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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hang on while I get the mice working in the server!

Isn't it amazing that in this day and age of "Web 2.0" there are still companies out there that work on their own little time line that is convenient for them?

First, I'll give a rough definition of "Web 2.0". It is providing users with a product that they can incorporate into something of their own.,, Google Maps, AIM Pages and the like are the babies of this concept. With an API provided by Google you can take a Google map put it into your own site and put all kinds of information in it. is one example. The bottom line is providing a solution that people can use and reshare in an immediate way. Almost back to one of the original hopes people had for the Internet - to be closer to other people through sharing.

Now on to the reason for this entry, an example of a company that doesn't "get it" when it comes to providing a good customer experience on the Internet. I don't mean to single them out as if this was the worst thing imaginable, because believe me it is not. It just happens to be the latest encounter I've had with a company that makes you wonder why they cannot see the bigger picture. Hey, at least they *are* online! I recently booked a room with Marriott in New York. During that process I neglected to uncheck one of the e-mail subscription offerings. Kudos to their marketing team! As always you guys and gals do your best to ensure that by default people get hassled with offers as a reward for doing business with your company! Upon discovering this mistake (after receiving three ads from them in a week) I clicked the unsubscribe link and unchecked the offering and pressed submit. Low and behold, their marketing team also worked out a deal with their web, database, and technology teams to ensure it takes 10 days to remove a person from their list. Needless to say I have received several more e-mails since "canceling".

Today I took the liberty of utilizing Marriott's feedback and here is what I sent them. I hope they enjoy it!

It would be appreciated if improvements could be made to your e-mail distribution list database such that it does not take 10 days to process a transaction that takes most companies .03 seconds to complete on their address database.
It is my perception that it is an irresponsible management decision or an improperly fueled marketing drive that permitted the current environment for Marriott's on-line presence to take days instead of minutes to notate a person's lack of desire to continue receiving such advertisements. Marriott's oversight requires me to deny electronic correspondence from the domain. When this policy has changed to align Marriott's online presence with acceptable practices in this "instant age", I will applaud your efforts.
To the person who reads this correspondence from me, I appreciate your diligence in relaying this perception to management through whatever channels they may or may not provide you, hope that this message found you well, and wish you an outstanding day. At the very least I hope you have a chuckle and something to share with a colleauge during a break.
Best wishes, Marc

Note my final paragraph to them. Remember folks, that the person receiving your complaint or compliment is not the multi-millionaire that runs the company and insists on the ridiculous policies. Nay, instead, they are just a person who is just as perplexed about the concept of "corporate logic" as the rest of us and they deserve to be treated nicely. Also, keep in mind that 99% of the time that consultant you interact with is just doing exactly what they have been told to do by their manager. They may interpret what they were told a bit differently than the next consultant, but chances are they are doing just that...what they were asked to do. Yelling at them or wishing they would be fired is not going to solve the bigger issue you have with that company.

Not that I can think of an instance in recent memory involving a big company over a typical member trying to cancel their subscription or anything like that. Yeah, right! Yes, the consultant stretched their duty a bit there, but they used tools and techniques given to them by the company they worked for. If you were told to keep half the people calling you to cancel or lose your job what would you do? Of course, in the usual scape goat flare that entities exercise when caught with their hand in the cookie jar they fired the little guy. Wonder what if anything happened to the manager that was truly responsible for that consultants actions. What about the manager over that manager or the call center's general manager. Likely nothing. They have a job to do, a goal to keep, and lot's more people to train to replace all the people burned out from the job.

If you ever do get the CEO of that company you are angry with on the line give them a piece of your mind! Chances are you'll be talking to a dial-tone in a matter of seconds. The top brass of a company isn't concerned with individual customer experience, they have to hit the sweet spot for the majority and keep them engaged with the products they produce to keep the bottom line healthy. Of course, when they fail to do so they'll just jump ship with their golden parachute and contemplate where they will share their "wisdom" next.

Ah, well enough on corporate dissapointment today.