Apple’s .mac service changeover to MobileMe was a complete debacle. The system was down for more or less the day before the iPhone 2.0 launch and for that entire day. If you rely on your .mac account for your email, like a lot of independent consultants and graphic design professionals, that downtime cost you real money.
I’ve got a .mac account for backup and file exchange purposes, so the downtime was more of an annoyance to me than anything. I didn’t expect anything from Apple, except an update telling me that everything was stable and an apology.
To my surprise, I got an email apologizing as well as a free month of service. Smart customer service move by Apple which, like L.L. Bean, knows service. The cost of providing that extra month of service is ~$0 and should easily pay for itself in forgone churn.
Ever get email that just makes you wonder who’s minding the shop? I was looking to redeem some My Coke Rewards points for a free T-shirt and couldn’t find anything in my size. I filled out an on-site question and got a response back in 3 minutes.
This was good! Unfortunately it was a response that only told me they were going to respond and triggered some laughter on my part.
The email took me right back to the early days of the first CRM systems and looked like a programmer’s “default” response that nobody at Coke‘s vendor could be bothered to adjust. Well, it’s only been two years since the program launched, so perhaps I need to give them some time.
In all honesty, I truly believe that Coke will put the right sizes back in stock and I’ll be happy. I’ve never had anything other than a good experience with their products and practically marinade in Coke Zero. I just wish they’d read their emails before they sent them out.
Summary and key takeaways
Check all your customer communications by putting yourself in their place. That means log in at home, at night and do the strange and wonderful things that our customers do. See how you respond and see if it makes sense.
Put your customer communications on the wall. The best idea I’ve heard is to set up a room and lay out everything you do to communicate with your customers, in the order in which it’s sent. On the stuff that doesn’t make sense, is off brand strategy or just ugly, tag it with a red sticker. Then start punching through in priority order, particularly the things that hurt conversion or drive down ARPU or unit of sale.
Read my email chain with KO after the jump. photo credit: myuibe
Our email problems have been solved, so I can now be reached either at my AIM address or MAP Consulting email address. It looks like it was a hardware problem that’s been sorted out. Nice work by the AOL mail team with the fix and communication.
Every once in a while, I get a great email from one of the many companies I do business with online. Today’s great email is from ProFlowers and contains both an outstanding offer and some great strategic thinking.
Unbeknownst to me, ProFlowers suffered from some serious downtime yesterday. And with it getting close to Valentine’s Day ordering season, that’s a huge problem. The good news is that their website is fixed.
The better news is that I’m saving 15% off my wife’s Valentine’s Day flowers! Continue reading →
Today’s example of online marketing waste, which probably went awry someplace in the 4% of process (see Focus on the Four in our featured article section), comes from Samsung in the form of a promotion for their new Blackjack II cellular phone, which is available to subscribers of AT&T’s wireless network.
A couple of reasons why it’s a good thing I received this promotion: