Thursday, 5 July 2007

BigPond - Customer Service Slobs

A Phone Call I had with Bigpond (Telstra) yesterday

(BigPond / Telstra Phone Rep) Emily: Hello, welcome to Bigpond. How can I help you?
Me: Hi Emily, how are you?
Emily: Good thank you, how can I help you?

Me: I have an DSL home account with bigpond, and I have reached my monthly download limit.
Emily: ok
Me: I was wondering if I could buy a data block to up my speed until the next refreash cycle. Do you guys do Data Blocks
Emily : No we don’t
Me: you don’t
Emily: No
Me: hmmm
Emily: whats a data block?
Me : right. Thank you…

Just another great example of customer service representatives more eager to end a call than provide good customer service and solve a customers problem. Seth Godin does some great post on this (one of my favourites here…)

It is astronomical how many companies are guilty of this. Yes, cost are a concern, but we must realise that every touch point of our organisation is a marketing opportunity (however subtle or instantaneously unfruitful).

Heres an idea – perhaps instead of calling your company's customer servives reps just that, perhaps call them customer problem solvers or customer mechanics, or customer Einsteins. Change your reps view of themselves, how they view their job and how they exceed at their job (satisfiing customers rather than measuring number of calls taken) and make them feel empowered to help people. Its true – but
helping people is rewarding and empowering – even if it is your job.

Aside: for some info on how telstra views its customer reps (and ultimately their customers), check out the Four Corners report here!)

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Can Dave Hughes sell Gen Y on Manufacturing Jobs?

It seems the Australian governments educational push towards a white collar workforce over the last 10 years have left them with a problem. Generation Y'er don't seem to be turning to their parents saying "when I grow up, I want to work in manufacturing!", so to counter this the leaders of our great country have embarked on a novel campaign to entice youngsters back into the field with a website and a TV campaign headed up by none other than Dave Hughes.

Being that this is a marketing blog, I wont go into detail about my thoughts on the future of Australian maufacturing and the influence China has (and will continue to have) on the western world. But I would like to take a closer look at the campaign from a Gen Y marketing perspective.

Dave Hughes may not be the ideal character to promote the cause and heres why:-

Firstly, Hughesy plays up his persona in the media as being the average bloke, the kind of guy you would expect to find working on the factory floor of a cheese factory (a job that his brother actually does), cracking jokes during smoko. But from looking around the Its Your Future site it seems that this is exactly the type of image they are trying to steer the youth away from.

Secondly, as much as Hughesy comes across as the "maunfacturing industry" type of guy, he actually works on the media (with regular spots of TV and his own breakfast radio show) an industry that is very attractive (and consequently overrun) with the current batch of Gen Y'ers seeking a career path. So by making Hughesy as the spokesman on the basis that the youth look up to him the government actually runs the risk of steering kids up a totally non-manufacturing path.

That said its great to see a guy who has spent years doing stand up routines about his life on the dole now being employed by the government to promote kids getting a job.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Zune, Iphone - Keep it Simple!

What’s the exchange rate between a Zune point and an American dollar? Equals the ratio of Unicorns to Leprechauns! (Courtesy The Office NBC)

Does anyone own a Zune? I have not seen a single person with one. If you did own one, I wonder how much value you are getting from the wireless sharing function (Not much I would guess). But I digress…
My real problem with the Microsoft Zune is the online store. The geniuses at Microsoft decided that consumers found simplicity, well…too simple. So in an attempt to hit a nice sounding price point for customers, they introduced “Zune points”.
Ok so a single track from the Zune market place cost 79 points. One Zune point equal one cent, right? WRONG! Works out one point equals 1.25 cents (roughly), (which would mean one track equals 98.75 cents, hey that’s better than itunes store – best not to market this simply to consumers – could result in increased sales!!!).
Is money as a form of exchange too simple for the geniuses over at Microsoft? KEEP IT SIMPLE!!! Seems like they forgot to run this past the Department of Common Sense. Is it just me, or does Dwight Shrutt look a little like Bill Gates?
It seems companies are getting so caught up in design simplicity, and design capabilities as the best way to deliver value to consumers. But processes have to be simple too. It must be simple to buy, activate and start using your product to.

Another culprit is Apple….
I guess we have all read about the problems that people are having trying to activate their iphones.
From what I have heard the iphone is nice to use. It doesn’t have everything (nor does the ipod) but it is user friendly on the whole. With one design flaw: it needs to be activated to be used.

Despite network connection problems (which a lot of people seem to be having) the activation process seems quite convoluted. . Buyers need access to a Mac or PC computer running Apple's iTunes software, a connection to the Apple online music store and a valid American Social Security number. Read BL's post for some good information on these problems.
Seems Apple got caught up in their design bubble and forgot about the foundations of their recent successes – Simplicity. It’s great for a product to be simple to use, but if you can’t buy it, turn it on or activate it simply, then all the nice design in the world doesn’t help Joe Q with his un-activated phone.