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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the friendly-until-they-have-your-money dept.

Businesses 257

jammag writes: A new trend has emerged where tech companies have realized that abusing users pays big. Examples include the highly publicized Comcast harassing service call, Facebook "experiments," Twitter timeline tinkering, rude Korean telecoms — tech is an area where the term "customer service" has an Orwellian slant. Isn't it time customer starting fleeing abusive tech outfits?

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Free market (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732085)

Don't worry guys, the free market fairy will take care of it.

Re:Free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732115)

It's called an agrarian society.

Around /. such things are insulted and belittled.

Artisan economy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732277)

Or did you not know what you're talking about?

Capitalist
Agrarian
Artisan

Free market (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732203)

Don't worry guys, the free market fairy will take care of it.

The free market has taken care of it. Good customer service is expensive. Consumers have demonstrated that they are unwilling to pay additional money for good customer service. Successful companies have aborted customer service to keep prices low.

Re:Free market (3, Informative)

eneville (745111) | about 2 months ago | (#47732603)

Indeed, the phrase "you get what you pay" comes to mind. The moment big corporations in the UK (BT, I'm looking at you) off-shored their customer service things went downhill for the ISP. However, in that void PlusNet grew (from Force9) into a very successful ISP who promotes northern broadband and they do indeed have UK call centres who you can understand. They may be marginally more expensive but it goes to show that people in the UK are starting to vote with their feet and choose a company that they can speak to. I'm using PlusNet and BT as an example as they're mostly interchangeable in terms of media.

Re:Free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732711)

ROFL! Oh that's rich! The free market has given me a whole two options, not enough competition for service differentiation, therefore it is my fault.

Re:Free market (5, Insightful)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about 2 months ago | (#47732291)

bought-and-paid-for politicians using the law to favor their friends isn't "the free market"

Re:Free market (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 months ago | (#47732441)

I find it funny how people who defend capitalism in this day and age like to say that what we have is "crony capitalism" and if we'd just give real capitalism a try for once it would be super awesome.

What does that sound like?

Re:Free market (4, Funny)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 months ago | (#47732511)

No TRUE Scotsman would fall for such a thing.

Re:Free market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732543)

Feel free to come up with a system that allocates scarce resources better than capitalism does.

I won't be holding my breath. Maybe you should read your Adam Smith?

Re:Free market (3, Interesting)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 2 months ago | (#47732577)

I find it funny how people who defend capitalism in this day and age like to say that what we have is "crony capitalism" and if we'd just give real capitalism a try for once it would be super awesome.

It's the same attitude you may have noticed that come from people who defend socialism but when confronted with the flaws of the Soviet Union, Maoist China, or Cuba will claim that those were, nor are, not under real socialism, but something else (tsarism, in the case of Russia).

Re:Free market (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about 2 months ago | (#47732715)

I'm more against government having unaccountable powers (which this is a good example of) than I am ultra-pro-capitalism.

"abuse" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732091)

"Twitter timeline tinkering" is abusive? That's a bit of a stretch.

Re:"abuse" (3, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47732325)

agreed, Lets stop trying to lump twitter changing their web page, and facebook experiments at the same level of comcast harassing customers. there is a major difference between the 3

no one pays to use FB or twitter, as such if they change their page for whatever reason, so what? if you dont like it go to myspace or whatever else is around or make a new site

comcast harassing callers, and the new info dropped about their 20% upselling grade for techs is a legit concern when it comes to customer dissatisfaction. I think you are watering down the severity of comcast when you lump in twitter and FB making changes to their pages

Re:"abuse" (1)

eneville (745111) | about 2 months ago | (#47732639)

no one pays to use FB or twitter, as such if they change their page for whatever reason, so what?

The advertisers pay for you to use FB, that's who pays. So, if I pay a lump for an advert on FB for a day, and people switch off, I'd get pissed.

Fleeing abusive companies? (5, Insightful)

robinsonne (952701) | about 2 months ago | (#47732113)

Where are customers supposed to flee to? Many of these companies are de facto monopolies in many areas or at the very least in lock-step with their "competitors." There aren't very many choices for tech companies unless you want to do without, which is unpalatable for many.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (4, Insightful)

Matheus (586080) | about 2 months ago | (#47732153)

^ This exactly (mod parent up).

