Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Customers Rule. Examples of Great (Skullcandy)and Piss Poor (Facebook) Business Ethics
I was blessed today to read a great blog post from AdScam that enabled me to add Facebook to this blog post. I apologize to Skullcandy but I think it creates a great contrast to my reader(s). Consumer Businesses forget that the Consumer Rules. without people buying your product (or alive to buy your product in the case of companies that destroy and poison our earth) you have no business. And sometimes the little things can destroy a reputation or enhance it dramatically.
So do you prefer me to start with the good or the bad? The good? Ok Skullcandy. I discovered Skullcandy's really by accident.
They sure did not advertise to me in any way. I was living in Venice Beach on a gorgeous walk street in the summer of 2007 and was enjoying some time in between jobs. I was riding my mountain bike everywhere and taking long rides down the bike bath from Marina Del Rey to Malibu a few mornings every week and my IPod ear phones kept falling out when I would do jumps or tricks.
So I went to Target to get some 'earbud' style earphones and saw this new brand Skullcandy. I loved the style and the price which was around $17. The sound quality was incredible for this price point and I got hooked. At $17 an item to me is almost toss away if I only need to replace it every year or even twice a year. The INKD's Buds would usually fail where the wire meets the connector for the MP3 player. Normally after 4-6 months and I would just get a new pair. Over time Skullcandy came out with new colors that to me were rad. And I could match the colors to my IPod. I never thought that based on the price point or the product type that Skullcandy would have any type of warranty. Sorry I was an ignorant dumbass I admit it.
Why should a brand that sells $17 items to skateboarders and snowboarders warranty products that would get beat on!?? Unless.....let me think...maybe Skullcandy decided that it was worth it since they might win customers for life? Customers in the 14-30 year age (vs me an old 42 year old fogey)?
So my last set of INKD's failed but sadly after just 2 months and right now I just jog and use them in the gym or while on Amtrak/Walking around NYC. And I thought I should write them and give them feedback on how to improve the product. And sure enough I notice on my new package of INKD's it says go to the website to see the warranty info. Incredibly not only does Skullcandy warranty against defects for life with a replacement service. They actually refuse to flip the finger to users who beat on their product. They just want honesty. And if your an Extreme Sports Fan who blasts head first into a wall or mountain thus destroying the product, they will still take back the product and issue the owner a 50% off a new set coupon. This totally amazed me. I could not believe the level of dedication to their customers are. Above and beyond and this needs to be a shining example of the consumer comes first.
And because of this I will recommend their brand and products to everyone.
Now the bad? This will be short and easy. Facebook's business model is two fold. Advertising revenue and finding ways to profit on users information and content. They will pimp your content any way they can make a penny. Users are meat and nothing more. They only respond when there is a serious backlash from the community and then they do things on begrudgingly. So in effect they have created a situation where by the moment a new social media network pops up that can replace Facebook. They will be toast.
First it was Beacon. Then they keep trying to have everyone open up their content via privacy changes in very weaselly and slimey ways. Because of this I am what Business Calls a Vocal Terrorist. While I use Facebook I rail against these moves openly every chance I get. The latest version of them being slimes can be read in the following Blog Post from the great George Parker from AdScam.
If you want take How To Screw Your Customer 101 in college just read this post!
AdScam Blog Post