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How to be unpleasant to your customers

My local #honda dealer is a case study in how to make life unpleasant for customers. I'm talking about having to get your vehicle periodically serviced, a downside of owning a car. Throughout the years they have changed how you go about scheduling the service and have never made it easy.

The most obvious way of doing this is a form on the web site where you could give your details and pick an available time window. For several years they did have a non-interactive form but cleverly ignored the submissions - you would get no response. When telling them about it the response was that they knew that, but never fixed it. Eventually they replaced it with just sending email. That worked well, although you would get responses in ALL CAPS.

Now they have moved onto their next generation. Ignoring current best practise there is an amazingly unusable Flash app. All the (many) issues with Flash aside, it requires you to pick your vehicle model but leaves out many popular ones including mine! It also looks like it forces you to make yet another username and password and not reuse one of the many you already have (Facebook, Google etc)

There is an email address listed at the side of the service page under "contact us" so I ended up emailing that. The first response took over 3 days, and didn't give me a date and it is now 4 days waiting for the second response. This makes setting up an appointment virtually impossible since your availability windows will have passed.

In a final desperate measure I used the main "contact us" form on the website. That turned out to go to the sales department (despite there being a separate contact for them) who responded with a form letter confirming my interest "in buying a new" (sic) plus daily follow ups about my "research into" (sic). (Yes the sentences end abruptly where some model is presumably supposed to be inserted.) Then some salesman ignored my email address provided, and my customer records, and somehow figured out the unpublished cell phone number of one of my colleagues! (Of course the voicemail he left was bizarre and implied he was one of our customers. When I was able to call back he said he would fix things and would email me when done. That was several days ago and I have heard nothing.)

The lessons for me are obvious. Buy a different car make next time.

The lessons for everyone with a business are simple. Only list ways to contact you that you can actually be contacted by. If your customers persevere and tell you something is broken, fix it or remove it. If you provide email addresses, actually respond in a timely manner. If you have forms then actually try them out. Actually have humans read what customers have submitted - daily automated irrelevant responses will just annoy them further. Simple is fine - the more complicated and convoluted you make something the less likely it is to work, which doesn't benefit anyone except your competitors. If you use Flash you have failed.

I won't detail how unpleasant it can be once you are there for your service, other than it matches the expectations from the above.

Category: gplus – Tags: rant, honda

Call them phones



Positioning Lumia The US has reached 50% smartphone penetration. comScore data shows July penetration at 48.8% and a monthly growth in penetration of nearly 2 percentage points. Given ... (more)

In the US we have now reached the point where we can stop calling them smartphones and just use phones. That does leave what to call the minority of phones with words like dumb-phone and feature-phone having being used, but not particularly accurate. Hopefully we won't end up with the nonsense the carriers did ("4G" anyone?) in order to distinguish amongst "smart" phones.

Category: gplus – Tags: mobile

Google Reader alternatives?

Any suggestions for a good alternative to Google Reader? In usual Google fashion they have a huge bug (many clicks on articles to open them in a new tab just open the Google homepage instead) and of course no way to provide this feedback.

Category: gplus – Tags: google reader

Reading material



Input It is valuable getting additional information, viewpoints and opinions. I read several feeds via Google Reader in order to make most efficient use of my reading time ... (more)

What sites I consume (via Google Reader/RSS) to keep up with the mobile industry. The geeks amongst you should find my last two highly amusing (and they include profanity!)

Category: gplus – Tags: google reader, recommendation

I'm wrong!



Blinders David is one of those cheerful people who wished me a happy Friday. The discussion meandered but eventually boiled down to an argument over iPhones showing you ... (more)

I publicly admit to being wrong, and then roundly blame Apple and an optimised human brain for it.

Category: gplus – Tags: mobile

Cool video

A stop motion music video that features a lot of the Bay Area. Santa Cruz is represented for a minute or so starting at 1m30s. (We also represent in the film The Lost Boys.) Supposedly it took 6 hours of filming per 3 seconds of video! [Via Reddit]

Category: gplus – Tags: santa cruz

Mobile app analytics



Technical differences: Mobile app analytics are not Web analytics There are many web analytics solutions out there, ranging from small scale self hosted open source solutions though massive ... (more)

A technical dive into mobile app analytics I wrote.

Category: gplus – Tags: analytics, mobile

Human drivers

How many seconds do you have to watch before the case is made for not letting humans drive, and delegating it all to computers? You'll also wonder why anyone drives in Russia.

HT: +Joey DeVilla

Category: gplus – Tags: driverless cars

Android app install referrers



Giving credit for Android app installs When an app gets installed on Android it is nice to know who the referrer was. For example it could be a ... (more)

I wrote about the nitty gritty details on #Android app install referrers, and dealing with the quirky behaviour of the Play Store code.

Category: gplus – Tags: android

Lenovo T430s screen


If you get a Lenovo T430s then you'll know just how bad the screen is. It seems very blue and washed out. It turns out that there is nothing wrong with the screen - it is just that the default colour calibration is wrong. Lenovo do ship icc profiles, but it was generated in 2010 predating the display by two years and just assumes a 65% gamut. I profiled the screen using a +ColorHug using the 20 minute detailed profile to get a correct icc profile - grab it from

There is a good article about the ColorHug at

My only complaint is that the British inventor has no excuse for leaving the 'u' out of colour.

Originally posted at Google+ where there are some good comments. It would appear the LG panels (which I have) and the Samsung ones (which you may have) also differ. See comments 6 onwards for more details.

Category: gplus – Tags: lenovo, colorhug

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