Every single company listed in the summary has little to fear from competition at the moment. They have no incentive to placate the user base so the corporate drive of "maximize profits and growth" goes unabated.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 months ago | (#47732195)

The incentive to find the boundaries of what kills your clientele and what just makes them gnash their teeth but return is becoming a science of profitable intolerance.

Bribed legislatures have trashed consumer protection laws or made them ignore updating them. It's almost like large organizations have voting rights. But nobody cards them at the polls if the campaign contributions are fat enough.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 months ago | (#47732271)

It's almost like large organizations have voting rights.

What do you mean "almost"?

They have more voting rights than you, me, or anyone.

And you know what? We've got "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" who will fight you tooth-and-nail to defend that, in spite of their own interests.

--
BMO

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47732329)

Nononono, they don't have voting rights. They get to choose who you may vote for, and you then get to choose between their candidates.

IIRC it's called "separation of power" or something like that.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (3, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | about 2 months ago | (#47732377)

Even when there is intense competition the service is usually bad, because then the companies are stuck in a price war (like the one in the cloud involving Amazon, Google and Microsoft) so resources are scarce for great customer service. And once a winner emerges from a price war, the service remains poor because the company can get away with it.

This is not specific to the tech industry. A long time ago people were greeted by a small army of sharp-looking attendants at the gas station who made sure to check the oil, clean the windows and check the tires. Nowadays you are lucky to get the attention of a nonchalant clerk facebooking behind a 4 inch bullet-proof window when the pump does not accept your credit card directly or when you don't get a working code for the automated carwash.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

komodo685 (2920329) | about 2 months ago | (#47732405)

In fact why does this article focus on the tech sector? Similar claims could be made of banks or car companies among others. If anything has changed it's that the tech sector has grown and diversified enough that its subsections can support major companies as monopolies (or near monopolies) for example facebook/twitter for the relatively new social media section.

So major companies with virtually no competition naturally become destructive to society. Maybe we need a wave of enforcement of anti-monopoly laws... or given modern corruption per Citizens United some new major limitation on how corporations are allowed to incorporate or buy stock in existing corporations for any state (e.g. Make Wal-mart unable to incorporate in a new state due to its annual revenue nor buy out smaller companies and run them as mini-Wal-Marts).

Of course, we should outlaw Corporations as "People" on top of that.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

eneville (745111) | about 2 months ago | (#47732663)

Yeah, I think this South Park clip sums it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 2 months ago | (#47732191)

I recommend you start your own, with blackjack and hookers.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47732337)

In fact, forget the blackjack.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 2 months ago | (#47732369)

Aw forget the whole thing.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47732357)

dont even worry about the blackjack on second thought

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (3, Informative)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47732275)

What do they mean "tech companies"?

The abuse began back when telephone menus replaced human operators, music-on-hold by the hour became the norm ("Please stay on the line. Your call is VERY important to us.") and service in general became self-serve or no-serve.

And hasn't been solely a tech company thing. It's been an every company thing.

In fact, I dropped a pest control company in favor of a competitor because the competitor didn't run me through phone menu hell just to get them to come out, inspect, and get paid.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732571)

6 Callers ahead of us Jimmy!!!!!!!

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 months ago | (#47732593)

There is a difference between lack of service and straight up abuse. Like cable companies who don't have enough staff to answer my 30 second request for cancellation, but can pay an army of a-holes to keep my on the phone for an hour arguing about whether I should cancel or not. An understaffed company that can't afford human customer service would just put a cancellation request on their website. Instead, when you sign the contract you agree that you can ONLY cancel by calling their cancellation number. But it's not limited to tech companies - ever tried to cancel a gym membership renewal?

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47732379)

And where there is no monopoly, there's a cartel.

I live in an area with four (or was it five?) allegedly competing cell phone carriers. Curiously enough, they ALL charge the same "service fee", have the same calling plans and charge the same amount of money for it (give or take a few cents. Literally CENTS).

