If you’re one of the many companies that doesn’t feel it needs to monitor its online reputation–or perhaps feels its brand is bullet-proof–take a look at what has happened to Apple recently.
Up until a few weeks ago, Apple had a rock-solid reputation–one that any company would desperately love to have.
Then, Apple made a few mistakes:
- It lowered the price of its new iPhone by $200–leaving more than a million owners feeling a little “annoyed”.
- It updated the firmware of the iPhone–leaving many unlocked iPhones as useless bricks.
- It wiped out third-party iPhone applications from phones.
In just a few short weeks, the shine has come off of Apple and it’s not just because of the iPhone. BusinessWeek reports that as the company sells more computers, more customers are realizing that Apple’s customer support sucks.
Those new customers, lured by the company’s sterling reputation and marketing power, may feel deceived when they encounter bugs. Catherine Temple, a Boonton (N.J.) homemaker and musician, had heard all sorts of great buzz about Macs. So she drove 10 miles to an Apple store last April and plunked down about $4,000 for an iMac. Three months later, the hard drive failed, sending her back to the store with the PC for a replacement part. Days later, Apple had to fix the logic board and some memory chips. Then it discovered the optical drive wasn’t working right. Besides the legwork, Temple says she waited days for replies to faxes and e-mails and made long calls to the help desk; one of them ate up 90 minutes. Her experience with Apple “left a bad taste in my mouth,” says Temple. “I have no confidence in them.”
I think I’ll include Steve Jobs and Apple in my upcoming book on online reputation management and send him a copy.