November 16, 2009

The Customer is Always Right

If you have parents of a certain age, or have ever worked retail, you've no doubt had this axiom drilled into you. Ever had such bad service that you stormed out of somewhere screaming at the top of your lungs, "I will never set foot in this f**king place again!"? Been there, done that. Difference - now I can tell many more about this, not just word of (foul) mouth.

Last week was World Usability Day and I've been keeping an eye on personal (cross-channel) user and customer experiences since then.

(with grades):

  • New Visa card with PIN arrives in mail. 45 min. on the phone to get the thing activated THEN I still have to go to the branch to change the PIN. (D).
  • iPhone purchase (B+) at an actual retail store, activation [I had to make 3 calls on how to switch out my PIN card and activate with iTunes] (C-). Now that I have it working, customer delight (A).
  • Mikael was trying to cook some pasta the other night and there was no cooking time on the package (F).
Brandon Schauer's recent post on the nexus of Brand and Customer Experience, paired with heady the stuff of The Brand Gap and the evidence from Razorfish's FEED report are all saying the same thing. Your customer is always right, whether you like it or not, and your Brand can be adversely affected, slandered, or outright abandoned for a competitor.

Of course, depending on switching costs, a customer may persist with your Brand, but that doesn't mean they're happy about it. The key difference now is that they have a voice to make their displeasure heard
- and don't doubt that they'll use it.

No comments: