It's as easy as pizza but they just don't get it.
There's no shortage of corporate arrogance. You can see signs of it everywhere and it can creep into every organization. As soon as the organization begins to think that it knows better than its customers, they begin to lose their traction. It's interesting to me that many companies only decide that this is truly a problem when better competition comes along. At that point, they blame the mass exodus on the competition, not on their own incompetence.
It's as though companies believe that there's no R.O.S., or Return on Service. Some companies have huge customer churn… and rather than trying to fix the issue and show appreciation for the customer, they merely pump more dollars into acquiring customers to replace the ones who have left. They continue trying to fill the leaky bucket until nothing works – and they die. Many of these companies have very deep pockets, though, and continue to squander the splendid potential they might have had into treating us fairly, justly, and honestly.
condescending, arrogant, complaisant, disdainful, egotistic, lofty, lordly, patronizing, smart ass, snobbish, snooty, supercilious, superior, uppish, uppity – Thesaurus.com – Arrogance
Here are some superb examples of arrogance this week:
- Samsung – when a customer filmed how easily it was to break a phone, Samsung decided to take legal action against the customer rather than fixing the phone.
- Katherine Harris – when she posted her blog in her new disaster of a campaign, it appears her visitors were none other than spoofed emailers from the company that built out the site.
- HP – rather than working to build better hardware (we have a new HP plotter at work that was replaced today… I think we could get 1 page out between each repair), HP decided somehow that spying on their corporate staff would somehow provide improved results… someone needs to explain this to me. A company that doesn't respect its own employees is not one that I wish to be associated with.
- Ask.com – Trying to boost usage of it's search engine, Ask.com is launching a media blitz to try and attract users. Why don't you take that money and make a product worth using? I guess since they think they have a cool home page now, people will use them more.
- Apple – admits there is a ‘slight' problem with it's MacBooks automatically shutting down. Definition of ‘slight'? Too expensive for a recall.
- Microsoft – Don't build a great product, just get everyone to download it without asking them by labeling it as a ‘critical update'. I wrote about this. It seems their intent is a little more devious than I had imagined, by changing your default search engine to MSN upon installation of IE7.
- Ticketmaster – ALL developers should take note of this… in Canada, Ticketmaster is being sued because their website is not accessible by folks with handicaps. My site is not fully accessible either but this story is a red flag. We should all be striving to provide services to all customers! The fact is, it's simply a resource issue.. nothing else. As well, it's quite a way to provide your customers or prospects with the sense that you do care.
Some stories do have happy endings, though:
- Facebook – with their newest functional release, Facebook inadvertently affected their customers' privacy protection. I'm confident that they will make a full recovery thanks to the leadership of the company.
- Digg – in an effort to provide better weighting for stories in their powerful viral placement engine, Digg stuck it to its power users, who may have been using the system for their own gain. Digg made the right decision by improving it's service to ALL customers rather than the few Diggers who were gaining more and more power.
- GetHuman and Bringo/NoPhoneTrees.com are gathering the forces to provide insight on how to usurp automated phone systems to get a real voice on the other end of the phone.
- ZipRealty – a site that allows folks to post their comments online about homes that they've visited that are for sale.
- Ford – while the company is not doing well, Ford is being bold. Even so bold as to shift some ad dollars to popular blogs!
I hope you see the relationship here… successful businesses moving to improve relationships, products, and services with their clients while poor companies ignore, challenge, bully and make assumptions with their clients. If only we could all remember that:
- You can't comprehend how important your product is to your client.
- You can't foresee how changing your product will impact your clients until you do.
- You do not fully understand how your customers use your product.
- If you don't talk / listen / respect / thank / empathize with / apologize to / your clients, someone else will.
- Your customer pays your salary.
You told me what you were going to sell me. I told you how I wanted it. You told me when I would get it. You delivered it to me when you said you would. You delivered what you said you would. You delivered what I asked you to. I paid you. You thanked me. I thanked you. I'll order again soon.
It's as easy as pizza.