iPhone Lesson: Yet ANOTHER way to piss off your customers

I’m going to have to create a new category if this stuff keeps up!

Fox news reports that Apple has SLASHED the price of it’s highly touted iPhone a mere 10 weeks after it’s debut.  The $200 price cut has iPhone customers who were part of the less than expected rush hot under the collar to say the least!  The Mac Rumors blog is abuzz with the news, with thousands of unhappy customers venting their frustration in the comments section. 

With comments like: "I’m so ******* pissed off right now.." and " I feel like I just got punched in the face. Fanboy tax indeed."  it doesn’t appear this pricing strategy is winning the appreciation of customers who were loyal enough to the Apple brand to stand in long lines to get the product.

While Steven Jobs claims he wants to "make the phone affordable for everyone"  what he’s done instead is to create a FIRESTORM amongst loyal Apple customers.  Meanwhile, Joe Wickert is wondering why cut the price on the iPhone?  He suggests insteads a much saner pricing schedule where the price CLIMBS after the initial introduction instead of falls!

While controversy is a great way to get a blog noticed, I question that strategy for electronics products!


Yet another way to piss off your customers…. fail to deliver what you specifically promise to deliver!

Interestingly enough, shortly after my last post, I had a conversation with a friend in which she vented her frustration about a product she purchased online.

After 10 years of marriage, my friend’s husband decided to "trade in" my friend on a "newer" model, leaving her to navigate the ever treacherous waters of the "dating scene".  Newly single, she like many other Gen Y members turned to the internet for advice.  During this search, she came across an information product web site.

The marketing behind this information product was SUBERBLY crafted.  The product developers showed incredible insight on crafting a compelling message.  They understood that no one was going to show up on their web site and fork over $500 for their info product on the first visit, so they offered a tempting free bribe in exchange for signing up for their newsletter.

According to my friend, the ensuing monthly mailers were exquisitely crafted to create a compelling pitch for the product.  Dan Theis does a WONDERFUL job of outlining this strategy in his post :

How Internet Marketers Use "Straw Man" Logic To Sell Products

The way they [internet marketing gurus] convince you to buy the product they’re pushing involves a lot of "straw man" arguments. Let me walk you through the basic template they’re using here:

  1. If you have failed at (SEO, marketing, business, life) it’s not your fault.
  2. You’re not failing because you didn’t actually put in the time and effort to do things right
  3. No, it’s not your fault, it’s all those evil "gurus" who aren’t telling you the whole truth!
  4. As an example, watch us construct a straw man and knock it down
  5. See, we’re smart, and we’re trying to help you.
  6. Open your wallet now.

Well, on one particular day, an email landed in my friend’s inbox from this internet marketing, uh I mean DATING guru.  In this edition, he happened to hit upon a scenario that my friend was currently experiencing.  It was as if he’d been spying upon her or was in some way psychic.  In this email he wrote that after a honeymoon period, the man in the relationship would pull back and stop calling.  According to the email, his information product would not only tell you WHY your man is doing that, but WHAT you MUST do to save the relationship.

As you can guess, my friend had NO TROUBLE finding her credit card and purchasing the product.  After all, she was going to find out EXACTLY what to do to save her faltering relationship!

The DVD’s arrived in short order and my friend consumed the series in short order. 

IMAGINE HER FURY to discover that while the series did indeed explain WHY her gentleman friend had pulled away, it failed to direct her in what she needed to do to salvage the relationship!

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Not only was my friend venting to me, she was venting to EVERY SINGLE WOMAN SHE KNOWS!

Ouch!  My advertising mentor taught me long ago that a happy customer will tell 3 friends… and a disgruntled one will tell 12.  Recent research puts the second figure at closer to 16.  My friend is on track to beat that estimate.  She is now a woman on a mission.  She’s not only telling every one she knows, but she’s also spending time online warning others. 

She’s also taking advantage of the site’s "30 day money back guarantee"….. and is fully prepared to contact the state’s attorney general if they fail to refund her money as promised.

By promising something he had no intention of delivering, he’s not only going to get to refund her the $497 she paid, he’s also going to have to battle the bad PR my friend is so intent on delivering.  All because he over promised and under delivered. 

That’s one of the perils of tightly targeting a niche market.  If you fail to deliver what you promise, your customers usually spread the word quickly to destroy you.


What do women really want?

A young King was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a  neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by the youthful king’s morals and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long  as he could answer a very difficult question. The young King would have a year to  figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would  be put to death.

The question?….What do women really want?

angrycow.jpgSuch a question would perplex  even the most knowledgeable man, and to the young King , it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the
monarch’s proposition to have an answer by year’s end.

The young King returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but  no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.  But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the  witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her
price first.  The old witch wanted to marry the young King’s most noble knight and the young King’s closest friend!

