Are you telling your customers (or fans) to go away?

When the phone rings at your store do you just let it ring? When a customer walks through your door do you ignore them? Probably not. But that’s exactly what you’re doing when you don’t reply to business (or fan!) emails. It’s mind-boggling how many companies simply ignore their emails. Over the last week I’ve sent email inquiries to two companies I would like to hand some cash to and neither have replied. Both of these email inquiries were from their “Contact Us” page. ┬áSadly this response, or lack thereof actually, is more the norm than the exception.

Customers, or potential customers, don’t necessarily expect super-quick responses to emails (although doing so demonstrates your respect for your customers and a high level of customer service), but they *do* expect a response. When you let email inquiries go into the black hole you are telling people, “Go Away!” – a) I’m too busy for you; b) I don’t care about your business; or c) Somebody told me I need a web page but I have no idea how to use it. None of these are great for your business or building your fanbase.

Either use your business email or get rid of it. It’s that simple.

The Myth of Ubiquitous Internet

Apple will release OS X Lion tomorrow. From all advance information it will be available only as a download directly to your computer through the Mac App Store. This underscores something I’m seeing a lot these days: they myth of ubiquitous internet. Companies assume all locations have access to broadband internet when it’s just not true. For example at our home in the Davis Mountains we have internet but it’s not broadband (it’s satellite). Download speeds are okay, not really fast, the latency is excruciating, but the real problem is the bandwidth caps. We get 17GB per “rolling 30 day period” – a stupid and confusing method of doling out bandwidth – and typically, even though we do not download movies, don’t do file sharing or anything else that would be bandwidth intensive, we are almost constantly hovering at 75-80% usage. If something makes the usage trip the 90% mark our connection is throttled to below dialup speeds (we can’t even use our bank’s web site at these speeds). We have three Macs at the house and I would like to upgrade each of them to Lion. Can’t do it. Sure I can take our laptops to town but what about the Mac Pro? How do I update that machine?

The Social Network

Just saw The Social Network. Not only is it a well-crafted film but it is a snapshot of our American culture today. Where riches are made overnight on an “Idea” (and in this case someone else’s idea!) – not by years of hard work, or actually making something you can touch, see or hear. Zuckerberg’s character comes across as pathetic, lonely, no social skills, impressionable by the “cool guys” and quite probably amoral, perhaps bordering sociopathic. If there is a human villain in the movie it is Sean Parker’s character, who is yesterday’s news trying very hard to remain relevant and sees an opportunity. But the true villain is greed. Greed for power, status and money of course.

It’s a brilliant social commentary and you don’t have to be a computer nerd to get it.

Like I’ve said before we have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. If there were another open-source place that did it right it would leave Facebook in the dust. With Facebook you are not the customer, you are the product and don’t ever forget it.