The Customer is the Company. Inc. magazine (a small business focused publication) this month profiles a small business producing T-shirts. Why a T-shirt company? Well, it would seem it’s not the most innovative product line vs. the million and a half Silicon valley concoctions, but the way the company succeeds is due to what the techies have built up over the years: consumer opinion directly driving production.
“The customer is always right” has been preached by companies consistently, but large Internet companies like Google, Amazon.com and Paypal have been getting away with ignoring what isn’t driving a million sales a month and in one example I saw recently, customers who don’t even drive as much as 100,000 sales a month — I’m estimating, but Statcounter isn’t a small presence on the internet from what I know.
I use Statcounter, a web statistics/analytics website which provides a lower volume free statistical counter of your website. I’ve seen the company profiled numerous times for smart business and it shows up on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (a.k.a. SERP) when you look for “website counter.” Well, recently, they posted this about PayPal “A Warning from Paypal.” It simply goes to show much they along with many other companies simply don’t put much focus around customer service. The majority of focus for these companies is around new products, how to drive more traffic and business along with becoming more efficient. Customer service probably ranks low on the totem pole for the companies.
Another example of Paypal’s ignorance of the customer is shown in how they like to mediate disputes from customers. I recently had a problem with a website that charged me $99 to start up a monthly subscription. After I paid, the company failed to contact me until after I emailed them 3 times and posted a comment on their website threatening them. They blamed PayPal and said it takes time for Paypal to get it deposited and paid for. Well, after the confirmation from PayPal, the company/website was still yet to be seen and failed to provide me my service. I contacted PayPal and their mediation basically asks us to deal with it ourselves directly. How can a merchant be fair when they’re clearly abusing the consumer? Well, Paypal thinks they’ll be neutral and help the consumer. After lodging my complaint, the company has still yet to respond — it’s been 9 days.
I remember when working for Amazon that even internal customer service, i.e., Human Resources was a low priority. It was quite sad since there were many INCREDIBLE employees that Bezos lost due to his own greed and lack of viewing things below him.
Eventually, the companies will have to figure it out, but it’s sad that they don’t know yet on many levels. It’s one of the reasons why the documentary The Corporation was written and produced.