I've had HughesNet internet service for about 3 years now, and overall I have been somewhat satisfied with the internet speed/connection (for what it is, can't really compare it to cable internet).
However, every time I call customer service it is maddening. I am a User Experience Specialist, and have served this in this career for many years. You need a User Experience Specialist more than any company I've ever experienced!
Here are some tips, from my expert knowledge and experience in my field, that would make a HUGE difference to your company and would give you a better reputation overall. (just look at all the negative feedback on this thread!)
1. Be honest up-front and on your website. - I called to install new internet service and I was quoted a price that differed because the website pricing did not include the equipment rental fee. Why not just include that in the pricing? or put a note by the pricing indicating that? (not at the bottom of the website in small text) This makes you look deceptive right away.
2. I must have had a new sales girl assisting me, because I feel like every question I asked had an answer that was made up. For instance, referring to #1, she initially told me that sometimes the website doesn't keep up with their pricing. That is an unacceptable answer, you should honor that pricing, otherwise it is false advertising, so I told her to go ask her supervisor and then he told her it is because of the rental fee (which I looked afterwards and it the rental fee is only $10/month, and I'm getting charged $15/month more, so that's messed up). - Your sales people need to be trained to answer those types of questions. Having a great customer service person makes all the difference in the world, even if the actual product it crappy.
Some other questions I asked that she had BS answers too... "What if I move and the southern side is completely blocked?" (she said they'd find a work around, but the answer you should be giving is "If for any reason we can't provide service, we will terminate the contract." You need to let the customer feel reassured that they aren't backing into a corner.) - Another question: "If I paid more, could I do a one year contract or month to month." (She said no, that's all you had, and the 24 month contract is actually for MY protection so that great deal of a price is locked in... let's be real, a 24 month contract is not in your customer's best interest.)
3. The number one rule of a great user experience is to allow a customer to be able to "undo" or "back out." - You don't allow this, at all, there is no trial period, and you don't even mention it is a 24 month contract until the end of the call and it doesn't mention it on your website (be upfront and honest, it goes a long way). If no trial period, then offer a second option, a shorter contract or month-to-month, even if it is more expensive. This way, the 24 month actually seems like a better deal and more people will opt for it.
4. Incentivize... The only incentive I see that you've given is referrals (but seriously, who is going to refer a company that has horrible customer service?). I called in to get a 2nd internet satellite system installed for my kids, and they told me that I had to create an entirely new account (but that doesn't count as a referral to myself for some reason? Because it is not technically a new account, it is a child account? Why even tell the customer a new account has to be created at all then? It is so confusing, and doesn't make any sense any way you slice it, to normal people.) I also asked about getting the same price as what I got on my first satellite internet service, since I had been a customer for 3 years, but nope, you would not honor that and I'm paying more for less data. - Make your customers happy and want to stay with you because you CARE about retaining their business.
5. Huge fail on the supervisor's role. I heard him in the background yelling "Come on! Sales Sales Sales!" - you make it VERY clear it is NOT about the customer that you care about, but instead commissions. At no point in my call did I feel like you care about me as a customer, you just wanted the sale and to lock me in for 24 months. What other company does that before you even have the ability to try a product? That is a LONG commitment. You need to stand behind your product 100%.
6. Be 100% transparent - You are perfectly fine to record customer service calls, but you don't allow customers to record calls. Why is that? Makes you look like you have something to hide... sounds like a scam.
You'd be surprised how well your company would do if you were flexible on so many aspects of your service. Xfinity has come a long way in customer care over the years, you should do a comparative analysis on how other companies treat their customers and retain customers. Unfortunately, people come to you because they are out of options and in some cases are desperate for any internet connection, and you use that vulnerability to maximize your pockets. I know people in my rural area who cancelled your service and use a mobile hot spot now, not because of your product, but because of the customer service, and they tell everyone to avoid you at all costs. Is that what you want your reputation to be? You'd get more referrals if you could provide an overall better customer experience and let the customer feel a little more in control.
I hope you consider some of these tips, just a few things would go a long way. Take it from someone who has many many years experience in creating better user experiences for customers. I'd be happpy to answer any questions you may have or offer more suggestions as needed.
You may want to link to the website you were viewing for the information in #1 and #3 so that it can be addressed if it was on a HughesNet website.
HughesNet's main website shows the options, as in lease vs buy, and the $14.99 lease fee is listed in the lease option. This is after you input your location information, of course. As well, that service plans require a 24 month commitment is also shown. It's not in the same size writing as the price or offerings, but those kinds of caveats never are.
The lease fee for Gen4 was $9.99 per month.