But nooo, that's not agreed on. It's pure coincidence that they ALL "invent" the same new charges every couple month (and don't even bother to invent different names for them) and it's pure coincidence that they all charge the same.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47732387)

The government who is supposed to regulate isn't going to change things for the better. If anything they'll make things worse since they're bought off by the corporations.

For a long time the idiots would say,"Well who cares if the corporations buy off the government? The corporations need the people to survive so they act in the people's best interest."

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 2 months ago | (#47732429)

Google+? Works for 2 out of the 4

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (5, Funny)

xlsior (524145) | about 2 months ago | (#47732445)

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company"

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47732463)

Where are customers supposed to flee to? Many of these companies are de facto monopolies in many areas or at the very least in lock-step with their "competitors." There aren't very many choices for tech companies unless you want to do without, which is unpalatable for many.

And again, they are not monopolies. Why does this myth persist? The guy they're talking about here, Ryan Block, lives in San Fransico. There are 15 pages of ISPs in the area on yelp: http://www.yelp.com/search?cfl... [yelp.com]

FIFTEEN PAGES

More than a few provide phone and television as well.

The poor support works because most people are not Slashdot users, and do not use their internet for anything more than facebook and a game or two. As a result they do not call often, if ever and rarely have a technical issue. So they go for the cheapest service. If 99% of your customers want the cheapest service possible and 1% wants tech support that speaks proper English, which way would you go?

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (3, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 months ago | (#47732665)

That "15 pages" is very misleading. I don't think RackSpace Hosting (#12) and a cellphone case store (#16) count as "ISP's"

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732467)

There supposed to flee to there city council and remove the
council members that signed the monopoly deals in the first place.

Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#47732559)

When I got my second iPad a few years ago, I got a Verizon model. That way I had an ATT phone and a Verizon iPad so there was some redundancy. What I did not realize it that the Verizon iPad had no SIM card so that traveling was a hassle. Sure a Verizon product is supposed to provide a higher level of customer experience, as long as you are always in a home region.

I probably will buy an unlocked phone when I upgrade so I can immediately use it to travel instead of having to keep an older unlocked phone around. But for home use, it really makes no difference. Everyone has the same crappy $50 plan. No one is really that helpful. Honestly I find ATT to be a little more helpful than others, and the coverage is good where I am.

I think the reality is that we are all expecting top level personalized service at bare bones rates. It is like those who fly Southwest and complain that there is no food. Or those that recieve a free service such as facebook and then are surprised that people, who are the product, are being monetized.

Flee To Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732121)

There's nowhere else to go, and they know that.

Re:Flee To Where? (1)

hwstar (35834) | about 2 months ago | (#47732247)

Is the product or service absolutely essential? If not, what about doing without? We pay money for a lot of things which are not absolutely required and end up with a garage full of stuff which we never use and pay to have stored. We also use things which appear to be "free" but have hidden costs. These things are a burden, and should be eliminated.

Re:Flee To Where? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47732401)

Any action short of becoming a cave dwelling hermit (illegal BTW) leaves us being abused by some corporation or another.

No alternatives. (2, Insightful)

Cammi (1956130) | about 2 months ago | (#47732127)

The only way to flee is to have an alternative. And despite all of the wanna-bes, there are no real quality alternatives.

Re:No alternatives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732385)

The only way to flee is to have an alternative. And despite all of the wanna-bes, there are no real quality alternatives.

But. But. But.. The Market Will Provide!

Re:No alternatives. (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47732389)

The only way to flee is to have an alternative. And despite all of the wanna-bes, there are no real quality alternatives.

Or network effects make alternatives less attractive.

Take eBay for example. The network effect makes it such that despite its fees and policies, it remains the #1 site for buy and selling goods.

Sure other sites have started up and are better in many ways, but you see complaints from buyers along the lines of "If I wanted to pay eBay prices, I'd use eBay!" and complaints from sellers of "Buyers are always lowballing me - they refues to pay what I'd get on eBay!". Well, yeah, the network effect is such that buyers KNOW they're using a lesser site so they hope to get bargains (or else they'd just save the effort and use eBay) and sellers are using it hoping to use the lower rates to make more money (but expecting the same prices as eBay). This ends up with auction sites basically dying because sellers want eBay prices despite lower demand, and buyers want cheaper prices because of relative obscurity (again, if they wanted to pay eBay pricing, they'd just use eBay).

