Saturday, 16 February 2013

When no service is better than poor service

We all have been there. When you get poor service, you do not feel happy. You do not walk away with a positive image of a company. It makes you wonder then why organizations then bother.

We can safely assume that organizations do not give poor service with the predetermined objective of pissing off customers. Then, why do they do it. The sad thing is that they honestly were trying to do good, but they just screw it up.

The age old business teaching goes that "vision is nothing without execution".


Let's look at one specific example. I am sure you can come up with thousands of examples similar to this one.

I like listening to internet radio. My favorite internet radio service is Live365. There is probably hundred similar services around. It does not matter. That is not the point. Generally they give a great service. You search for a radio station or genre. I like searching for "showtunes" and they will come up with long lists of stations to choose from. That is great. Then I listen until I hear a tune that sounds good and if I want to buy the mp3 or album, I click on the email button and patiently wait for more information about the tune to arrive in my inbox.

Well, fact is I was listening to the Mostly Harmless station with a tune of Daughtry, It's not over, at the time, when I heard something in the tune that interested me. It was the way the song uses dynamics of the guitars to control the dynamics and flow of mood in the song. Now, Daughtry is not unique in this and not inventing anything new, but credit must be given for doing it effectively. I just wanted an email in my inbox to remind me so I can go back later, buy the mp3 and listen to the song again, and maybe analyze the song structure when I have time.

To get to the moral of the story. The email that arrived in my inbox was a standard advertisement of songs and albums that most likely paid for advertising. It had absolutely no information about the tune that was playing at the time (see screenshot above).

For starter. They ruined the moment. They lost my trust. I trusted that I would get the information requested and there should have been no need for me to whip out any notebook and make notes. Now I feel a little foolish for having trusted in them and not kept my own notes. Lesson to be learned: Do not break the trust of your customers. Never make your customer feel like a fool. Next time you try to sell that customer something, that customer will think twice about spending his money.

The second lesson to be learned here lies a little deeper. I am not sure where the process has gone wrong, but I wonder if anybody at Live365 actually test their services. Has anybody up there tried that email button themselves and actually realized that it does not deliver on a promise? The lesson here is: never try to sell your customer something that you will not buy yourself. And going with this, test, test and test your service yourself. Check that those buttons actually does what your customer expect it to do.

The third and last lesson here is: never address your customer as member_157644whatever. It sound stupid, silly and just plain lazy. It takes just a few seconds of programming time to actually retrieve the first name of your customer from the database.

I'm pretty sure these lessons apply to producers of shows, just as much as it applies to online radio stations.


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