Late last week, my Mozy online backup software started acting up (again). I went to their website to troubleshoot the problem and was advised that the issue stemmed from a bug in a recent software update. Unfortunately, the solution involved reinstalling the software and then backing up all my files from scratch - a process that took several days to complete.
This morning, I received an email from Mozy notifying me of a price increase. Nice timing.
Any company can say they care about their customers. The truth emerges when there is a problem or some change to navigate. Your actions reveal what how you really think about your customers. Do you care or don't you?
There were two articles in the February 2011 issue of Inc. magazine that illustrate this point. The first was in Jason Fried's Get Real column, where he detailed a recently technical problem that his company, 37signals, experienced with their online collaboration software called Campfire. Their service was intermittently disrupted for several weeks in December, so they decided to give every customer a month of service for free.
Even better, their communication with their customers was very candid, even when they didn't have the answers. Although they initially faced a torrent of criticism on Twitter, their approach gradually bought them a slew of good will.
The second article described what happened when Chargify, a web-based service that manages billing for small companies, suddenly announced a price increase. Their customers were given 45 days notice that they were moving away from a 'freemium' model where basic services were free to a pricing structure where everyone pays. Like 37signals, Chargify faced a wave of criticism and bad PR. Unlike 37signals, Chargify took an 'us vs. them' approach. Co-founder Simak Taghaddos even had the stones to send this Tweet in response to customer criticism:
Moving away from freemium gets rid of freeloaders & bad customers, so you can provide better products & support to the good ones.
Wow. Thanks for letting us know how you really feel!
Back to Mozy. Every 6 months or so, some sort of problem occurs with their service. Getting slapped with a price increase immediately after the latest time sucking fiasco is like salt on the wound. I think I'm ready to move on to a company that really cares about it's online backup customers. Any suggestions?