Is Your Application-User Interaction Like Bad Customer Support?

Penny Arcade today has a long chain of emails that transpire when a customer is disappointed with an arcade controller’s long delivery time and the eventual tone of the distributor when responding to his concerned emails over the course of two months. A taste:

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM

I noticed the updated info on the webpage, and I don’t understand why there is absolutely no benefit given to those like me who have already ordered, and paid their money. You’ve had my money interest free for nearly two months, yet now ANY new order will get $10 off….meaning I should just cancel my order for 2 controllers, get my money back, then re-order.

My other questions is regarding item compatibility. Ocean Marketing seems to be involved with the Xtendplay controller holder, so I was wondering if the Avenger N-Controller can be used in conjunction with the Xtendplay (for both Xbox and PS3)? Thanks

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM

Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.

Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

When JasonS. alerted me to this story, I immediately thought about how I see similar attitudes when dealing with software releases and excuses for not fixing defects.

I mean, you get the normal arrogance of developers combined with a risk-to-punishment reasoning that says, “If the bug just happens to one person, it’s cool. Or at least it’s not a problem worth worrying about.”

Unless, of course, it’s a vocal user who then speaks up about problems he or she has and that others probably encounter. Then the value of your application drops in all users’ eyes as the Internet clogs with stories of

Your application and its interface are customer service and support. Think about the worst phone tree you endured to make something right or the worst bunch of “dropped” calls and runarounds you got that didn’t make something right. Is that your application in your users’ eyes?

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