But 37signals are just neglecting their customers

There’s been a bit of a spat between 37signals and Get Satisfaction today, after Mike Stanley took offence at Get Satisfaction’s efforts to get companies to take notice of their customers.

I really admire Get Satisfaction for the way it sort of shames companies who don’t provide good customer service.

I’ve never experienced 37signals’ customer support but plenty of people seem to think it’s top notch, so I can understand why the wording on Get Satisfaction would be hurtful to their reputation.

To their credit, Get Satisfaction have realised their mistake in how they word their site and responded well to Mike’s post.

However, I do think that 37signals are missing something.

In my last post I spoke about the open nature of the internet, that people will talk about companies on tools like Get Satisfaction and that any company hoping to maintain a good reputation needs to be monitoring these sites.

I also believe that the internet enables people to play by their own rules and that if companies are to provide the best customer service they should be prepared to do that in the customer’s preferred method.

Mike slammed Get Satisfaction’s approach saying,

 Their brand of “open” means “only on Get Satisfaction.”

Surely Mike is being hypocritical, though? If 37signals are committed to providing excellent customer service, shouldn’t they deliver that service via whatever means customers ask for it?

They already do that through Twitter, so why not Get Satisfaction?

Mike suggests that,

When customers see a “support site for 37signals” and an open text field, they’ll post their concerns and they’ll get pissed when they don’t hear back. I would be too!

That’s certainly not a good thing, but by not taking part in Get Satisfaction aren’t 37signals just neglecting those customers?

What do you think? Should 37signals use Get Satisfaction like they use Twitter or should Get Satisfaction be making sure that visitors to their site are well informed that 37signals has it’s own support area?

Update: I’ve added my thoughts to the comments of Mike’s original post. Do find on “Philip John” to see it. Maybe 37signals didn’t like my comment, ’cause it’s been deleted. I’ve commented again asking why. Let’s see if that one stays there.


2 responses to “But 37signals are just neglecting their customers”

  1. Alex Bunardzic Avatar

    I agree with you, and although there is basically no need to say anything, since the web will itself sort all this folly out (and quickly), let me just reiterate a couple of things:

    1. Copy protected digital content has no place on the web, period. The web is a giant copy machine, and anything you put on it will get copied mercilessly, without anyone asking for any permission from anyone else. That the nature of the web, being a true-at-heart end-to-end communication platform (read: true democracy)

    2. As as corollary to the point above, branded businesses (such as 37signals, for example) have no place on the web. Branded businesses selling digital content should stick to the tried and tested CD ROM model that Microsoft patented more than 15 years ago. Only that way will branded businesses be able to protect their brand.

    ’nuff said!


  2. Philip John Avatar

    Alex, I can’t agree with you about digital content and branded business.

    Internet brands like 37signals provide good quality products and service, just like brands provide products and services offline.

    Access to the internet does not grant web users a license to copy everything they see, just like buying a newspaper does not grant me a license to copy and re-distribute it in any way I please.

    The same time, effort and expense goes into online products and services as offline equivalents.

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