I am continually amazed at businesses that just won’t respond to me. Businesses may commit many sins, may have many faults, but the one thing that is sure to send me looking at other options is if they don’t speak to me. So, ok, this is not a post about accessibility, but I needed to get it off my chest!
In these difficult financial times, I would think that businesses would work very hard at retaining existing customers, and acquiring new ones. You hear business folks say "we lost customers this month", and lament about that. The thing is, they haven’t *lost* customers. They pushed customers away. This happens a lot, but I’m thinking about two specific experiences that happened recently:
2 Degrees Mobile Limited
The recent new company on the mobile phone market, 2 Degrees, was running a pre-launch campaign. People who signed up for it were promised a free $5 SIM card, for a "chin wag". Cool. So I went on the website to sign up. I encountered problems, the site just did not work for me, whether I used the computer at home or at work, whether I used Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Explorer or Opera. Annoying, but not the end of the world.
I rang to sign up, they took my details, and said that they would send me the SIM shortly after they announced their pricing in early August. I waited.
Last week, I received a txt from 2 Degrees telling me that my SIM card was in the mail. Post in New Zealand pretty much takes two business days to arrive. It has now been 7 business days since I received the txt from them. I asked on Twitter for updates, but have not received any response whatsoever from @2degreesmobile. Not to several public tweets, nor a couple DM’s. Yesterday, I finally responded to the txt I got, asking for an update. No response.
At this point, I don’t think I *would* actually sign up with them. Setting aside the fact that they don’t really cater for high-data users, the mere fact that they’ve been repeatedly and continually ignoring me is speaking louder than words. Their silence is telling me this: They don’t actualy want my business. They did not lose my business. They pushed me away. Here I was, ready to give them a fair trial and check them out. And now, their actions (or lack thereof) have pushed me away.
We’ve been Orcon customers for a while now and been satisfied with the level of service we got. Didn’t really need to contact customer service for anything.
Then we contacted them to discuss upgrading our plan. We did as they prefer, dropped a ticket on their site. Did not hear back from them for two weeks. Dropped another ticket, still no answer for nearly a week. Rang, on hold for nearly an hour, no real help at all. Eventually, after a few calls we were able to speak to someone who was able to help. During the discussion, we learned that if we’d rang the line for new/prospective customers, the hold is about 5 minutes, whereas the hold goes nearer 60 on the existing customers line!
The lack of response from Orcon was quite disappointing. Here we were, wanting to upgrade our plan, and they weren’t talking to us!
Orcon did not *lose* us as customers. They pushed us away.
If you are running a business, just be responsive to your existing and potential clients. Build a relationship with them. Don’t ignore them, because if you ignore them, they’ll go somewhere else. You might have the best price, or the best product, but if your interaction with customers is crap, you’re pushing them away.
The same could be said about FOSS projects too.