Sep 05, 2002
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It's been tech hell week for us. A big part of the hell hasn't been so much the fact that technology breaks, as much as it is how awful tech companies are to deal with. Alexis says that's because tech companies think of themselves as just that: People who make and fix technology. They don't think of themselves as being in the service industry. As in serving customers' needs.
Two big tech companies who make our business possible had huge nasty problems this week. In one case we couldn't send out any of our email issues. In the other case, our merchant account processing stopped working so customers got errors when they tried to buy at our store.
Both of these companies did something I consider unthinkable. Instead of reaching out to customers like us to let us know us know what was up, and what an estimated fix time was, and perhaps offering alternate suggestions so we could keep our business going while waiting for their fixes... they turned inward and presented their backs to the world. In one case the help phone line held a recorded message saying, "We're too busy to help you." In another case the phone line held a recorded message saying "Leave a message at our general mailbox." In neither case did we get emailed alerts during the crisis, nor did we get personal emails returned.
I finally reached a PR rep at one of the companies. When asked why they didn't at least issue bulletins to customers who were depending on their service, he said, "Because people don't read email." Yeah.
Here's a message to all tech companies. When you have breakdowns, it's ok as long as you keep customers in the loop continuously. Customers understand breakdowns. Customers don't understand being ignored.