Consumers are NOT Right

We love our consumers. Whether you are a multi billion-dollar industry or a desperate students selling random “stuff” on eBay, we all have our own level of consumer base, and we are instructed to LOVE them.

However, here is the unspoken or forbidden truth: Customers are NOT always right. There, I said it.

So why pretty much all of us fool ourselves into thinking Customers are always right?

Here are some self deluded reasons to think of:

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  1. Stew Leonard’s ROCK (Come on! It is written on a Rock, so it must be placed next to the 10 commandments!)
  2. Management Classes (Because it is management it must be true!)
  3. Case Studies (Self explanatory. Someone is smart to do cases, so the content must be true. Duh!)
  4. Because it has been so!
  5. If we don’t Love them, then they will SUE us (True, they’ll and they’ll WIN)

Well, I stand with our late Steve Jobs and Henry Ford here (May their soul Rest In Peace):

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
— Steve Jobs

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

—Henry Ford

So one can envision me as the next Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, or as another highly opinionated person. The fact is this: I refuse to follow the HERD, so did Jobs and Ford.

 Why I believe Customers can be so wrong sometimes:

  1. Customers are short sighted: They’ll buy anything under the sun that is CUTE
  2. Ego (Most customer conflicts come from: How can an organization tell me what to do? I Can never be wrong – I am a customer)
  3. Entitlement
  4. Lack of responsibility

Consumers are right sometimes and wrong sometimes, but the propaganda of the notion that consumers are always right is hurting corporations (big and small alike) across our country. From a mere observation I could say that nasty Yelp! reviews have shut down many restaurants.

Corporations are the backbone for our economy. As consumers we demand respect, honesty and transparency from Corporations, it is only logical that we as consumers could extend Corporations the same courtesy. If we do, Corporations might truly enjoy valuing consumers and our economy.

Here is what consumers could do:

  1. Go to a company’s website to learn about what the company stands for and what it does. Don’t just go there to buy “stuff” and to write bad complaints
  2. If a product doesn’t work as advertised, try explaining the customer service agent about the challenges you face as a consumer towards the product in a pleasant way. Don’t yell louder than your puppy at customer service personnel.
  3. Educate yourself about the product. One cannot yell at others on account of one’s own incompetency.

Consumer innocence is not bliss and corporations are not nannies.

Here’s couple of links that might shed more light on why consumers are not always right!

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexander-kjerulf/top-5-reasons-customer-service_b_5145636.html
  2. http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the-customer-is-always-right-results-in-bad-customer-service/

Target, Trust and Thanksgiving

May the Odds be with you on this Holiday! As a consumer, I lost faith in Target. I only go to the Target located in 21 Broad St, Stamford, CT 06901-2309, that too to buy my Starbucks coffee. Don’t get me wrong, like any sensible consumer; I do like a good bargain. But I would avoid buying from Target until the miracle happens – Target taking Assertive actions by instilling proper security measures for its customer data. And I personally don’t think Target is planning on doing it anytime soon. Here is a simple (probably irrelevant) example on why Target is refusing to work on gaining customers trust. Remember: TRUST and CARE goes hand in hand.

On Nov 17th 2014, around 12:55 PM, I was getting my warm cup of Caramel Brule from the Starbucks located inside Target (21 Broad St, Stamford, CT 06901-2309). Whilst I was passing the Parking meter on my way back, I heard the meter gurgling in its electronic voice to a customer, who just inserted her parking ticket,

Your parking fee now is $ 3,883.00, please pay by inserting cash or Credit card” This voice stopped me on my tracks. Then, like any other Good Samaritan, I stopped and took a picture of that unfair parking fee, and then helped the lady to remove her parking ticket from the machine. I see a comical, yet, nervous expression on the customer’s face. I am glad to mention that she successfully pulled her parking ticket back from the cognitively challenged machine without becoming a victim (yet again) by Target!

