Aiming to stem customer losses in its satellite cable business, DISH Network Corp. (DISH) launched a new advertising campaign confronting what it says is “historic low satisfaction with pay-TV.”

Highlighting the fact that DISH is listening to its customers when it comes to their satisfaction, the “Tuned In To You” ad campaign relies on a so-called “Spokeslistener" who DISH says challenges the traditional spokesperson who typically talks at consumers in advertisements instead of listening. Through a series of TV, radio and digital ads, the Spokeslistener illustrates common frustrations experienced by pay-TV customers and solutions that DISH has to offer.

Tuned In 

"Customers just want to be heard in an industry that has forsaken its ability to listen," said Erik Carlson, DISH president and chief operating officer, said in a press release announcing the new ad campaign. "‘Tuned In To You' is more than a marketing slogan. It's a company-wide rallying cry and a long-term business philosophy. DISH has a history of putting our customers first and taking bold steps to make TV better. We are at our best when we listen to and fight for what our customers want."

DISH isn’t only running ads to win back customers. It also launched an effort in October dubbed Base Camp that is a training program that picks the brains of the frontline employees who deal with DISH customers. Through Base Camp, corporate employees work in the field for one month to gain experience supporting new and existing customers. Employees who take part in the program field customer calls and spend full business days accompanying DISH's professional technicians to observe the in-home services completed daily. "The notion that management should roll back its sleeves and work with its customer base is almost unheard of in corporate America," said Carlson in the release. "But we can't possibly fulfill on our ‘Tuned In To You' promise without a working knowledge of our customers and the interactions they have with our brand." DISH is aiming to “graduate” 700 employees, some of whom are senior leaders, from Base Camp by the end of 2017.

Ad Campaign May Not Be Enough

While DISH is aiming to win back customers, it’s not clear if the new ads and Base Camp will be enough to stem the tide. When DISH reported third-quarter results, it said net subscribers declined by 116,000. In the year-ago third quarter, it lost 23,000 subscribers. DISH blamed the decline in new subscribers on new customer acquisition policies that were stricter and a move on the part of the company to go after higher-quality subscribers. Analysts, according to FactSet, had expected DISH to lose 142,000 customers during the quarter. DISH ended the third quarter will 13.6 million pay subscribers, which is lower than the 13.9 million it ended last year’s third quarter with. Churn, or the rate in which customers leave, increased to 2.11% in the third quarter compared to 1.86% in the year-ago period. (See also: Dish Beats Q3, But New Subscribers Down.)



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