Facebook and the others are the same thing - you want me to use your network, but all my friends are on Facebook, so I'd just be making extra work for myself to use your network. You'd better have a compelling reason for me to do twice as much work. (See G+).

It only works if you have the network effect going for you. Something like Amazon doesn't, because I can buy a DVD from them, or a DVD from Walmart.com, so the two are fungible.

eBay is not fungible with any other auction site. Facebook and G+ are not fungible (for most people) - you cannot take a user of one site, transplant them to the other and expect things to go just fine. Amazon and Walmart are, since it doesn't matter where you get your product from - you just use free shipping and pick the one that has the lowest price.

Re:No alternatives. (1)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47732587)

The only way to flee is to have an alternative. And despite all of the wanna-bes, there are no real quality alternatives.

Contrary to popular belief, "do without" IS an alternative.
Just, in this day and age, it's a very self-limiting, "cut off your nose to spite your face" alternative. As the only one who continues to be hurt is you.

Where would we flee to? (4, Insightful)

Maxwell (13985) | about 2 months ago | (#47732131)

Required comment: the big corps have won. Deal with it.

Re:Where would we flee to? (2)

itsownreward (688406) | about 2 months ago | (#47732205)

Deal with it? Do you mean with torches and pitchforks, or...?

Re:Where would we flee to? (1)

Maxwell (13985) | about 2 months ago | (#47732241)

Start with peaceful sit ins...

Re:Where would we flee to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732365)

Start with peaceful sit ins...

... and end with agent provocateurs giving the feds an excuse to roll in a military response.

That is, if history is any indicator.

-- CanHasDIY

Re:Where would we flee to? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47732395)

Mind if I join in once we arrive at something that actually has some sort of effect? I hate wasting my time.

Re:Where would we flee to? (5, Insightful)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 2 months ago | (#47732295)

I work for a big corp, and we don't treat our customers like crap.

I think what you're looking at is companies like Comcast who have government guaranteed monopoly in the areas they serve. Smaller outfits or community broadband outfits are either forbidden from competing or are forced to pay exorbitant easement fees. Not by the federal government, but by the local governments. For companies in Comcast's position, there's no need to be concerned how you treat the customer, mainly because the local governments tell them not to worry about it.

Re:Where would we flee to? (1)

cl3v3r (3775089) | about 2 months ago | (#47732417)

Mod parent up - government regulated monopolies (de facto or de jure), create corporations whose success isn't predicated on customer satisfaction or customer value, but on their ability to manipulate the government to preserve their power.

Re:Where would we flee to? (2)

komodo685 (2920329) | about 2 months ago | (#47732451)

Monopolies are corporations whose success isn't predicated on customer satisfaction, virtually by definition. Facebook was a monopoly, and shitty company, before anyone in government even knew what it was. While our corrupt government massively enables these behaviors they aren't, technically, required.

Re:Where would we flee to? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47732527)

Do you have a wide enough view of the company to be sure?

It is possible everything's fine there. It's also possible that your department doesn't happen to be the place it does it's screwing.

its more like this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732151)

big company:
bend over and take it.

small aspiring company:
what do you want? what can we do for you?

its more like this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732245)

big company:
bend over and take it.

small aspiring company:
what do you want? what can we do for you?

It's more that the small ones say "please" when asking you to bend over.

Re:its more like this.. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47732359)

They don't only say "please", they ask you if you want oral or anal and they call you the next day.

Not a customer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732159)

At least in the case of Facebook and Twitter, users and customers are largely a disjoint set.

No such thing as a free lunch (2)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 2 months ago | (#47732161)

When it comes to getting free stuff on the net, I'm not too sympathetic.

When it comes to getting service you're paying for, then I'm a little more perturbed.

I've made personal choices to avoid companies that have dissatisfied me in the past - Bank of America and AT&T, for example, will not get one red cent from me as long as I live. But Facebook and twitter? You get what you pay for.

The big obstacle: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732165)

I wonder how many people actually know when they are being screwed over by tech?

