Step 1: Promise and don’t deliver. Repeat step 1 at least three times to ensure success.
Step 2: When not delivering, fail to offer proper notification or timely responses to customer service requests.
Step 3: When faced with the customer complaint about the previous two points, remind the customer that your terms & conditions clearly state that you may, on occasion, fail step 1 & 2.
Bonus points: Ask the customer for money for that which you did not deliver.
This is the kind of stuff that I would expect from growing companies that may be growing faster than they can cope. But, I’ve recently had this experience with two large (market cap of 24+ and 73+ billion) and well established companies. You can’t make this stuff up. And in today’s competitive environment… there are no second chances.
Clearly the regular posting is off to a slow start, but I swear I am trying, haha
So here’s a short note about customer service (and I guess it’s also about LEGAL MP3 downloads). Now, given that the price difference between the regular disc and the MP3 album is often small and that I play discs in my car, I usually go for the disc instead of the MP3 (and rip it myself to play it on my computer and throw the CD in the car collection). But, I did make an exception twice.
First time I bought an MP3 album from Amazon, all was good. I liked the great quality, it was DRM free, so thumbs up for Amazon, thumbs down for iTunes. The second time I bought from Amazon, which was about a week back, things didn’t go so well. The download went good, but then the tracks were skipping (I’m guessing the original CD they were ripped from was dirty or scratched). So in other words, another small but terribly annoying problem, just as I had previously with iTunes. Now here’s the difference. When my iTunes album was messed up, I tried to contact them about it and I never heard back. This small failure in customer service ensured that I will never buy a track from iTunes again. On the other hand, Amazon responded fantastically fast (I think in less than two hours every time I wrote to them), were very polite and offered me a whole bunch of solutions. Now, the solutions themselves looked as if an automatic answering system spit them out because they were all solutions for download problems instead of messed up tracks, but with a service as big as Amazon, some preset answers don’t surprise me much, you have to keep things going, I can understand that – even if it doesn’t make me very happy. Eventually, unable to get things figured out, I requested a refund and again, very quickly, I received a confirmation that I will get refunded AND I was invited to try and get the MP3 album again in a few days, after they try and get a corrected version up (finally an acknowledgment of the real problem).
Now sure, I am still upset that the whole thing didn’t work right and now I have to get the disc instead and wait for it to be mailed and all, but their responsive customer service made me happy. Yes, I will think twice before buying an MP3 album again, but I might nonetheless. And I will definitely still consider Amazon my number one choice for Internet purchases as long as they keep up the good work like this. Everybody makes mistakes and that’s normal. It’s how you react to those mistakes that sets the difference, especially when it comes to mistakes towards your customers.
A little note here: the OVERALL quality of legal MP3 sales has got to go up, otherwise you will never convince people to stop doing it illegaly. If you download an album illegaly and it’s messed up, you don’t lose a cent, but when you start paying for it, you have some expectations and if those are not met, ethics alone will not keep people on the right track. Actually, they probably will increase the popularity of illegal solutions if anything.
Just in case anyone’s curios, this is the album I am trying to get. I highly recommend it: Bach:Concertos