Customer Service – The Good, The bad, The Ugly Part 2: Get a Clue

1378435745_mailToday is the official start of the NFL football season and to celebrate it I’ve received two emails and counting from ESPN.  One was a reminder that “NFL is back and ESPN has you covered” and the other was a reminder to download the fantasy football app.  Last week I got the same reminder emails about college football and their corresponding ESPN College Football App.  Seems like harmless notifications right?  When I already own both apps and have likewise signed into both with the same credentials that included the very email address these emails were blasted to I find these emails decidedly repetitive and annoying.  This post could be considered a bit of an overreaction but my frustrations go way beyond these emails; they just serve to illustrate a point.  The point is, those emails were dumb.  Ok so now I sound juvenile right?  Couldn’t I have used a more eloquent word than dumb.  Nope.  There are at least two factors that qualify something as simply dumb.  The first is could it have been avoided?  The second…see factor #1.  In the case of the ESPN example a simple algorithm in ESPN’s databases could very easily have filtered out anybody who has downloaded those apps by corresponding registered emails.  The emails were simply pointless to me an already engaged app user.  Is there anything wrong with a reminder email, no but folks these were not reminders emails, they were blatant pitches to download their apps.  A separate reminder email encouraging me to engage with the app would have been just fine and frankly expected if I had opted in to subscribe to their alerts and correspondence.  Junk mail.  Purely avoidable.  Dumb.  ESPN has the means to know that I already own their apps and use them. Read More

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CANCEL FOR CREDIT

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I visited Salesforce.com today to find out what the hub bub I’ve been hearing recently was all about.  I come across at least one mention a day about the workforce service company and my own employer recently instituted it for it’s sales and marketing folks.  Working in engineering I was left out so I decided to hop over to the site for an in depth looksy maybe see if I can find some usable tools for my team.  On the home screen was a link to the obligatory demo videos you usually find for enterprise sites so naturally I clicked on it.  What it took me to precisely sums up everything that companies so easily miss about providing a good consumer/customer experience – a form.  Oh yes, it wanted to know my name company, address, email, and phone number before it promised to give me unfettered access to their products’ demo videos.  Folks this is like saying you have to fill out a form before you can watch the next Apple commercial!  It’s getting so that every site you go, every place you shop wants you to fill something out.  For crying out loud I came to you to shop, let me shop already!!!!  There aren’t enough exclamation marks for that last statement!

Some marketing guru decides they need to gather as many metrics as possible to market effectively that they’ve forgotten one basic metric – what turns off their customers?  Why did they walk out of the store empty handed or clicked that ‘X’ to your site without emptying their virtual cart?  Forms aren’t going to give you that metric because your customer is gone the second you thrust one at them.  The only information you need is my credit card number when I pay and that’s ALL that should matter!  Asking me twenty questions on the card swipe screen feels an awful lot like entrapment!  Have you ever thought to yourself “Well I’ve already swiped my card so they’ve got my information so I guess I better answer all these stupid questions?”  As long as we’re talking about swiping credit cards why on earth don’t they just say CREDIT; why must I press CANCEL  for credit (it’s a rhetorical question of course, it’s because of the difference in fees banks charge between debit and credit transactions but that’s beside the point I’m making)?  Why does paying have to be so complicated (self checkout stations)?  I’ve already shopped with you, I’ve placed goods on your sales counter, I’m now handing you my payment now stop selling me something and say “Thank You!”  That would be good customer service right?  Finally use some common sense already because I’m not going to open up Target Red Card to save 5% on a $4.32 purchase!  I could go on and will soon in an upcoming look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer service.  Stay tuned.

iSick

Sick_SmileyThe original iPod debuted November 10, 2001 and along with it a whole new naming convention was born or should I say iBorn. Ick, even typing words with the lowercase ‘i’ moniker makes my stomach turn because of its over usage. Since then countless products, apps, and companies, have all decided to pile on Apple’s coat tails and ride the iWave by following the exact same product naming convention. It wouldn’t surprise me if some silly parents haven’t named their kid iTom or worse by now. Maybe it’s the rebel streak in me but I just can’t stand it if what I wear, what I buy, my hobbies, or even the way I talk isn’t distinguishable and I just don’t fully understand the onslaught of blatant Apple capitalization and Wanna-Bes. I suppose I can understand the Apple related accessories or Apple geared apps using the ‘i’ moniker to some extent, particularly those exclusive to Apple products only but most are frankly a stretch. I once bought a baby monitor that was conveniently named an iMonitor. The name suggests that perhaps it’s one of those fancy video monitors that can sync with your iPhone right? Wrong, it was just a pair of radios and an audio transmitter. A companion app was non-existent. It had nothing to do with Apple. There’s an app called iFart need I say more? Alright, that’s funny and maybe it gets a pass, nevertheless.

Now I’m not suggesting Apple owns the use of the letter ‘i’ as part of a product name. Rather what I am saying is though they weren’t the first, they’ve made it part of their branding and part of our everyday vernacular. They were original with their marketing campaigns and naming conventions. I’m basically saying what happened to good old-fashioned marketing creativity? Be proud of your product on its own laurels if it has any game. At least use a different vowel as a moniker. Come on uCreate it! See not that hard (for the record I’ll try and not title another post with the ‘i’ moniker).