Are your customers using social media to warn others to stay away?

KristinZhivago
Kristin Zhivago President, Zhivago Management Partners, Inc.

Posted on June 18th 2012

Are your customers using social media to warn others to stay away?

I needed new software for my smartphone, so I could conduct customer interviews and record them when I’m not sitting at my computer and using my Skype recording setup. I had several non-negotiable requirements. 

  • No distracting beeps while recording (I do always tell customers I’m recording, and that I will “anonymize” their comments)
  • High recording quality for my transcribers
  • Intuitive and reliable, so I could depend on it working when I needed it
  • It had to be one-click easy to send files to my Mac
  • I didn’t want it to screw up anything else on my phone, including phone security

ImagePrice wasn’t an issue, within reason. I assumed I would find an app for free or something like $20, and that’s basically what I found. 

I wasn’t going to buy an app from a vendor who was obviously a sleazeball, someone who couldn’t be trusted with my smartphone environment or my email address.

I found that most software vendors are asleep at the switch. They don’t realize what’s really happening to them out there in Customer Conversation Land.

The buying process was PAINFUL

I used Google, of course. I searched on “[brand/model # of phone] no beep recording software.” I visited vendor and online article/review sites. I read reviews and discussion group entries.

If a program looked like it would do what I needed, I downloaded a free trial or a paid version. I installed and tested the software with real phone calls.

Again and again, I was disappointed for one reason or another. 

  • “Beep-free” software DID beep, even when it was set up and used exactly as instructed. This was true of about half of the “beep-free” programs.
  • Several programs used the recording software built into my phone, which I had already rejected, because it had the nasty habit of making the recording sound jumpy. My transcribers would go nuts. 
  • Some couldn’t send files to my Mac.
  • One program correctly recorded the first conversation, and others, but when you played any recording back, it always played the first conversation only. 

As I went through this painful and tedious process, one part of my brain was writing this article, because there was such a stark disparity between the software companies’ claims and my very disappointing reality. No wonder buyers don’t trust sellers! 

Here’s the boring blather that one vendor wrote:

This application satisfies all your recording needs. It will let you record a voice memo or phone call WITHOUT THE BEEP anytime by simply pressing hotkeys of your own choice. Phone calls can also be recorded automatically based on your choices. You can browse, label, delete and transfer all the recorded memo and phone calls with ease. You can record arbitrarily long memo or conversations. The application will automatically stop recording once the storage space is low on your phone and never will fill up your phone. Hotkeys work anytime, always.

This copy is useless, because it doesn’t tell us HOW all this is accomplished. But the other problem is, the product doesn’t operate as promised. 

Under the vendor’s glowing and non-specific marketing copy were customer reviews. There were the to-be-expected and probably planted “Good,” “Nice,” “Works,” reviews, but then there were these: 

I purchased and installed version 6.1.2. There is a beep and the recording is skipping - making it useless. Now what??? 

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There is a skip which renders the recordings quite useless on my phone.

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The 'No Beep' function is really bad. It beeps every 2 seconds and so far no fix has been offered. My rating is now below average due to not performing as claimed and inadequate support. 

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Does not work. Recording is missing small portions every couple of seconds, resulting in choppy and incomplete recording. 

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Wasted my $$$$ in buying the earlier version which comes with the BEEPS!!!!! 

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Thinking of your experiences as a buyer, I bet there are lots of times you’ve decided NOT to buy a product because reviewer comments scared you off. I didn’t bother downloading and testing the products that were rated this poorly.

Looking at your role as a seller, I bet you haven’t set up an RSS feed for all the places where your product is showing up and being reviewed, and I bet there isn’t anyone in your company dedicated to responding properly to those reviews.

During the course of buying this software, I visited over a hundred webpages. Only about 20% of them were the official vendor sites. The rest were pages that the vendors were obviously not paying any attention to, since the entries placed there by customers warning other customers to stay away were not addressed in any way by the vendors being discussed.

This is why selling is so broken right now. Customers are talking to each other, revealing the ugly truth about products, and sellers are nowhere to be found – either to help, set the record straight, or fix their crummy products. 

 
KristinZhivago

Kristin Zhivago

President, Zhivago Management Partners, Inc.

Kristin Zhivago is a Revenue Coach who helps CEOs and entrepreneurs increase sales by understanding exactly what their customers want to buy - and how they want to buy it. She is an expert on the customer's buying process and the author of Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy
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