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Willow TV Fail - Could Customer Service Get Worse?

by Samir Chopra

Yesterday over on Eye on Cricket, I posted a long recounting of my woes with Willow TV, the monopoly rights holders for live cricket streaming in the US. It’s a pretty bizarre situation; I have been their customer for a long time (about five years now), and while I have often found their service problematic (their website interface is quite clunky, they often don’t deliver on promises, they pull archival material off the site a little too quickly), I have stayed on as a customer, because a) I like access to high-quality live streams rather than messing around with bootleg feeds and b) I’d like to encourage vendors of streaming cricket in general so that the menu of offerings available to US customers can grow in size and variety.

Willow has done some things right recently. They have finally moved to Flash after years of disastrous experimentation with Windows Media Player and then Microsoft’s Silverlight. Now, as a result, they can deliver live feeds to all platforms and all OS’s (I was frustrated for a long time at being forced to use Windows and not my usual Ubuntu machine). They deliver high-quality HD streams at 1Mbps. And so on.

But their customer service remains poor, their website is still badly disorganized, and they act complacent. Amazingly enough, given their US-centric operation, there is no phone number to call if you have a problem. Just one email address. And the folks at that email address have decided they don’t want to talk to me anymore. And, apparently, they don’t want my money anymore. When I ask them if this is the case, they simply refuse to answer. I have, in short, been sent to Coventry. The silent treatment is what I deserve apparently.

Yesterday, on Eye on Cricket, I posted some half a dozen emails I have sent them since February, asking questions, requesting clarification, trying to sign up for the monthly subscription etc. No answers. In desperation, I contacted Vijay Srinivasan, an old acquaintance of mine from our days of chatting about cricket on IRC. Vijay was the founder of Willow and is still involved with the company. After a brief exchange (one email and one line long), he stopped replying. I even called Reliance BGE’s office in Mumbai in an effort to contact someone at Willow. No luck.

I sent two more emails yesterday; one again to Support, one more to Vijay. Here they are. Still no reply. The amazing thing about this whole episode from start to finish has been that it is about a long-standing customer, who wants to spend more money on them, who wants to find out how to fix a glitch so that he can do so. But he can’t.

I'd be very interested in hearing about people's experiences with Willow (I mean Desis and non-Desis in the US obviously). And if anyone has their ear, you might want to ask them whats up. I can't get them to listen to me.

Here is the email to support:

Subject: Unable to sign up for the monthly package

I am unable to sign up for the monthly subscription as your site says I'm signed up for the World Cup Package. Please advise.

Here is the email to Vijay Srinivasan:


Have I been declared persona non-grata over at Willow? I'd appreciate a reply from someone on how to subscribe for the monthly package. I'm now up to six messages sent without a reply.

If I am persona non-grata over at Willow, a notification to that effect would be useful. I can start thinking about alternative ways to find live cricket in the US, and stop being a customer for Willow (as I have been for several years). I've blogged on this bad customer service and didn't like doing it, but some appreciation for long standing customers seems to be in order. But of course, if this relationship is to be terminated, and you guys don't want me as a customer, please do let me know.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They do not care about customer service because Willow TV is just a company created to hide a far more lucrative business