Complain about a company, and you'll be accused of being a whiner. But markets thrive on information, so it's every customer's right to complain, and every company's obligation to shut up and listen, says columnist Cory Doctorow.
Companies screw up. They make bad products. Their employees act badly. They deliver bad service. They make bad decisions about how to treat their customers.
Sometimes the foul-up is honest: A waiter trips and drops dinner in your lap. Sometimes, the problem is preventable: That waiter has been dropping food on diners every night for a month. Or he's been tripping over the same loose floor-tile that management is too cheap to do something about.
Companies balance their spending against their customers' interests. It's easy to find examples of companies cutting back on customer service or quality to cut costs. Taxi operators squeeze a couple extra bucks by plastering the back seat with loud video advertisements.Circuit City fired all their experienced sales staff and replaced them with cheaper juniors who don't know what they're talking about. Then the retail chain went further, slashing costs by basically eliminating the checkout staff. As The Consumerist's Meg Marco brilliantly put it: "Actually buying something is a 12-step process that involves little public library catalog kiosks that are randomly placed all over the store. Finding someone to able and willing to help you purchase your item is like finding a 1UP in Super Mario Bros., except instead of a free life, you get a sales pitch for an extended warranty. And you're just buying AA batteries."
Apple,Amazon,Microsoft, and the BBC are among the companies infesting their products with DRM. They sell products that take over your PC and lock it down so it won't take orders from you, all in the name of preventing you from getting additional use out of your music, books and movies. Unlike a CD, you can't go to a used music store and sell your DRM'd music from the iTunes or Zune store. And, while you can buy a CD and load it onto your iPod, if you want to do the same for a movie you own on DVD, Apple wants you to buy it again in the iTunes store.
IT's Reputation: What the Data SaysInformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.