Apology Accepted

In most cases, it’s not the mistake that matters as much as the way someone handles it. Being candid and sincere after you make a mistake can rectify almost any situation, personally or professionally.

Unless you live under a rock — and especially if you’ve heard that Apple Maps says you do —  you know about the big slip-up by Apple in their iOS 6 update that came out with the new iPhone 5. Apple Maps has been buggy and inaccurate, which is very unlike Apple’s normal customer experiences.

To address customer dissatisfaction- Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a letter of apology:

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better…

“While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

“Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.”

Many analysts have said the candor of Cook’s letter of apology, and his willingness to suggest other companies who can bridge the map gap, has completely salvaged the situation for Apple. I know it convinced my boss to go ahead with the iOS 6 update. He says he hasn’t been directed to drive underwater or over a cliff thus far.

What are your thoughts? Did Tim Cooks’ sincerity help the situation?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Color Me Intrigued

Companies are painting the walls in their offices more hues “to make their offices feel a little homier, or at least like a home office, and seek new ways to motivate employees,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Ever wonder why call centers for customer complaints are generally painted green or blue? Soothing colors help service reps maintain their cool. On the other hand, quieter workplaces may want to add a pop of color to brighten up the environment and ambiance.

The four top picks for office spaces according to Behr Process Corporation are:

  1. Canvas Tan (light tan)
  2. Brandy (pink and brown mash-up)
  3. Ozone (grayish blue)
  4. Zen (sea-foam green)

These colors are noticeable enough to add some energy to the room and stimulate employees without reaching distracting levels of external stimuli.

What do you think about the colors of your workplace? Why do you think someone would pick a color called “ozone?”  What color works best for you?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Does An Action-Oriented Guarantee Guarantee Action?

Here at myG we’ve seen that our program has the potential to move you toward your goals at top speed. But success is ultimately a factor of how much participants engage with and execute the program. As with any service-oriented offering: education, consultation, coaching, even nutrition, the magic secret sauce happens when content and tools meet with execution.

So many times the question becomes, how to ensure the kind of engagement that makes the magic happen?

I was intrigued this week by the introduction of an engagement-inducing money-back guarantee offered by premium job-hunting site TheLadders. If members don’t land a job within 6 months they will receive a full refund of the $2,495 (!) price tag for their Premium service.

So far, fairly vanilla.

But the action-inducing spin is this - the guarantee is only effective if the job-seeker holds up his/her end of the bargain.

“TheLadders guarantees that you will receive a job offer within six months or less if you participate fully in all components of the Program at the level indicated below. In order to be eligible for this Guarantee, within the first sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must complete:

  • Attend 7 scheduled sessions
  • Complete Steps 1-5 of the Roadmap
  • Apply to 6 well-fitted positions (as described in the Program Roadmap)
  • Complete all follow-up activities assigned

In addition, in order to continue to be eligible for the money back guarantee after the initial sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must attend a minimum of 75% of your scheduled sessions per month and apply to 6 well-fitted positions per month…” Continue reading

How You Communicate Matters – So for Pete’s Sake, Let the Customer Choose

I had a roommate in graduate school who ate her food one thing at a time, and it couldn’t touch on the plate. All the peas. Then all the rice. Never the two shall meet.

This struck me as a little strange – mixing things up is part of the excitement! Life should not be lived in little separated boxes.

Yet, when it comes to communication, I think I am a partitioned plate kinda person.

If I contact you via email. I want to be emailed back. Don’t call me.

Actually, don’t call me ever, unless my child is dangling by her toe from a chandelier or some other emergency situation is going on. I am not a phone person.

Pet peeve: online forms that require my phone number. If I came online to contact you, that’s where I want our conversation to remain. In little black words on a screen.

If I reach out on Facebook and then the reply comes via text, I am confused. Media crossover = neurons misfiring.

I actively use a variety of communication media, of course.

I text (a lot).

I gChat.

I Skype (a lot).

I email.

I FB.

I talk on the phone – to my Mom.

There is a time and a place for online chat – but please don’t tell me every 10 seconds that someone is waiting to talk to me. If I want to chat, I will. The reminders make me feel like someone is standing with their nose pressed against the storm door waiting to come in.

I don’t like that either.

It is critical to pay attention and honor the ways that others like to interact. Here at myG we are working on finding the right ways to be accessible to you without crowding you or creeping you out.

So what I want to know is – how do YOU like to interact with a company when you are interested in more information?