Customer/product (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47732177)

Remember, if something is free you aren't the customer, you are the product and so long as they're not pissing off their advertisers these companies can do anything that doesn't significantly reduce their user counts.

Re:Customer/product (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 2 months ago | (#47732305)

No, that's not true. If they piss you off, then their advertisers don't get views and also get pissed off. You're paying them - just in screen space, not dollars.

You lost me (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47732687)

You lost me. What is free in this case? Customers are paying massive fees for lousy service -- please explain where the free is.

Note: this is not about the Comcast-advertisers relationship. But if it was, it is safe to say advertisers are not happy with Comcast.

To sum up, no one is getting anything for free in this case, and no one is happy (except Comcast, because they are a monopoly provider in the markets they dbi). So this is a monopoly issue, not a "sucker, you're the product" issue.

It will catch up with them (1)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | about 2 months ago | (#47732183)

One of the biggest reasons cites are falling over themselves to get Google Fiber in, and many small towns are creating their own networks, is because of the deep seething hatred everyone has for Comcast.

Re:It will catch up with them (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 2 months ago | (#47732209)

Which will eventually be replaced by a deep, seething hatred of Google.

Re:It will catch up with them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732349)

Not as long as Google operates the network according to the same incentives causing them to build it: get people more internet so they can use more internet, and hey, we (Google) are basically 90% of the internet and we've figured out how to make money from people using us. If their internet service starts to suck, people will end up using less Google. The customers won't have to stop fiber service to stick it to them; having bad service will stick it to Google anyway!

Where? (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 months ago | (#47732187)

Cable companies are granted "franchises" in most cities. If you want fast internet net you have no choice.
Add to the fact that we have been in a race to the bottom for customer service for a long time. You average slashdot reader calls anything that is available cheaper from china on Ebay over priced.
The constantly want free as in beer software.
And yet complain over bad customer support.
Back in the long dark history of computers I worked in a computer store. We had a large margin on the computers so we took the time help people learn how to use them. Today their is probably $10 margin on your typical PC and yet you wonder why companies farm out support.

FB/Twitter users are not customers... (2)

grumpyman (849537) | about 2 months ago | (#47732197)

...they are the product. Need more repeating?

Re:FB/Twitter users are not customers... (1)

meustrus (1588597) | about 2 months ago | (#47732313)

Mod parent up.

How to succeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732201)

Here is how to do better than all the other companies out there.

Ask you customers what they want. Then give them exactly what they need (not to be confused with what you think they need). Also do it in a semi timely manner.

Why do we put with abuse is because usually the alternative companies out there are as bad or worse.

For example take blockbuster. Once the king of renting movies. They ignored their customers saying 'I want it cheap and I want convenient'. It is why redbox and netflix destroyed them. Blockbuster thought helping the customer was how high can the jack up the per night rate and then pick up more on the back end if you are 1 second late. Pretty much within 3-5 years of a better service coming along they were gone. If they had got ahead of netflix in renting and returning and ahead of redbox on price/locations they probably could have stuck around. By the time they figured it out it was too late.

Quick, patent it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732207)

Take a well established idea and do it with a computer. The 'profit by pissing off your customers' model was well established in the auto industry in the 70's.

Re:Quick, patent it! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47732433)

Hmm... I think we should learn from that experience... any way to import Japanese internet?

People should leave. They Don't. (4, Interesting)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 2 months ago | (#47732215)

Right after the BP oil spill, I stood outside my house and watched cars go into an AM/PM for gas. Right across the road was a Shell (not that Shell is innocent or anything). I thought to myself "BP just did a Bad Thing, why are people buying from AM/PM? It says 'part of BP' right on the sign!"

Perhaps it was habit? Perhaps it was that the gas was 5cents cheaper a gallon?

This still bugs me to this day. Five cents a gallon, with each person having approximately a 10-15gal tank.. They couldn't or wouldn't spend 50-75 cents to send a message.

There are already a lot of posts saying "where would they go to?". I get that. I do. But we still need to pull our heads out of our (not so) collective asses. There is only one thing that a company fears, and that is a drop in profit. As long as it's profitable to take advantage of us, they will. It's not THAT much effort to be a conscious consumer. People have been doing it with food. They just need to extend it to other things.

