Mitch Joel for Huffington Post: Are Brands Failing the Speed Test?

October 2nd, 2012

Huffington Post
October 2, 2012
By Mitch Joel



Are consumer expectations getting out of control?

True story: our brand-new dryer broke down. It’s not even one year old. It’s not the first time. We were told we would have to replace a piece, and that it would take five to ten business days for them to receive the piece, and only once the piece is in inventory would they be able to make an appointment to replace the piece (which could also take up to an additional five business days).

Young kids, colds flying around from daycare and wet weather doesn’t make it any easier. We haven’t heard a peep from the company. We keep calling them and they keep telling us that they will call us back when the piece comes in. Ten business days later, we now have an appointment to get the part replaced. They said that they will be at our house at some point on Thursday between 7:30 am and 5:00 pm.

Well, isn’t that convenient?

It’s not hard to tweet out the brand name in an effort to publicly shame them in to speeding up the process. It wouldn’t be hard to name names in this posting and have it become an ever-increasing piece of content that defines their brand story. It’s not all that challenging to post the story on Facebook and encourage everyone in my social graph to not do business with this brand.

I’m holding on by a thread here in not revealing the brand’s name. It is frustrating beyond belief. During all of this frustration and waiting, I ordered my iPhone 5 directly from Apple and watched one of the hottest pieces of technology arrive in less than five business days via China. Five days for the new iPhone with full visibility into where the product is and how it is tracking to my office (thanks to UPS) versus no idea, no response and no sense of care from a major appliance manufacturer.

What gives?

There are three sides to every story. As a consumer, none of this makes sense. As a marketing professional, I have seen brands struggle with customer service and supply chains. It’s a complex world and getting pieces manufactured, shipped and installed professionally is actually a lot harder than it looks. We hold brands to such a high standard in a day and age when a tweet can change corporate dynamics as public shaming is the new (and sometimes best) way to get a brand’s attention.

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