Beiträge

Trying to reach Samsung customer service….

For quite some time I have been trying to get in touch with Samsung Deutschland in order to return our compact digital camera which seems to have some technical problems (I just decided not to do its job anymore). Samsung offers a special contact form which is separated into the different product segments and thus alllows to filter for the specific product. I gave it three times and have not received anything back so far, I even included images of the brand new looking camera to show that there is no exterior damage at all. But somehow there is no one on the other line….

From the start:

1) First Attempt
I went to Samsung’s website to check for the ideal way to get in contact for returning our at that time 0,75 yrs old camera. I even found the contact form and then had to find my way to the somewhat confusing manual when it comes to compact digital camera. Walking the path that seems intuitively right did not bring me to my model. Instead I had to try severyl menu combinations to finally get to my model. I then fillled in all the contact details into the form, explained the problem with the cam and then sent it off.

2) Over and Over
Having sent away the message I did not get a confirmation via email. So I simply had to assume the message reached its recipient and Samsung would soon answer to tell me the nearest service company I have to send the camera to. But no response. So I filled out the form again thinking that maybe theres was some important box not checked, etc. Again, all worked fine, all was filled out – no response. I did all that three times:
Samsung_support425x

After several weeks of simply postponing the issue I checked the Samsung website again. Relauched! It looks pretty good: big visuals, a feeling of proximity, nice menus, features, new form promiosing „one day response“ Sounds really good.

New Samsung.de

New Samsung.de


Well, I also tried to use this new way to contact Samsung customer service and the result as of 27 March 2010 is „nada.“ No response aside from the automatically generated confirmation email.
What is going wrong? Is there a database issue, do they lack the necessary personnel to really respond within a day? I would also be happy with a 2 day response, just any response at all…

to be continued..

Update 09 April 2010: Samsung did answers. Unfortunately I received no email notification about Samsung’s reply. Also, when logging in at samsung.de I can check the status of my inquiry. Again unfortunately, Samung’s response is shown directly UNDER my message just like in an answered email. Thus even when you login and check the status of your customer inquiry you do not at once see that there is an answer at all. Only when you scroll down you all of a sudden realized that there IS a response. However, I must admit that they indeed answered within one day! Promise kept!
So please Samsung, try to give this form some update and make it more user-friendly. I am quite experienced in the web. But like so many other customers I am notoriously short of time and thus it took me 2 weeks to realize Samsung responded. Give it some more work and you will have a really good online service tool.

What We Expect from Brands

Strong brands offer us a lot. We in return pay a premium price. But aside from hard facts such as superior product quality, better service and warranty they also provide us with orientation, reduction of uncertainty, trust, the feeling of belonging to a certain group and other much more subtle things. This is what we pay for and what we deserve.

iStock_000008724062XSmall

In return for the high price we expect certain values a brand has come to represent: sportiness with BMW, innovativeness and design with Apple, tradition, expertise and superior quality with a Glashütte watch. I expect you at this point to say „Stop! That’s all premium brands you’re talking!” Well, not necessarily. Volkswagen is traditionally not a premium brand and still there are certain values such as reliability or quality that are associated with it. Mc Donald’s is also no premium brand but would also well fit the list.

In the following paragraphs I picked out three things we expect from strong brands: consistency, service, and change when needed.

Consistency
What most brands have in common is consistency.
We do not want them to fundamentally change their business model, their target group or elementary core values. This would confuse us. A Bmw panel van? McDonald’s selling local food? Chateauneuf du Pape sold at discounters? These things are inconsistent with what we have learned about brands and the image we have in our minds. And thus they confuse us and they cause damage to the carefully grown brand identity.

Service
Another important thing we expect from strong brands is excellent service.
Personal service, listening to our problems, understanding what troubles us and working hard to satisfy our wishes and desires. We want to feel the assurance that we or rather every single one of us matters. In total, we expect a degree of service that trade brands cannot provide (financially). The markup we are willing to pay does include this extra service -when we need it.

Change when needed
The final of the three expectations towards a brand which I am dealing with today is the ability to change when needed.
This might at first sound contrary to the consistency point. Time changes and so brands have to respond to changing market situation and technological developments. One example would be the increasing time we spend online. Brands (not necessarily all of them) need to follow their customers just like predators follow their prey. The key challenge is to adapt while still being consistent. That is also why I argue that whatever viral or social media marketing actions a brand takes – it always has to be in line with the overall marketing and brand strategy.

Case
I just recently had trouble with a brand new pair of really nice Timberland Splitrock boots. After only 1,5 months both laces were close to tearing which might have been caused by a too sharp eylet. I emailed Timberland USA and informed them about my troubles. It took only one day and I had a friendly email in which they provided me with the contact details to Timberland Deutschland. In the meantime I had also twittered about the issue, wondering if my tweets maybe would be heard (Social Media Monitoring). After two days I received an email from Munich, in which a customer service agent excused for the quality issue and promised to send me a pair of similar hopefully more durable laces. That was two days ago. Today I received a small package by mail with two pairs of laces similar in color to the original ones. Great work, Timberland! Checking through my personal Twitter account I saw that Timberland Customer Service is now also one of my followers. I do not know about their internal processes, but from what I experienced, I can say that they are obviously doing things right. They created a strong global brand, with loyal customers all over the world. They listen to their customers’ troubles and do their best to maintain our loyalty. The result: I feel important, taken care of, appreciated. I pay a premium price for the product, but also get a lot more than just a simple pair of shoes…

Timberland Splitrock

Timberland Splitrock

Update: Timberland Customer Service responded via Twitter:

Timberland twittering

Timberland twittering