Customer Touchpoints: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Perspective

Customer Touchpoints: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  January 15, 2014

Having been unfortunate enough to be part of an eight-hour weather-related delay as a passenger of flight 411 on Jan. 4, 2014, my fellow passengers and I found out just how amazingly bad the airline's logistics and service levels could be. After we lost an entire workday each, we waited yet another hour for luggage to come out. When it finally did it was for a different flight – a cancelled flight.

Frequent tweets to the airline and calls from passengers were met with rude responses, infuriating my fellow passengers. In turn, they tweeted about their experiences.

This all happened after I’d arrived in Las Vegas to attend CES (News - Alert), so I had no idea if I needed to buy clothes for my business trip. At first, it sounded like I didn’t. You see, the airline told us in the Las Vegas baggage handling area that my bags would be delivered in a few hours. That was last Saturday.

So, I ended up shopping every day I have been here, wasting precious time. As I write this it’s Tuesday, and I just got a message that my bags have been found.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that my bags are at JFK, while I am still here in Las Vegas. Yet when, at JetBlue’s suggestion, I called the airline’s 800 number to get more information, they suggested I come pick up my bags at the New York airport.

So, I spend well over $1,000 on replacement items because of the airline's incompetence and I get a standard 800 number to call? And when I call it I’m told to pick up my property at an airport across the country? This level of incompetence should definitely be paid for, but in this case it’s the upper management at JetBlue that should pay, by getting a pink slip from the company’s board. And I’m not talking about an article of clothing.

Speaking of shopping, I have been thinking about Intel’s (News - Alert) recent move to follow in the footsteps of many of the other tech titans and open up its own branded retail locations.

Decades back Intel research showed them that people buying computers powered by their processors didn’t know who made the processor. Many people in fact thought computer manufacturers such as Compaq made the CPU. This revelation launched a multibillion-dollar advertising campaign focusing familiar slogans like Intel Inside.

Intel has since firmly established itself in the mind of consumers, but the challenge the company faces these days is ARM-based products are proliferating by the billion – embedded in smartphones, tablets and other devices where low-power is important. Even HP has started using ARM in its Moonshot solution.

Another challenge – Apple’s A7, a 64-bit processor used in smartphones and the latest tablets. One doesn’t have to think that hard to envision a world in which desktops and laptops will be powered by a new Intel competitor – ARM, not AMD (News - Alert).

So, to counter, Intel decided again to sell ARM-based processors and to open retail stores to connect more closely with consumers.

ARM is the exact sort of disruptive technology that makes incumbent competitors implode. It starts small and in a niche and grows over time. The same way inexpensive hard drives helped take out the larger vendors using technology like RAID, ARM processors are continuing to gain ground on Intel.

Will retail “experience” stores curb this problem? Probably not. But like the Samsung Experience store in NYC, it will generate some goodwill and perhaps over time Intel will evolve into a retail manufacturer selling everything from processors to end-user systems.

Apple more or less does this, Samsung (News - Alert) does this, and, it seems, Intel sees this is the future and doesn’t want to be left behind. However, to pull this off, Intel may have to buy a company like a Dell or an HTC (News - Alert).




Edited by Blaise McNamee
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