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Glitch happens, some might say. But for Target, everything should be perfect (almost) considering it (allegedly) “missed” warning signs in Epic Credit Card Data Hack. Target’s responsibility as a corporate citizen is to make its customers feel safe again by being forthcoming about:

  1. What actually went wrong?
  2. What measure are they (management) taking to make sure:
    1. The data is safe
    2. Not to repeat the incident in future
  3. Why it happened?
  4. A small infomercial on how Credit Card Data are being used, and by whom and what purpose?

Cashing in on Customers ignorance will take you only so far. And in the Information age we live in, cashing on customers’ ignorance won’t last long.

Enough about Target, let us talk about the wonderful, merry month we are in and its Specialty: It is November – which means, it is Thanksgiving, followed by DATA GIVING, commonly known as Black Friday. Now, if I am giving you a valuable data about myself, I obviously trust you. I trust that you:

  1. Keep my data SAFE
  2. Use it diligently and with CARE
  3. Use it to understand me MORE, so you can HELP ME better.

Now, even though it is only three points, I know it sounds like a nagging spouse’s task list for most corporations. Well, it shouldn’t be.

Target lost its customers TRUST; but didn’t lose much of its customer base. According to Washington Post, as of February 26th the massive cyber attack has already cost the retailer $17 million. And all Target did immediately was to pacify its customers by offering 10% discount.

Funny, that my data is only worth 10% of whatever your product value is? And where is Target’s crisis management team? Does Target have one?

An article written by Rachel Abrams, Nov 19th, New York Times, states that After several quarters of troubled earnings, Target beat expectations on Wednesday by reporting that its profits had risen in the third quarter, a sign that it is recovering from the fallout of its huge data breach last year.

Seems like Target is back on Track; are its customers? Can customers TRUST Target again? I did not see any information (press release or otherwise) from target stating measures it had put in place to safeguard the customers’ data – and the BLACK FRIDAY is next week!

Your Thoughts?

Do you think Target can survive this Black Friday?

Do you think it is safe for us (customers) to shop in Target again?

Or

Are we playing the Odds?

 

 

TRUST me… TRUST me NOT….

It has been more than a year since I wrote my blog – UmarketMe. To be candid I had one key priority on my plate: Graduating MBA from University of Connecticut. My graduate work and independent research kept me committed to the task at hand. A lot had happened between my first blog and now: Verizon security breach, Target security breach, Dropbox security breach and many more. You name it; the odds are the company might have suffered a breach.

What went wrong? It used to be FUN! Businesses produced goods and provide services; consumers bought the goods and services by paying the mighty dollar for it. What changed? Businesses still produce goods and services; consumers are still buying the goods and services by SWIPING the mighty card! Swiping the card is much easier than seeing the mighty Benjamin disappear from my wallet. It is truly a good thing. Businesses started to collect data from the consumer swipathon and started to analyze the data in order to better serve its consumers. After all, consumers market the businesses NOT the other way round.

As one can see, we have come a long way since we abbreviated our “world”: www. Businesses were surging and slumping whilst consumers were splurging and saving. During this rollercoaster ride two key things were forgotten:

  1. Data is increasing, so is the security risk.
  2. Human mind is capable of coding as well as hacking.

My initial thought to this Serial Security Breach was:

Businesses need to upgrade its hardware and software, invest in a team to discuss several possible cyber attack that might happen to its company, collide with other Businesses (Bipartisan Business Relationship) to create a security measure that can’t be infiltrated by any hackers and many more thoughts flooded my mind.

Now, do these thoughts have practicability? YES! Are these thoughts easy to implement? YES!

Then why Businesses are not taking any preventive actions to avoid Data breach?

My bet:

  1. Too focused on short-term investment:Too much money for something that might or might not happen.
  2. Playing the Odds:Just because it is happening to all the businesses, doesn’t mean it will happen to my business. After all, nothing had happened to me thus far… What are the Odds?

News Flash! Security Breach happens to anyone who has an online presence. The end.

Businesses often forget the core purpose of its survival – Consumers.

                                                      NO CONSUMERS, NO BUSINESS.

Businesses are built on trust. If consumers can’t trust an Organization, they won’t think twice to dump the business.

Well, that’s no FUN….

INVEST, SECURE AND SERVE