Directv has recently been running a ton of commercials featuring Rob Lowe. One of them in particular bugs me – it’s the one that talks about their 99% reliability. Not 99.99% reliability – just 99%. Just to verify, I went to their website which says the same thing (screengrab below):
99% reliability. Said another way, 99 days out of 100 it works. Said yet another way expect to have a non-working signal between 3 and 4 days every single year. Said yet another way, expect to have a non-working signal half a week every year.
Suddenly it doesn’t sound all that great.
They get away with it because people are generally bad at crunching these kinds of numbers. 99% reliability sounds great but imagine if 1 out of every 100 text message you sent just didn’t get through to who you were sending it to, it would cause havoc.
These things are important. You are being told you are being sold a fairly unreliable service (in my opinion) but they are positioning it as if it is a strength because they don’t think you are going to actually do the math.
If they wanted to sell me on customer service, great – I’m buying. If they wanted to sell me on a better user experience in general, excellent – I’m all for it. But don’t try to pretend something bad is something good.