Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Customers from Hell: How are They Created?

There's a Star Trek episode in which the Enterprise enters an alternative universe and an "evil" Kirk emerges onto the ship (The 'Enemy within'). The whole episode is about who is the "real" Captain Kirk: the nice one or the evil one?

Creating a Customer From Hell

Creating the Customer From Hell

Most of my students think of me as a "nice" guy... But - like most of you - I have my evil streak.  There are certain companies - Verizon, and now HP - that I truly, truly hate. Recently, my HP desktop failed, and I have had to make call after call after call to HP technical support.  They seem unable to fix even the simplest of problems - generating an RMA number and accepting the return for repairs of a computer under warranty - and "run around" is a nice way to describe how I have been treated.


I even went to an HP consumer forum and posted a "plea for help," only to have some rude moderator tell me I was in the wrong place!  So HP tech support can't help, the forums can't help... and I have a non-functioning $1600 computer that is only 9 months old, and seems to be completely worthless. Am I a powerless consumer?

Am I a Customer from Hell for HP?


So...  I am officially becoming a "customer from Hell" for HP.  I am dedicating my life to informing the world of how much I hate this company, its products, and everything that it does. Once, it was a great Silicon Valley company... but today... it is but a dying wreck of itself.


How does this fit into marketing?  Well... what are the ways that you (and your company) are creating "customers from Hell?" Not just people who dislike you, but people who loathe you. People who are so angry and disgusted with your service that they will create blog posts, YouTube videos, and other Internet content that will "scare away" potential customers?

The Internet and the Unhappy Consumer


We live in a funny age. Today customers who are unhappy can really publicize their unhappiness, as I am publicizing my unhappiness with HP.  I might even do a viral video of me destroying my computer with a sledgehammer to the tune of Miley Cyrus' "wrecking ball."  Heck, perhaps I will even Twerk to it.  Oh well, must keep sense of humor (Captain Kirk).