The New York Times published today a story about how customers of Google’s Nexus One phone are treated when they have problems.
The story illustrates how companies fail to understand the complete customer Experience.
1. Cool Product Is Not Enough – Cool new Android phone is just the begining not the end. design the complete experience. Google stuck to their core product / software competence and forgot the complete customer experience (i.e. Genius Bar at Apple Stores)
2. The web is not the only channel – Google was so addicted to serving customers through web channels that they fail to notice that people live in the real world and need those channels too. Just because you sell it on the web does not mean that web based service will be acceptable. Just ask thousands of online retailers.
3. People are human and need human connection – especially in time of need, web surfers a.k.a customers a.k.a. humans will need to speak to a real person. This is especially true when they vouch for a brand new product and would not like to look stupid doing so.
4. Anger and frustration are not virtual – treat it fast. As per Google response customers should expect a response to their web submitted issues in 48 hours. This response rate will make any customer service operation struggling to meet their numbers, celebrate. They will defintly beat a 48 hours rsponse level.
5. One channel is not enough (never been) – Humans are multi channel by nature with some preference towards a certain channel. providing them with one option is a cardinal mistake.
6. Brand consistency – Be call in all touch points – Google strive to be cool and beat Apple in its own game. To do so, cool has to carry through all customer interactions. The brand need to shine in every touch point. Clearly even the actual responses to the New York Times requests were met with lukewarm, non commital statements. No sense of urgency (Not cool in my book) was shwon there.
Google’s heritage is in the web. This became not only an asset but a blinder. Someone at Google failed to udnerstand that despite the growing popularity of social media, customers are still human beings. To be successful Google need to expand its core competence from web products to customers. The mistakes made during the launch of Nexus One are classic mistakes of a product centric compnay. Cool product is great, but only the begining of the journey. and that is the first lesson of every customer centric company.