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (2)

Ksevio (865461) | about 2 months ago | (#47732339)

It's so far removed though - the gas at the Shell is probably in part coming from BP wells anyways

We don't want you anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732371)

Companies want happy customers. Happy customers don't complain. Complaints waste time and time is money.

When I worked as a chief-level officer in my last company, it was a common subject between the CEO and me that "99% of our complaints come from 10% of our customer base, and they are the lowest spenders in the first place." Our product was Business-to-Business, so when a company placed a $50K order, they'd turn around and get a calculated $250K return on it within the month and place another $50K order the next month. Orders that size basically printed money. The guys that would spend $800 wouldn't see a large ROI (because they only invested $800, which nobody notices) and they would come back and bitch about EVERYTHING.

So from a big-business perspective: Who wants the guy that wastes your company's time bitching and moaning to the point of being a net negative on your revenue? Let the complainers leave. Some of them will come back because they'll just bitch about the next company as well and return as the prodigal son, but quieter and (hopefully) more respectful. As long as their tantruming doesn't upset the millions you're putting into advertising.

Re:We don't want you anyway (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47732501)

I've heard from people that work in retail that it would be better to pay off 20% of your customer base to not shop with you than it would be to take their business due to how many complaints they're going to make and how much time they're going to take up doing it.

Re:We don't want you anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732693)

Well maybe that 20% would be profitable if the did not give such big bonuses to the top executives.

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (2)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 months ago | (#47732393)

Maybe they were smart enough to realize BP isn't the problem? As long as we're dependent on fossil fuels we're going to extract them from the ground. Really what's the difference between a few million barrels spilled in the ocean or burned in the air? Other than pictures of greasy ducks on the nightly news.

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732695)

Billions in commercial fishing and tourism?

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732469)

I considered boycotting BP stations after the spill, but I figured that would only harm the gas station owners and not those responsible for careless drilling practices.

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (5, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 months ago | (#47732651)

Perhaps it was habit? Perhaps it was that the gas was 5cents cheaper a gallon?

A nickle a gallon? I'd buy gasoline made from pressed baby kitties and the condensed death agonies of the last endangered whales on earth for a 5 cents a gallon less than the local competitors.

I guess that makes me part of the problem.

And, of course, as other responders have pointed out, the BP pumps were stocked from the exact same local distributor as the Shell pumps across the street, and the Exxon ones up the road, and the "independent" one across town... and quite possibly all from crude from the platform and oil field that went "boom!".

So unless you were willing to completely give up all petroleum products (including textiles and agro-chemical based foodstuffs), or drill your own well in your own back yard and build your own refinery, you aren't going to be able to avoid feeding the machine you hate. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Re:People should leave. They Don't. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732721)

I completely agree with the message behind your post.

Personally I gave up on humanity when I realised that people were still buying battery eggs. This is a very simple situation regarding animal welfare, and yet so many continue to choose the cheaper option. I think it says a lot about the values of our society, for what else makes us human than an active choice to protect those around us who are unable to protect themselves? This includes, in my opinion, being humane to the animals and livestock that we farm and harvest for food.

If people won't even pay a few cents per egg, then they certainly won't pay a few cents per gallon (or litre) for fuel.

Sigh. if I'm allowed to rant a little more, my PS to this post is that the thing I hate even more than people buying battery eggs, are those who buy non-battery eggs (also called "free range" or "cage free" depending on where you are from) from the same companies that also sell battery eggs. For fuck sake. I don't want to buy any egg (or meat, or fuel...) from any motherfucker that is engaged in behaviour that I don't want to support.

PPS: Dear SlashDot. Your posting "security" is stupid beyond belief. I started typing this while connected via my VPN. While typing this post I disconnected my VPN and now I want to submit the post. Instead I get a "your resource is no longer valid" error message...WTF! I'm not even logged in. If anyone wanted evidence that Slashdot is logging all user activity (for state security, or marketing "partnerships" reasons) then this is it. ...fuck this site. I'm outa here [pipedot.org] .

