Author Archive

Customer (Dis)Service

Once again, Apple has updated the software for my IPhone and, once again, they’ve given me a bunch of stuff that I don’t want, don’t need, and absolutely won’t use. This is a great lesson, and another cautionary tale, about customer (dis)service.

As if often the case with software updates, most of the changes are minor. I push the home button twice to get into the phone, for example, instead of swiping right. Notifications are different, some screens are different…mostly no big deal. Still, it’s not immediately apparent why Apple wants me to change from the changes that they changed the last time I updated the software, or the time before, or the time before.

I know that somewhere, somehow, the brilliant minds at Apple think this is new AND IMPROVED!! To my mind, though, it’s as if I bought a car and, one night, the dealer came by and moved the ignition switch from the steering column to the glove compartment. Yeah, I can still figure out how to start the car, but what was the point of that change? I’ll still be reaching for the steering column three weeks from now and, each time I do, I will grumble about the dealer. Does that make me less likely to stay on as a customer? Yessiree.

All the readers who have memorized our website know that question two in the Q5 process is: Do your best customers believe you are doing something better? Inside the company, updates and tweaks can look like a fountain of innovation. When the customer logs on, these changes can be an annoyance at best and a pain at worst. Each time Apple sends me one of these updates, I find myself one step closer to buying my first Android.

Customer service is defined by the customer, not the vendor, so it can pay to find out what the customer views as value, and what makes the customer less loyal. The answers won’t be universal, of course, but patterns are likely to emerge. When a company is spending money on a service that customers don’t appreciate, a new profit improvement opportunity is staring us in the face.