Create a Fan experience, not just a Customer experience

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We all know customer experience isn’t what it used to be.  We’ve all had bad experiences with cable companies, wireless companies etc. that have left us angry, frustrated and cheated out of what should be a pleasant experience.  But some companies are beginning to get it – you really only get once chance to impress and retain a customer, and if you play your cards right, you could just get a customer for life.  That just happened to me, and frankly it hasn’t happened in a very long time (Apple was the last one that put a spell on me, in a positive sense).

I finally bought one of those pesky fitness bands – the Jawbone Up24 as soon as it came out in December 2013.  While i’m not necessary a ‘regular’ workout guy, I was intrigued by how the technology and resulting mobile analytics would work.  I started wearing it pretty much all day and night.  I got even more excited when they released a companion app called ‘Up Coffee’ which tracks your caffeine intake (I pretty much have a drip of espresso following me around all day) and tells you when you are jittery, or the perfect time to stop drinking caffeine in order to be in bed at a certain time.  I was having a ton of fun using it, until I developed a rash on my wrist.  So I moved it to my other hand and right enough, after a few weeks, I had a rash on that wrist as well.  Then I gave up and stopped using it in May 2014.

Then came iOS8 beta, and I wanted to try out Apple’s new HealthKit App, so I put it on again, only to get a rash again (3rd times a charm).  So this time, I decided to do something about it.  After a few Google searches, I figured out that there were some other people that had a similar rash as I did, so I simply emailed customer service, totally expecting to never hear back from them; But man was I wrong!

Within an hour or two, I got a response from Jawbone Customer Service, asking for more details about the rash, which part of the band was touching the affected area etc.  And the funny part was, the rep wanted to know if we could setup a call to talk through the issue and any possible remediation.  I was surprised, but said sure, let’s setup a time.  I talked to the nicest lady at Jawbone Support in San Francisco, who walked me through what the band was made of (which was medical-grade non-latex plastic by the way) and gave me some suggestions to help troubleshoot the issue further.  Since I had already tried rinsing with rubbing alcohol etc. she wondered if I had just bought a size too small, and whether we should try a bigger size.  I did notice that the band was a bit small for my wrist, so she shipped me a larger size, free of charge, with a prepaid shipping label to send my old one back and didn’t ask for a credit card number.  WHOA NELLY.  Who the hell even does that?  I was floored, but even more floored when she offered to call me back in a week to ask me how the new one was working out.

A week flew by, and I was able to use the new band for a day or two and right enough, the rash came back again.  So we talked again, and she gave me two suggestions – buy a third party cover (she kindly said Jawbone couldn’t cover that cost because they don’t make covers for the Jawbone Up24, which is fair) or, refund the full MSRP of the band.  Wait a second – they are willing to give me a refund without me even asking for one?  Seriously – who does that?

Let me try to summarize; I got a really fast response, from a real person who had a great personality and knew what she was talking about, and offered me several options to help me through my issues, and it cost me nothing.  I spent $129 for the band, and in comparison i’ve literally spent thousands of dollars on TVs and cameras (i’m sure you all have) that are nowhere even close to the level of customer service i’ve experienced with Jawbone.

So I opted to keep it and try a band cover, because I frankly like the product a lot.  But one things for sure, i’ve become a lifelong fan of Jawbone products.  I can only hope that other companies follow this path; I know Zappos, Dropcam etc. and a few others that are heavily investing in creating the fan experience, but we’re going to get to a point where this isn’t going to be an option anymore; that is, if you want to survive in this new business landscape.  The best part is, Consumers win!

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