It's the sign of our times - we want everything... (3)

MindPrison (864299) | about 2 months ago | (#47732227)

...FREE!

When I was a kid, I learned the signs of desperation...bad customer service and expiring food...the first sign of any store going south. All the companies that had success, treated their customers with respect and didn't do any pennypicking. The first sign is ALWAYS pennypicking, the second sign is worker efficiency followed by unhappy overworked workers. The third and last sign, is when they're lashing out on their customer base, trying to fault the customers instead of their products - simply because they can't afford to fix it (and basically because we wanted cheap stuff for free to begin with).

Re:It's the sign of our times - we want everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732589)

By "our times" you mean last 200,000 years, right? When do or did humans not want everything for free?

Facebook did not abuse their users (2)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 months ago | (#47732265)

And no, I don't think they abused their "product" either. They did what they always do--show people things selectively to elicit a response. Usually it's called "advertising." In this case called it "research."

Re:Facebook did not abuse their users (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 2 months ago | (#47732321)

And no, I don't think they abused their "product" either. They did what they always do--show people things selectively to elicit a response. Usually it's called "advertising." In this case called it "research."

Question, how do you manage to type these shilling/apology post for facebook bent over with your head up your ass?

Been there, done that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732289)

No Facebook account (and blocked in DNS), no Twitter account (also blocked in DNS), not a subscriber of a Korean telecom, not a Comcast subscriber, switched providers when German Telekom failed to provide timely service to a business which I supported. Not using Chrome, not using Google apps on my phone, not shopping at Amazon. Going to quit Slashdot if they force Beta on me.

Re:Been there, done that. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732579)

No Facebook account (and blocked in DNS), no Twitter account (also blocked in DNS), not a subscriber of a Korean telecom, not a Comcast subscriber, switched providers when German Telekom failed to provide timely service to a business which I supported. Not using Chrome, not using Google apps on my phone, not shopping at Amazon. Going to quit Slashdot if they force Beta on me.

It's OK RMS, you don't have to post anonymously, we all know it's you.

Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732293)

I see Apple is conspicuously absent from that list. Apple with the free customer support (Genius Bar) that doesn't try to sell you stuff [slashdot.org] . Apple, the company that doesn't really care if you want to use their cloud services as long as you buy their hardware.

I also notice they have a few dozen billion dollars in cash lying around. Enough to support operations for several years even if they suddenly lost all revenue - which isn't going to happen anytime soon. And did I hear something about a new "spaceship" central campus? Clearly good customer service actually pays off pretty well.

Re:Apple (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47732519)

That's because Apple can afford this. Apple customers are not the "gimme discount" crowd that is flooding the countries (don't think I'm lashing out at the US, it's entirely the same crap in Europe here).

People don't give a shit about quality anymore. Maybe because they're too used to getting quality that's on par with what they need. Customer protection laws pretty much ensure that getting swindled is getting harder. So whatever you buy, there's a good chance that it will work, at least initially, because you could take it back and get your money back if it didn't. Sure, it will break in a year or two (or whatever the laws of your country dictate it must work so you can't take it back and make the vendor eat it), but at least it works NOW, and who cares what's going to be in 2 years.

So people want cheaper. Because, hey, if that $no_brand laptop costs just 300 bucks and that $quality_brand costs 800, and they have the same CPU, same memory and same screen size, who in their sane mind would get that $quality_brand one?

Of course they'll complain as soon as (not if, not even when, AS SOON AS) that shoddy piece of plastic junk falls apart and they spend 3 hours in automated phone system hell to talk to Bob who has a weird accent that you can't quite pinpoint, but sounds like it would be Bangalore or Calcutta, who gets your data all wrong and messes up your mail-in repair request so you can have your laptop back within 6-8 weeks. Probably even repaired. More likely you get another one that someone else sent back in.

But that's what those other 500 bucks paid for in that more expensive laptop. Those 500 bucks paid for the guy that shows up at your door a day after your call to Bob (whose accent you can't quite put but you'e guess Kansas or Iowa, but at least he picked up at the second ring), hands you the replacement laptop where you just have to plug the harddrive (which you can easily take out of the laptop, unlike that $no_brand one where you'd probably need a CS degree, not to mention that taking the drive out would void the warranty) in and you're back in business.

