Monday, October 17, 2011

RiM shows some class

Great to see that Research In Motion is offering its frustrated clients free premium apps worth more than $100 each as an apology for last week's service outages.

A customer-service problem like that demanded a grand, serious gesture on the company's part (see my National Post blogpost here), and RiM has delivered.

The complete selection of premium apps will become available from BlackBerry App World for four weeks beginning Oct. 19. Enterprise customers will also receive a month of free technical support.

Good to see strong statements like these from RiM's embattled management:
“We’ve worked hard to earn [customers’] trust over the past 12 years and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect,” says RiM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. “We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”

Industry analyst Francisco Jeronimo at IDC said the decision could be good for RIM, if it helps more customers to discover BlackBerry app services. He said RiM has likely struck deals with app developers to keep costs down. Even so, he says, “More important than the offer itself, is that RIM is showing goodwill and being humble. They recognized the problem, apologized and now they are compensating their users.”

In my Oct. 14 NatPost blog, "overcompensate" was the phrase I used to describe how companies can rebuild trust following customer-service breakdowns. You have to prove you learned your lessons, and that you value your customers' time and loyalty.
Here is my list of 7 Steps to take when faced with a company or customer-service breakdown.
• Acknowledge the problem quickly.
• Identify the magnitude of the breakdown as soon as possible.

• Tell customers what outcome you are working toward. (e.g., How soon will power be restored?)

• Don’t just say you’re working on the problem – show it. (Make sure they see you sweat.)

• Take steps to shut-out customers as comfortable as possible.
• Acknowledge customers’ confusion and frustration.

• Overcompensate. Once the emergency is over, find creative, memorable ways to apologize for the inconvenience and thank customers for their tolerance.
You can read that complete column here.

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