There are times that I get frustrated with the inability to give my concerns or complaints directly to the source of the problem. Yup, that’s a big thing these days. Understand that I am old, so my perspective comes from my “good old days”, which I’m sure some of you reading here, may or may not understand (if you didn’t live it).
Back in the day, when I was younger, a business would have a customer service phone line. You could call, usually speak to a local person right at the store where you shopped. They would listen and would generally pass along any information they received to the person who could best handle the problem. In fact, many times they would take your number and someone would call, either to get more information about the issue or to tell you how they resolved it. Wow, what a concept! Caring about the experience your customers had with your business. I totally get that you cannot please everyone all the time, but those businesses tried, they listened, they did what they could… OMG, they CARED about their customers!
Not today! Online business and the ability of the source to distance themselves from the consumer, has really screwed us all. There is no one to call, no one to email, no one to say how you feel about a product or service. No one to listen to what you want or need. Oh, if you can find an email or a link to send “feedback”, you will most likely get a canned response that says, “while we appreciate your feedback, we don’t respond to these emails”. Oh wow, did they really even read it? Or is that link placed there to make you (the consumer) feel better. And how many of you have received the canned response with a lot of “gee we are sorry you had this experience” and other platitudes, that had NOTHING to do with what you wrote about in the first place? Yeah, me too!
Back in the day, we were taught that if you have a problem with someone or something, take that problem to the source first. If after doing that, you still were not satisfied you could tell your friends or anyone who might listen. Now, the source is buried so deep into the void you can no longer reach the source. But, it doesn’t really matter, because they don’t really care anyway. They will put out a product or service and you can pretty much “take it or leave it”. Of course, they are hoping enough people will take it (flaws and all). Sadly, too many people do and that’s probably why they can get away with their attitudes toward the consumer. Hey, no worries they will just shoot out an upgrade or update every couple of weeks once they find and fix what they believe are the problems.
Beta testers are a wonderful thing. They test a product before it is sent out for public consumption. Well, the beta testers aren’t perfect, but they do catch some of the problems before the rest of the world has to deal with it. What would be nice to see is “user testers”. A group of testers who, after the product is released, actually use the product. Someone to give the source feedback from actual users. How many of you use a computer program, social network site or really anything and say to yourself “this would work better if…”? I’m sure there are a lot of you. Wouldn’t it be nice if the source of anything listened to the users of anything and tried their best to give consumers the product or service they really wanted? Some companies, when they are first starting out, do just that. They listen to what their potential customers want. But, a strange thing happens when they get ‘big’ and powerful. They stop listening.
It’s no longer about giving the consumers a product they need or want, it’s about how can we keep (control over) our consumers and how can we stop any competitor. Because now the source is powerful and the only thing they can think about is how to keep that power in their hands! I guess they forgot how they got there in the first place. And this is, partly, why they will eventually crash and burn. As consumers get fed up with not being “heard”, when they realize that the product/service source no longer cares about meeting any of their needs, they find something else. This will leave the big powerful source scratching their heads and asking, “what happened?”. Wait for it, it will come!
This same thing can be said about government or anything that provides a service or product that you use. You shouldn’t let businesses, government, schools or anyone tell you what you are going to accept as a service/product. Demand excellence and demand that they provide it the way you want it. If we can stop accepting inferior products/services, perhaps the source will stop offering inferior products and services.
Seriously, it’s in the hands of the consumer! The power of change has always been in your (the consumers) hands. Nothing happens to us that we don’t allow to happen. I guess the questions is, why do we continue to allow it?
Things that make you go hmmmm. KJ @ KJ-isms