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.

About Michael Rosenbaum


Quadrant Five founder Michael Rosenbaum has walked the walk when it comes to building a business, so he can be a confidant and compatriot—not just an advisor—for clients. Rosenbaum worked his way up to president of a $35 million company with 300 people and 600 clients. Along the way, he managed operations, HR, IT, and marketing, and advised CEOS and CFOs at more than 200 companies.

Beginning as a newspaper reporter, he developed a specialization in business journalism and earned an MBA on his way to a 30-year consulting career. Representing both angel-backed startups and Fortune 100 giants, Rosenbaum identified the patterns and processes that drive success across a wide range of industries and business cycles.

He is well regarded for designing each performance-improvement process around specific client needs, capabilities, and culture, rather than pushing a pre-fab set of rules for clients to follow. He brings a unique set of skills to each engagement, including experiences as a company president, financial journalist, marketer, IR advisor, non-profit founder, author, and public speaker. Items of note include:

• Received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2015 for non-profit work
• Honored for the Best Business Biography of 2012 for his fifth book, Six Tires, No Plan
• Frequent speaker on customer relationship value
• Sales instructor for Certified Value Growth Advisor certification program.
• Regional Communications Chair, YPO Gold
• Marketing Chair, AMAA’s Mid-Market Alliance
• Former Chicago Chapter Chair, National Association of Corporate Directors

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