks on Alt Nation.

If the music offerings were better, they might keep more folks onboard when Stern leaves. Luckily, FM radio keeps sliding thru the tubes so it's easier to compete.
 

jester7677

New Member
Feb 21, 2009
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1
While I agree with you guys that the play lists are a bit... short and repetitive, I would still listen to them and channel surf a bit more, but I can't bring myself to do that when it sounds like it's coming across a string attached to a tin can.

It's especially difficult because I have Directv and the feed they get is much better than what I get in the car. Not ideal, but definitely better!!!
 
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