Web 0.1: Apple Customer Support: “please don’t email us, just sue us”

I saw an article recently that described this attitude nicely: certain weak marketing executives believe that the purpose of a “conversation” is for them to have more ways of telling the customer what to do; they are seemingly incapable of understanding the idea that a “conversation” involves listening to the other person.

To them, email is a “one-way broadcast medium for us to tell the customer what to buy”, rather than “a two-way communication medium that allows us to listen and respond to our customers”.

Today, I received a great example. Here’s an email I received one month ago, from Apple:

“Thank you for renewing your iPhone Developer Program membership. New Expiration Date: 10 Aug 2010”

And here’s the email I received today, from Apple:

“your iPhone Developer Program has expired” (sent from address: “noreply-iphonedev@apple.com” )

A triple-whammy on appalling customer support there:

  1. Erroneously (I hope) claiming that they are NOT providing a service they have committed to providing
  2. Taking money from a bank account in return for a service that they then don’t provide (that bit’s illegal)
  3. …and:
  4. Sending all correspondence from an email address that they mark “noreply”; i.e. “if we (Apple) screwed up, we don’t want to hear from you. We don’t want to fix it. Go away”

I especially like the way they put this all together, so you get the implication that:

Apple would prefer me to sue them (Apple), or file a claim against them for fraud, than to let me send them a simple email and spare them the fallout of their stupid mistake.

Using a two-way media to deliberately ignore your customers? That’s Web 0.1.

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