I Knew Better but Did It Anyway – And Now I Wish I Hadn’t

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle

Feb 27

Microsoft's web page for Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft's web page for Internet Explorer 8

I Confess, a Pretty Picture Led Me Astray
Anybody who’s been around computers and software as long as I have has no excuse for what I did. But it looked so pretty. And their sales pitch was so seductive: “faster, safer and easier than ever.” Besides, it was FREE. So I went ahead and took the upgrade to Internet Explorer 8.0 BETA.

Testing Software Should Be Done by Professionals
If you’ve been around software — and are not a developer or programmer yourself — you doubtless know enough to run just as fast as you can from version x.0, in this case 8.0. Of course, someone has to run software and test it so the developers can fix it and test it again until it is ready for general release to the public. Normally they test it in a simulated live environment. But the testers shouldn’t be the end users. They should be programmers, professionals who are willing to run it through its paces, people who expect problems and are temperamentally suited for the challenges. They don’t mind a bad customer experience because they love that kind of challenge.

Microsoft Excels at Marketing, Not at Giving Great Customer Experience
In this case, Microsoft did what they do best: they wrote great marketing copy. The web page for upgrading to Internet Explorer 8.0 looked so attractive that I thought it must be ready for consumers. Yeah, it said BETA — but surely they wouldn’t put it out for the average computer user if it was so primitive it could cause major problems. After the reputation they’ve had for abusing customers and after marvelous Apple ads attacking that very weak point, Microsoft must be taking more care before releasing something to the public.

Assuming What Made Sense to Me Did to Them
My mistake #2 was in assuming that because it made sense to me, it did to an aggressive marketing company. Again, I know better than to assume. But I proved that I’m still a sucker for a pretty face. And Internet Explorer 8’s web page was just as pretty as their marketing and design team could make it.

The result was a host of frustrating problems that finally forced me to do something when my anti-virus software stopped working. My McAfee rep, Aiswaryamo, on Wednesday and my Microsoft IE 8 support rep, Nagalaxmi Reddy, yesterday were fantastic and far more patient than I am. Between them, my system is functioning again. Unfortunately, various little things still haunt me.

Has My Dislike for Microsoft Finally Outweighed My Love for Them?
I’m switching to FireFox for my primary browser like so many other people already have. And I must say, Apple’s Macintosh is beginning to look more attractive too because their ads have hit Microsoft’s major weakness: bringing out product which trashes the customer’s expectations of a good experience. There’s an old expression that applies here: take advantage of me once, shame on you; take advantage of me twice, shame on me. While there are many things I’ve loved about Microsoft, there are many I don’t. This callous disregard for the customer’s experience with their products is one of those I dislike. I now have to decide, has the scale tipped yet to the dislike side?

Develop Raving Fans, Not a Lynch Mob
This latest experience with Microsoft selling something not ready for the public adds one more piece to the huge amount of animosity towards them. How much business can you afford to lose before you can’t recover? Ultimately, no amount of marketing will undo the negative expectations regarding a company’s products. Focus instead on making sure that your products leave customers raving about how wonderful it is, not what it cost them to implement.

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About the Author

My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. https://amzn.to/2BaP2AH I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.