There are those rare companies where interacting with them is not a dreaded experience: Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines, Ritz Carlton, Crutchfield, Cannon, Groovix. There are not many. And even just providing something that just works is seen as a treat. The all too common dis-service, combined with the internet, leads to Consumer Vigilantes:
A swell of corporate distrust – exacerbated by high executive pay, accounting lapses, and the offshoring of jobs – has people feeling more at odds with companies than ever before.
Years of dialing the call center for a technician yielded at least eight missed appointments by Comcast, he says, but a post on ComcastMustDie brought a phone call the next morning and, later, a lead technician who showed up on time. Now, Salup says: “Anytime I have a problem, I also post it on the blog.”
Pretty lousy systems thinking (or really failures to think systemically). Pay executives obscenely and cut service until customers literally can’t stand you so much they don’t just want to avoid you they want you out of business.
And then instead of fixing the system, just burn the toast (follow the link for an explanation). Then wait for those that get the burnt toast to tell everyone that you sold them burnt toast. Then, after they do that, go scrape it for them. This is not what Dr. Deming meant when he encouraged companies to eliminate the need to inspect for quality. Of course you know that (you are reading this blog after all). Maybe the business schools decided to cut down Deming’s ideas to just eliminating inspection and a couple other sound bites. And then tell the MBA’s not to bother reading all the rest of that… we have to get on to the cost reduction strategies that will make sure you move into the c-level and get the real money.
But some companies just push people so far they have to let people know about how poorly they have been treated. Some past posts highlight the frustrating experiences bloggers, including me, share about how badly we have been treated: Ritz Carlton (good) and Home Depot (bad) – Incredibly Bad Customer Service from Discover Card – More Bad Customer Service Examples – Poor Service, an Industry Standard? (HP) – Comcast HD DVR Is Simply, Terribly Awful
Consumerist, is a great site, doing what it can to counter some of the horrible service.