Thursday, July 31, 2008

Larger companies might consider employing consumer advocates, to represent the consumer point-of-view when making business decisions.

A couple of examples for interactions today:

HP Canada Shopping: I phone just before 8 pm, stay on the phone ("please stay on the line, your call is important to us") until 8:35 pm, at which point I dropped into a message that says "our office is open until 8:30 pm, please call back during regular business hours or leave a message"). A consumer advocate would recommend keeping some staff on to handle the backlog of calls (i.e. calls placed during business hours) in order not to lose business.

Microsoft: a trial version of Microsoft Office is installed on my computer - when I click to go to buy, I get trapped in an endless circle of web pages telling me about policies and options, but never offering a simple BUY button. A consumer advocate would suggest viewing the interaction from the consumer point-of-view, and moving the consumer quickly through the buy process.

When a company becomes focused on internal considerations (e.g. office hours, company policies) it is beneficial to hire consumer advocates to represent the external concerns.


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