But we want cheap.

So we get cheap.

And cheap is rarely if ever high in quality.

If only there was other options... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732307)

Most comcast customers have no choice but to get comcast for cable internet and they know it...

Sue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732311)

Companies that lie to customers should be sued. Terms of service do not excuse lying.

They have that covered: Binding arbitration (2)

hwstar (35834) | about 2 months ago | (#47732327)

You can't sue them as you agreed not to in the click-through EULA.

Binding Arbitration is a power grab by the corporates to enable them be bad actors

Old shit, shit article (1)

Falos (2905315) | about 2 months ago | (#47732367)

TFA is just (1) relating generic "corporations skimp on trying for perfectly happy customers", with no data suggesting it's a more profitable model; and (2) some blog post whining about A/B data, which is really just observation of users in A/B situations then hypothesizing the effects of A/B.

So yeah, another "FACEBOOK FORCED ME TO BE HAPPY/SAD" post. Feel free to accuse me too, reading my post surely forced you to feel X.

Lesser of two evils. (4, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47732443)

" Isn't it time customer starting fleeing abusive tech outfits?"

Sure, would love to move. Where do you want me to go, Boardwalk or Park Place?

I too dislike Comcast (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47732471)

I too dislike Comcast, my only option for non-dial-up internet (other than my cell provider, which I find myself preferring despite awful speeds & device limits).
But what options do I have? I can't bring my money elsewhere. Protesting in the USA has been deadly lately. So I'm encouraging the Comcast-TimeWarner merger. TW was just as bad when I lived in their monopoly. With 55% of the US forced into 1 very bad company, either:
- Enough people will wake up & complain to matter
- The US will no-longer be the place to have tech business, and then MAYBE regulators won't be able to ignore the economy getting trashed.
- Someone will talk about Monopoly sanctions like when AT&T had to share their lines.

Flee? That's what they want. (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47732581)

The best (most profitable) customer is the one that can be bullied into puting up with your bullshit. The demanding ones, the ones who know how the service should work and cause trouble when it doesn't measure up are worth getting rid of.

Thank you, sir. May I have another?

The Facebook issue was not abusive. (1)

The Raven (30575) | about 2 months ago | (#47732647)

I don't like Facebook. I don't use Facebook (despite pressure). But that doesn't mean I think Facebook's publicised test was abusive. It was a standard A/B test, done by website owners everywhere, all the time, from the smallest to the largest. If you reword it slightly, all the negative connotations vanish:

Users seemed to enjoy the newsfeed more when we adjusted the filter algorithm to prefer positive (rather than negative) content.

Said this way it sounds just like any other test (Google changing their rankings, an advertiser tweaking their wording), and that's because it is. Communication is about changing someone's thoughts and emotions... that's the definition of communication at the most basic level. Just because Facebook can quantify these changes and put them into numeric form does not mean that the changes they made are any more ominous that any other advertising message ever made since the dawn of time.

Not putting up with jerks (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 months ago | (#47732661)

You don't have to put up with jerks.

  • Internet provider - Sonic.net DSL. No packet filtering, good support, no nonsense.
  • Phone - Caterpillar B15 ruggeized Android phone.. Bought from Caterpillar dealer, not carrier. Declined Google account at first power up. Google services disabled. No updates from Google.
  • Cellular carrier - T-Mobile. Has no control over phone. No carrier apps.
  • Email - IMAP server. SpamAssassin spam blocking.
  • Main desktop machine - Ubuntu 12.4 LTS.
  • No Google account. No Twitter account. No pay TV. Ad blocking on all browsers.
  • Main news source - Reuters. (More news about Ukraine and ISIS, less about Bieber and Apple.)
  • Main food store - Trader Joe's. No "club card" required. Good prices.

For almost every crap business, there's a competitor that isn't crap. Find them.

It's not just tech companies (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#47732739)

Spirit Airlines was the most profitable US airline (per flight) in 2013. They also had 30% more customer complaints than any other airline.

Most of the other comments are screaming about monopolies, but the airline industry is pretty competitive. American consumers really just don't care about customer service.

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