The young King was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one  tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never  encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life and he refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden.   But the knight learning of the proposal, spoke with the young King.  He told his friend that nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to his friend’s life and the preservation of the monarchy.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered the young King question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered….is to be in charge of her own  life

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great  truth and that the young King life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted the young King his freedom.  The young King’s best knight and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and the young King’s best knight began steeling himself for a horrific experience.  He hestitantly entered the bedroom, but, was amazed at the sight awaited him. The most  beautiful woman he had ever seen, lay before him on the bed. The astounded knight asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half
the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day….or night?

The young King’s best knight pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show  off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old
witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by  night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous, intimate moments?

The young King’s best knight,  knowing the answer the witch gave the young king to his question, said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now….what is the moral to this story?

The moral is….. If you don’t let a woman have her own way….  Things are going to get ugly

Some people REALLY aren’t ready for a web site….

I had a client who apologized for all the "support" he required to get his blog up and running.  He was more than ready to wear the "I’m Stupid" cap…. which, quite honestly, he had not earned the right to wear!  So I shared with him my current GOLD STANDARD for the ultimate in "un-savvy"…. (which sounds much better than "stupid")…

I once had a client for whom I put up a one page web site as a placeholder as we waited for her to find her "direction" for her business.  The web page was her logo with an email contact.

asleepatcomputer.jpgShortly after letting her know her placeholder site was "live", I got an email from her protesting the posting of personal files from her computer to the web site. 

She didn’t WANT everyone on the web to have access to the pictures on her computer.  (Remember, this was a one page web site consisting of her logo and a link with an email address…. there were no links.) 

She later called me an insisted that there was a button on her web site that she could click and see everything on her computer. 

I looked at her site and didn’t see the button to which she referred.  I looked at the CODE to make sure someone hadn’t hacked her site and installed some new script…. nothing in the code.

I was baffled.  The next day, she called to tell me that while she was at work, she went to her web site and was relieved to see that her files from her home computer were no longer visible, however the button revealed the files of her work computer which  were now on display for the entire world wide web to see.

Then it became clear to me what the problem was.  Turns out, she thought that her "start" button on Windows was part of her web site.   When she was at home, she could open her "my documents" file with her browser open and thought that was part of her web site.  The same at work.

What  made this situation TRULY frustrating is I could NEVER convince her of the "reality" of the situation.

Needless to say, her trust in my competence was destroyed and we never got a web site built for her because I had installed such an intrusive application into her web site.

The moral to the story: Some people just aren’t READY for a web site.

You’ll catch more flies with honey….

I am approached frequently by people who are pursuing the "dream" of self employment.  The vision they have is of being in control of their destiny.  No politics to play, no rules to follow…. then reality sets in.  Starting a business is HARD!  It’s even harder when you don’t play well with others. 

manwithheadache.jpgI was recently contacted by a mental health professional who is in hot pursuit of launching his own "American Dream". A highly educated man (as indicated by the alphabet soup following his name), he attempted to contact me first by phone unsuccessfully.  (I didn’t get a voice mail so I assume he left a message on someone else’s machine.)   Wisely, he followed up the phone call with an email.  The email contained two image files and a deadline, but no other details about the proposed project. 

I declined the project and suggested that, if my assumptions about the project were correct, I could recommend someone who could deliver exceptional results. The response was along the lines of "get it to me quickly.  I need to make a decision!"

Excuse me?  Help me and be quick about it?   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since the first email was basically a "Take a guess on what the specs are for this project and quote it."   

My mother used to tell me "You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."  The same principle works  when dealing with small business owners and freelance service providers.

One of the main reasons most of us fled the world of W-2 forms and group health coverage is because we were fed up dealing with bosses who imposed ridiculous deadlines upon us and treated us as if we were cattle…. easily slaughtered and easily replaced.  When clients approach with the same demeanor, those of us who have achieved self-sufficiency in our businesses tend to run from such a proposition.

Just like many business owners, not only do I offer my services for hire, but I also hire support staff.  Unfortunately, this is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way myself. 

It’s only been within the past few years that I’ve been able to retain the services of my support staff.  I used to be a horrible boss.  I say that because I had really BAD experiences trying to hire support staff during my first few years in business.  It’s only now that I can look back and see that I was expecting my vinegar spouting ways to attract and retain a highly skilled support staff.   Since those providers were freelance providers as well, they dumped me for sweeter clients. 

For a long time, I thought it was just that the world was populated by idiots.  Now I realize, I was the Queen Idiot!  I’m just grateful that as I look around now, I see that things are different.  I must have changed because I have some INCREDIBLE support staff in place…. and am working with some really amazing clients.   I suspect it has something to do with changing from vinegar to honey in my diet!