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Want a truly horrible customer experience?

Want a truly horrible customer experience? Buy from Wildform. The product is fine and does the job, but the experience of buying it, doesn’t measure up.

Wildform, in case you didn’t know, got back the sales of VP6 encoders when On2 was sold to Google.  This used to be a good company before the purchase from Google – I interviewed someone for either the DV Guys or BuZZ before they were purchased by On2, but today, something’s very wrong.

My problem: once you get through the purchase you get an invoice (paid) but absolutely no instructions about what happens next. Where to find a download link, or to watch out for an email. (Mine was caught in my spam filter for a while).

Worse still, support are snarky, to the point of appearing nasty. At least the banks and cable companies go through the motions of apologizing for a poor experience, but from Wildform, not a hint at an apology. Just “I see you’ve downloaded it now” and when I explained about why I thought it was a poor experience, I got “your comments have been noted”. Not good enough.

Every interaction we have with customers affects their perception and the stories being told about our companies. If a customer has a poor experience, there should be some response. Research shows that customers who have a bad experience, but who receive good treatment from the company to make it good – however that might be – become more positive about the company, and talk about it positively with their network, than those who never had a problem.

On the other hand, those customers who have a bad experience, explain what should be done to fix it but get brushed off, spread the word to about 10,000 people.

The right response would have been to start with an apology, explain why things didn’t go the way they should, and explain what changes will be made to prevent the same problem in the future. If that had been my company a) the message detailing what happens next would be on the invoice page, including the standard suggestion to check spam (but if you don’t know an email is coming why would you, particularly when the emailed invoice comes through without a problem) before anyone responded to the customer. And b) the support person would be looking for a new job tomorrow for representing the company in such an appalling way. If it’s actually someone senior in the company, then the company is doomed.

Every experience is marketing.







4 responses to “Want a truly horrible customer experience?”

  1. Did you mention to them what happens when you post this experience to Facebook or Twitter and the implications of Social media on their business.
    It’s no longer something I Googled and read an ambiguous article about, but someone I know (or someone I know knows someone) that had this experience. Far more integrity which is why Facebook is becoming such a powerful tool for news journalists.

  2. Yes, I gave fair warning that I would spread the message, gave my full name right from the start. Even suggested they google me before responding. But no.

    I did get a very inadequate “We’re sorry you had a bad experience. I’ll pass it on to the guy who does the website” response a couple of hours after I told them I was going to Tweet, blog, Facebook and LinkedIn about it.

  3. You’d think a company selling an obsolete product like VP6 would be a bit more humble and thankful anyone is buying their antique codec at all…

  4. Maybe they know that anyone buying it now doesn’t really have a choice! (That’s my situation. Client needs to have VP6 FLV outputs and I have to automate it!)