Apple Hates Social Media

[picappgallerysingle id=”9195352″]I wasn’t a good Facebooker until I got an iPhone. I would forget about my accounts and not look at them for weeks. I think that part of the reason that Friendster and Myspace died is because you had to be chained to your computer to update them. Once you could effectively manage your online profiles on the run as you were being social and not after the fact, social networks became relevant to me. You could make an argument that the iPhone helped take social media to the next level. It brought elegant Internet surfing, faster connections, and a camera to everyone who would stomach AT&T. All of this was a boon to social networks.

So for their role in creating a space that made sites like Facebook and Twitter possible, how can Apple suck so bad at social media?

  • Customer Service – Your iPhone 4 is having problems. The signal strength and proximity sensor issues are all over Twitter, Facebook, an the blogosphere. Yet you say nothing. Of course you really don’t have a Facebook page of any value or your Twitter account is worth even less. You do have forums that you don’t answer. It’s like it’s 1998 at 1 Infinite Loop. In 2010, customers expect interaction online – not waiting in line at your stores or on the phone.
  • Social media integration – Why can’t I submit photos or videos directly to Facebook from outside of their app? As I mentioned before, the connected camera was one of the things that made these sites relevant.

As smart as Apple is about some things, they’re incredibly dumb about this. It’s not as if their employees don’t talk to customers millions of times every day. I was at an Apple store recently and saw customers hug their Apple rep on two separate occasions. Your employees are good at what they do, customers like them, and they seem to be able to communicate well, something it’s apparent that you can’t do.

I hate to say this, but one of the best companies at this is Apple’s ugly stepsister, AT&T. On AT&T’s Facebook page, they answer questions, post helpful videos and work to allay concerns before they go viral. You can also look at Verizon’s or Comcast’s Twitter accounts for other tech companies that get it.

Do you have any examples of good customer service online or companies that use social networks well? Share them in the comments section.

Is Blockbuster still around

There was a story today about how Blockbuster will be closing upwards of 1,000 locations by the end of 2010. My question is “Why wait”? We decided years ago after being treated poorly by Blockbuster to stop giving them our money. Between Redbox, Netflix, and various on demand options – we decided that Blockbuster didn’t deserve us as customers.

It’s bad enough that technology has turned against Blockbuster, but what they failed to do was create loyalists out of their customers. I know I definitely felt Blockbuster was a necessary evil and as soon as I had the chance to be rid of them, I was. If you develop a brand, a service, a product that evolves into a relationship that your customer values, then those customers will follow you onto your next venture.

Blockbuster’s other problem is that it didn’t innovate it’s service soon enough. Netflix has 10 times as many users, connects through set-top boxes and Xbox, and streams to PCs and Macs. Meanwhile Blockbuster is stuck in the 80’s. When they finally go under it will be met by “ho-hum” from me.

PNC’s bad lessons in customer service

Note to PNC – don’t ask a question you don’t want an answer to.

Today I called PNC because my wife received a debit card with her maiden name on it. They could see that a mistake was made, but I was told she has the call (I was hoping to save her from having to). They could see they sent the wrong card, but wouldn’t do anything about it – even though we’re on the same account, even though I answered all the security questions. So at the very end of the call the customer service rep asked me “are you satisfied with the results of the call?” Of course I said no, to which she said “sorry” and hung up.

Question – why ask me if you’re not prepared to do something about anyone who says no?

SEPTA needs to move into the 20th century

On my way into Philly to meet some former co-workers for a drink. I’m taking SEPTA public transit and I’ll give them props when deserved but today the deserve complaints. SEPTA charges extra for buying tickets on the train but provides no way to buy tickets ahead of time at most stations. No online e-tickets, no ticket machines, and few ticket counters with decent hours. What’s worse is that SEPTA tickets expire, so you can’t buy a few in advance and just keep them around.

In this day and age, with all the technological advances available this simply makes no sense.

SEPTA – you can do better than this.

How not to market: Amazon abuses my email address

One of the signs of this recession is that every business that’s still in business is becoming much more aggressive about generating sales. It’s a tough time to be a customer because businesses are desperate, and treating customers with respect is a thing of more prosperous times.

I wanted to receive Amazon’s MP3 newsletter but the only way to receive that newsletter is to sign up for Amazon’s product emails. These emails are based on previous purchases. Though I’ve bought a lot of varied products over the years, I decided to take a chance and subscribe; what a mistake. At least an email every day and the subjects seemed to be scattershot. One day Blu-ray videos on sale, the next grocery savings; one day netbook savings, the next summer reading.

The problem with Amazon’s approach to database email is that they assume everything I’ve purchased from
Amazon in close to 10 years of purchasing, indicates my interest in that product. Note to Amazon: the Dance Revolution I purchased for my niece a few years back would only be an indication of products I would not be interested in.

With all of the power and might of Amazon, all the information they have, they can do better. How about basing this incessant emails on the products I purchase the most?   How about giving the customer broader options when opting into emails?   How about allowing customers to choose an email frequency?   Instead Amazon has decided it’s best option is to drive sales by nagging the customer until the submit.

Or turn them off.

As it stands, I decided to opt out of all emails from Amazon because in two weeks Amazon annoyed me, and if they could offer me an email option that was more tailored to my interest, maybe they would be able to make more money from me, and others like me.

I guess it’s a good thing, I could do to save more money.

Philly riverlink sucks

I will never ever again take the ferry to Camden to see a show. I’ve waited over an hour and just finally got on a ferry. There’s only on ferry, so if you can’t get on one because it’s full, then you need to wait 30 plus minutes for the next one. This is what they call express service. I needed to allot at least two hours to get to the show on time.

And there are still people who are probably going to miss this one.

Never again. Do not take the riverlink ferry if you don’t have hours to kill.

Great follow-up email

I just received the following email from retailer CD Baby after ordering Sarah Hallman’s cd. So creative and cool – it’s like a real email.

—————–
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure
it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money
can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, May 30th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all
exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh…
———————–

I wish more marketers talked to me like this. Hell, only my wife talks to me this way.