When Customers Can't Succeed

I don’t know when this started, but at some point in my life some jerk has gone and renamed “Customer Support” to “Customer Success”. It’s a pretty crappy name because it doesn’t really mean anything when you read it. You have to be in the know. You have to know that “Customer Success” means “Customer Support”, which in turn means replying to messages, emails and phone calls from customers who have some problem or question.

A few years ago I used to work at a crypto exchange, and we had a “Customer Success” team there. This was pretty funny, because a quick report would tell you that the majority of our customers were not succeeding. They were losing tons of money. I used to joke that if we really cared about customer success we should close the accounts of the persistent losers.

Buying Clothes

Last week I wanted to buy some shirts from H&M. I went on to the website and tried to login. I wasn’t able to log in. Okay fine. So I tried to reset my password. I clicked the password reset button a few times across the span of a few hours but the email never arrived. Very annoying. Then I sent an email to the “Customer Success” team telling them I wasn’t able to login or reset my password. Then I just went off and bought some clothes without logging in.

The next day I get a phone call. “Hi this is XYZ from H&M Customer Success. Is now a good time to talk” “Yup sure” “Well I see you weren’t able to reset your password. That’s because the account you have with that email address is a ‘guest account’. Our system doesn’t allow guest accounts to login or reset their passwords.” “So does that mean I can never login with that account” “Correct”

That’s pretty lame! It sounds like a limitation of their system, and instead of fixing the issue, they just leave it hanging and get customer support to deal with the upset customers. This sort of bug could be costing H&M money:

  1. People get annoyed that they can’t login, so they go off and buy clothes somewhere else
  2. Most users buy clothes anonymously, making it harder for H&M to link purchases meaning they’re less good at targeted advertising
  3. Some other reason

It’s probably impossible or very difficult to analyse how much money this bug is costing H&M, it might even be the case that this bug is helping H&M make money. I have noticed that when I fix bugs that customers report to me, they are very likely to purchase a subscription and recommend the app to their colleagues.

H&M if you’re reading this blog, I’d be happy to fix this bug for you, in exchange for a small portion of the revenue delta!

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