Monday, June 1, 2009

Service vs. Price: Service Matters

Long time, no post – got distracted by lots of travel and the wedding of my of my best friends (if you cared to, you can see the party pics here
).

So to the point – came across a great article on CNN living - Customer service 'vigilantes' target executives
, thanks to the weekly OMMA newsletter. I have always been of the mind that you either offer customer service or you don’t – there is no in between. I recently tried to cancel my premium subscription on LinkedIn – it took me a while to figure out how to do it. I had to browse through multiple pages of unrelated content and then why I finally got to the instructions, they made little sense so I had to reread them a few times. There was no human I could speak to, no live chat option. And although I still use LinkedIn pretty religiously, I am no longer as impressed by them as I used to be.

I am even less impressed by Hotels.com – their cancellation policies are inconsistent from one booking to the next, and they do little to warn their customers of the potential losses. I had to learn the hard way – when I called their customer service line, I had an agent who kept reading from their web site a few lines of copy that clearly did not make any sense. The rep even asked me to recreate the booking so I could see that the coy was there. Very helpful indeed.

I had to sync my iPod with my new Mac a few months ago (was proudly switching from a PC). When I got to Apples customer care rep, he advised me that he could help me but it would cost me $25. The alternative was to search through Apple forums for my answer. In then turned out that he could help me for free, he just did not get why I was calling in the first place. What is wrong with that picture?

If we live in tough times, shouldn’t each customer and each interaction matter? Shouldn’t each brand experience we have be thought through? Do we really need to resort to finding top execs at companies so we can be listened to?

Companies and brand will have to get it that we do live in a new culture – a convergence culture. A culture where customers will not only have a voice, but will shape who makes it and who does not. Watch this video on Scott Kirsner’s blog
on Henry Jenkins’ take on convergence culture.
Scratch

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