Technology Failure

Finally I’m back online after my computer had some pretty serious issues. The next computer I buy I’m going to get after I solicit input from online friends. What I really, really want is a computer that starts up and runs. I expect nobody is perfect, but I don’t want to call for help or have to fix the computer more than once every five years. And by fix, I mean call support for free and they help me deal with it. I understand that Norton or whoever has to have their program do its thing. I don’t mind as long as it’s not asking me to do the work.

I mean…I’m paying for the software and the software should do the work. I don’t want the software to direct me to take action. That’s not what I paid for.

How hard is it to simply get a computer that just works?

And I understand that it’s not as smooth as a TV that you simply turn on and it works. The only serious problem I’ve had with the television is really with the cable company.

Do you have a computer that you turn on and it works and you do it day after day and it keeps working?

This reminds me of Seth Godin (I think) and Starbucks. I think it was him who said that people got more than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. They got an experience. They BOUGHT an experience. When they went to Starbucks for their beverage or snack or breakfast, they also got the smell of the coffee being ground and the general ambiance of the place. Spellcheck says that word is right, but it looks like an older word. No use arguing with spellcheck. As Jim Gaffigan says, “Oh. That IS how you spell Wednesday.”

Some people think this is an odd way to look at the idea of what someone is purchasing. Some people might even think of it as snooty. No matter whether those people are correct or incorrect, this is really true when you are buying something based upon quality or uniqueness. Not so much when you’re buying something because it’s cheap. I mean inexpensive.

It’s related to what we really want. What do we really want?

A solution. It sounds simple when you put it that way, but people and companies lose sight of that. And people that are always buying the cheapest may not even think that way, but maybe they should. (I may come back to that part later.)

I’m not looking for a computer. I’m looking for a solution.

I don’t need the company to send a limo to pick me up.

I don’t need the computer to grind coffee.

I don’t even need the computer to be my alarm clock or connect to my refrigerator.

I need it to be like a car battery. I need it to start up on time every time. Actually, I need it to be better than a car battery because sometimes it gets cold. Fortunately, cold is usually a plus with a computer.

And, I need the company that manufactures the computer to understand that. I’d rather not have a really long manual to figure out how to use, too, but I can live with that.

What’s not okay is for my time to be wasted having to go through the startup repair program every day and sometimes more than once a day for 20-45 minutes or more.

Don’t need it and certainly don’t want it.

A No-brainer. Period.

How hard is that for a computer manufacturer to figure out?

Going through all the rigamarole is part of an experience I don’t want to have with a computer.

ESPECIALLY, one that I/We paid money for.

Again, Jim Gaffigan is applicable here. He complained that some presents are stuff you automatically have to take back. “Don’t give me an errand for my birthday.” LOL

I know that this might even seem like a first world problem, but if we could get more people to understand this, we could solve some worldwide problems quicker.

Dean Kamen gets it. He has that water purifier that works in every situation. Now he’s working on getting the cost down. You know him. He’s the incredible inventor who invented the Segway. If that invention doesn’t impress you, don’t worry. He has 1000 more things he’s invented.

He didn’t create a water purifier that doesn’t work when the sun doesn’t shine or when it shines or that you have to be careful or it will electrocute you. He invented a real old-fashioned world-changing water purifier that really and truly works.

I understand that not everyone is Dean Kamen, but when I buy something from you that I’m going to use on a regular basis, I don’t want to have to keep wasting time “starting it up”. You might have heard me mention my Sony VOMIT, er, VAIO in a previous morning pages exercise.

Today, a guy named Mark helped me and there seems to be a temporary fix. We shall see if it starts doing what it was doing for weeks again tomorrow.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for Mark’s help. I even enjoyed talking with him.

It’s just that I’d rather not have to call him in the first place.

Before I totally forget…I was talking about the experience of using a product or service.

When Starbucks got away from what they were originally doing right (according to what customers enjoyed and had come to expect), that’s when business started to drop off. If I remember Seth Godin, they also started to franchise and those franchisees didn’t “get” what it meant for the customers to have the “Starbucks experience”. Now they are better than they were after the dropoff, but maybe they’ll never be at the same place they were when they originally got very popular.

One thing that has really surprised me about the dip in the economy over the last few years is how few businesses really picked up on the idea of great service. You might think with companies searching for ways to increase their bottom line that one of the ways they could differentiate themselves is through the experience that people have with them.

I know that no one really liked hearing Mitt Romney say, “I like firing people.” But there is some truth in there somewhere that he really messed up with how he said it. I don’t like firing people and I’ve never been in a position to fire people.

I HAVE been in a position to “fire” a business that I’ve done business with. I don’t mean that someone makes one mistake and that’s it. People can learn from mistakes, but if they AREN’T learning from mistakes and you’re not getting what you need or want from their business and they don’t seem inclined to make the changes you’d like to see, do business with someone else.

Have you ever shopped at Zappos? They are the complete opposite of that. They really get it. They want to please the customer. When I had a problem I called them and one of the first things they did was apologize because I had been on hold for 90 seconds. How wonderfully and incredibly refreshing that was! They understood that we don’t like to be put on hold and they did something about it. Now we are special customers (I forget the actual term” with Zappos for life and we always get free shipping and I’m pretty sure one or two day delivery at that!

This didn’t simply say they were sorry. They actually took action to show me that they understood they should DO MORE THAN SAY I’M SORRY!

I had a problem with a mattress company 15 years ago and they upgraded me to the next level in that mattress for free because they knew that they had inconvenienced me. Do you think I go to them if I need a new mattress? You bet.

Too many companies just don’t get it.

I won’t go into all the details right now, but I enjoyed Round Table Pizza for over 30 years and now I don’t order from them. And when I have a gathering of close friends I say that I’d rather order pizza from somewhere else. There’s lots of pizza out there.

I want to be clear that I do not mean that you shouldn’t forgive little mistakes. You might even forgive big ones.

But, as much as you might like the people at the company, if they keep on making the same mistakes or they take you for granted or they don’t understand what you’re really attempting to get is a solution, then fire them and go with someone else.

I won’t be voting for Romney for other reasons, but I think what he wanted or should have said (if he was going to say it at all) is that you like having the OPTION to fire people.

Have you ever been stuck with someone or some company?

Being stuck with someone is one reason I got out of financial services/insurance. Not me so much as an agent, but too many companies just don’t get that you want what you want and if the agent you were originally working with is not doing the job you want, you would like to switch to someone else in that company.

Here’s the thing, if that company’s policy is that you can’t make the switch to someone else as your agent, what are you going to do? Some will suffer through it, but more and more people realize that they can have a better experience if they choose.

What do they do? Switch companies.

Do you hear that insurance companies? Finacncial services?

If you won’t let us replace your human being with another human being who will give us service at your company, we will go to another company.

I won’t even mention why I’m not with AOL. Is it my 10th anniversary of leaving AOL already?

At least it only took me a day to get my computer to work, but I don’t think I’ll get a Sony next time. Though Mark was nice.


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