The Customer Service MUST that Even the Best Companies (cough, Amazon) Sometimes Mess Up

I think I am probably not alone in believing that I am special. What I mean is, we all want to believe we are special. And we want to be treated as if we are.

And it hurts a tiny bit when we aren’t. Right?

So, when I went to Amazon the day before the launch of the Kindle Fire to check on the status of my order (which I was super excited about), and saw this graphic – I thought “Woo! They are shipping them early!”

Then I went and checked my order status, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but…an unshipped Kindle Fire. A still-cancelable because it wasn’t in the shipping process yet Kindle Fire.

What?

I am an Amazon Prime member. I pre-ordered my shiny new gadget on October 11th. I am SPECIAL. Yet, apparently I am not.

Now, I know that they probably had people who ordered before me.  And they are special, too. Or at least THEY think so. But my “Woo!” faded away pretty quickly. And then I was disappointed. Why were they advertising that they were shipping when my order was not yet shipping?

Around 11PM that night I received a message that my Kindle Fire was shipped. If I hadn’t checked the site earlier, I would have been psyched that it shipped the day before the launch date. But I was already feeling oh so un-special – so the “early” notice was a little too late.

All Amazon would have had to do to avert my evening of un-special-feeling-ness would have been to hold off on posting that “Shipping Now” graphic until the next day. One day.

I am sure they wanted to start capturing the crowd that doesn’t like to wait-list. I get that. And they probably sold a ton of low-priced tablet hybrid thingamajigs that night.

I received my package right when I originally thought I would. All commitments were met.

But as shiny and fun as my brand-new toy is, it is still a little tarnished with disappointment.

How do you manage your relationships with customers so that you never make them feel un-special?

Do You Know it When You See it?

This isn’t going to be part of the great education debate.  It could be, but it won’t.

Back when I decided to attend business school, one of the concerns that crossed my mind was whether my limited attention span could withstand two straight years of all business all the time.  I am marketing minded, for sure.  But I like to believe there is more to life than balance sheets and creative briefs.

So, I was hugely excited when we were given a business ethics class pre-reading assignment of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Zen, in business school? How awesome is that?

I spent much of that summer working my way through the book.  If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s immensely philosophical and talks a great deal about perception and reality. What is true and what is up for debate. It was fascinating. By August I was ready for our deep ethical philosophical discussion. Continue reading

Oh Netflix, why?

So first, on July 12th,  there was this.

And then…oh so much anger.  And people leaving – deciding to share their memberships, or go to the Red Box, or use Pay Per View.

(Price increase + increased complexity) * Reduced value +

Semi-condescending communication =

Unhappy Ex-customers

Over the weekend, remaining members were sent a message from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix.  Many didn’t realize it was from Netflix and deleted it as spam.  Those who opened it were treated to this.  Certainly, this was intended as a display of vulnerable transparency.  A mea culpa.

However, it was received more along the lines of too little, too late.

In the words of one of our myGreenlight staffers:

I was annoyed about the change in prices. I changed my subscription because of it but I didn’t lose sleep over it. I didn’t need an apology. I think it is weird that they announced the company split in an apology email.

I don’t understand why they have to split into two companies. Lots of companies have different departments that do very different things. I feel like this change will be very annoying if I have to go to two different websites to manage my account. I probably feel worse than I did initially.

My favorite insight into the current situation is here, at The Oatmeal.

What do you think? How could Netflix have communicated the changes without alienating customers?

Relationship Roundup

  Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

This week’s roundup is focused on managing the online/offline connection balance and knowing when to invest in some face time.

Who’s in Your Room? — Thanks @dgupta5150, for an introduction to Sonar,  an app that now lets you view which of your Linked In connections are in the same location you are.  Now you can take full advantage of the opportunity to spontaneously connect face-to-face with people you’ve attracted to your online network.

Setting the Bar High – When it comes to our business relationships, everyone is in the business of customer service. This week myGreenlight’s Director of Customer Service Kristen Bassick, asks us to take an objective look at our customer service experiences and think about the customer service impressions we leave on those we serve in our careers. Check it out.

Make Time for Face Time.  While online social tools and virtual office arrangements have made it easier to facilitate introductions and get our work done in many ways, online engagement can’t replace the good ol’ handshake, look in the eye and smile that has worked to connect us all for ages. This week’s HBR article The Secret Payoff of Meetings shares the new rules of engagement.