Startups needn’t worry about customer support until they get big, right? Wrong ! You really need to start thinking about it as part of your business planning process.Read More
Knowledge Management is hard. Getting it right is a discipline, something to focus on, and it’s often something that is not considered as part of standard daily processes. Here are 10 mistakes that many businesses make, and a bunch of ways to fix them.Read More
Immersive Reality tech (VR, AR, MR) isn't anywhere near the public consciousness. It's not mainstream. We hear that all the time. It's not ready, it's too expensive, etc (read my blog from a few months ago https://lnkd.in/eWVzwV5)
So imagine my surprise when an advert popped up on my browser - for Windows MR (Acer) of all things, IN ARGOS of all places. For those not in the UK, Argos is a "catalogue store". You go into a high street (or out-of-town) bricks and mortar store, browse a several-hundred page catalogue, write your product code down, go to the checkout & pay, and then collect from a glorified warehouse. It's renowned for being broad in scope, and cheap on price.
The product is advertised at £370 (a little over $520 at the time of writing). So my question & fascination is - who is this advert designed for ?
Argos is not the place that springs to mind for early adopters, far-from-it. The general populus who will drop into Argos for some towels or a CD rack or perhaps the latest must-have christmas present will be tripped as soon as they see the advert and the only technical detail is "Simply plug the device into a compatible PC".
Argos do not offer direct customer service or support for this kind of product. Their help page simply points to a phone number for Acer. The product page itself offers no clues as to what you actually need to get this hardware running (other than a Windows 10 PC). So even if someone decides to buy this kind of hardware from this kind of retailer, the likelihood of it being returned is probably incredibly high.
My interest is that someone, somewhere, decided to spend some marketing budget on promoting a product that is very unlikely to be suited to the target demographic of this retailer. Whilst it's a very positive move forward in terms of pushing this technology to a broader customer base, the potential impact from a customer experience standpoint could do far more damage than good.
I applaud the initiative, but.... why ? Marketing incentives I suspect.
Customer Loyalty isn't passive, but making it active can also be quite aggressive.
I'm a Vodafone customer. I have been for countless years, firstly as part of the WDS contract, but in the past 2 years personally. My customer experience has always been incredibly passive - from both directions.
Recently, I had a number of incessant contacts from O2 telling me that my Daughter's contract could be renewed and because of a current offer we could save a significant sum. So I made the changed and saved 50%, added extra 4G data, and all was good. I even changed my wife's contract at the same time and got double benefit.
So upon receiving my monthly bill with Vodafone, I thought I had better check my contract status. Sure enough I was able to upgrade - back in April 2017. I went online and soon found Vodafone offering an equivalent contract for half the price.
I had no notifications, no warning, nothing to tell me that I might want to review my contract. No, I had been paying twice as much as I needed to for well over 6 months.
Now O2 were quite the opposite, so much so that it became annoying. Phone calls twice a week to my daughter's phone while she was at school asking for me. Text messages. Most recently phone calls from our local O2 store. They were desperate to talk to me, and despite my daughter telling them that I am not on that number each and every time, the calls continued.
Eventually I went in to our local O2 store, and had the most guided and carefully choreographed customer experience I had ever seen.
Staff member to meet & greet, take my details, who instantly handed me to another staff member who was stood right next to him
Sit down at a carefully constructed seating arrangement to discuss my needs
Staff member asking me a series of faux-human-interest questions about what I do for a living, and how old my kids are, and what technology I use, and what contracts I have across my family. ALL OF WHICH WERE PROMPTED ON A WRITING PAD IN FRONT OF HIM. Hastily scribbled data about me and my world.
Give me a better contract, get me to read and sign some on-screen documents that no human on the planet would actually have time or inclination to read.
"I have to go and see my manager to discuss what we have agreed" - disappears for a few minutes.
Rinse and repeat for my wife's contract.
Better than Vodafone ? Well - different. Whilst it was nice to have O2 actually volunteer the ability for me to save money, the way it was handled was actually pretty frustrating. All told I was in the store for the best part of 40 minutes. Meaningful activity (actually getting on with it) could have been completed in less than 15 minutes. Perhaps customers that aren't aware of customer experience principles would be unaware, and prefer that hands-on approach. However I was quite clear that I knew what I wanted, and that should have modified their approach to fast-track me to a solution, not just blindly follow the process.
As it happens, this is no bad reflection on the staff at the O2 store. They were friendly, and got the job done, but were seemingly forced down this standard process.
In terms of Vodafone - they were apparently quite happy to keep taking money from me for a service they were clearly offering for less than half the price, and that is just annoying. So much so that I would consider leaving.
So, lessons learned - don't do it like Vodafone. Try and do it a bit like O2 - but for everyone's sake - understand your customer upfront and modify your approach accordingly.
WWDC 2017, Apple released details of the new iOS11.
It's the usual story, faster, better, more features, more secure. All good stuff, all stuff that you would expect from a major Operating System release, all stuff that you would expect from Apple.
The challenge here is that it's a 64 bit OS, something that Apple have not previously released on iOS. Despite the fact that the last few generations of iPhone and iPad have used 64 bit processors, iOS has remained 32 bit. In basic terms, this means it is slower than necessary, and doesn't manage memory as well as it could.
So, all good. No, not really.
In releasing a 64 bit iOS, this means older devices will no longer be able to run the latest OS. Quite a few devices in reality;
The Customer Service Challenge
If you (or your customer) own an older device, then iOS will not upgrade beyond the current 10.3.2. Not a major problem for most people, but there are hidden challenges to this change.
1) These devices will not receive new features.
2) These devices will not receive updates to existing features (for instance iTunes, Podcasts, Calculator, Maps, etc)
3) Security updates that are intrinsically part of the OS will cease.
In addition, from the other side of the coin, those with newer devices will get their new OS, and everything is fine. Right ? Wrong - apps that were originally written for the 32 bit iOS will need to be updated. Some will work, some will not. This means a lot of work for app developers, but also potential downtime for people that are reliant on their phone for certain reasons.
A quick glance at Settings > General > About > Applications > App Compatibility will show potential problems
Arguably this is progress. Who wouldn't want the latest iOS, with all the new features. Most poeple would leap at the chance, yet many can't. This community of people are arguably later adopters, people who don't need or can't afford the latest & greatest kit. However, many of them will not be tech-savvy, and the "You can't update" message that they will inevitably get will leave them confused, frustrated and wanting to find out why.
I am guessing that Apple will be forward-thinking with their strategy on how to pre-empt this, but other companies that also support iOS devices will need to get their act together, understand the implications, prepare well and expect an increase in inquiries.