23 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2014 11:09 AM by deesy58

    Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

      Since the suggestion thread that was started long ago seems to have disappeared (or my search-fu is weak either one....), I thought in the spirt of helpfulness and trying to keep my favorite e-reader alive we could offer them constructive criticism and things we'd like to see in order to keep loyal customers.

       

      My suggestions:

       

      1. Keep your Brick & Mortar stores in the know.  Digital Corporate could send a daily (or weekly) email update to the store/nook managers to advise them of known issues and what is being done to correct them;

      2. Keep the Digital Support Phone Tech in the know.  See No. 1.  Email them.  Educate them.

      3. Upgrade your Digital Support.  You know I am pretty sure B&N is an American company.  There are THOUSANDS of Americans who are without jobs due to no fault of their own.  Stop outsourcing, hire inside, support the economy.  I personally cannot stand dealing with BN outsourced customer service because it is so bad. 

      4. Shelves - would love to see them work online and on the device.

      5. Wishlists - Sync them for pete's sake.

      6. Communication - As I keep trying to hammer home, communication is key in any relationship but I find it particularly helpful when my money is involved.  I am happier when I know what is going on than when I do not. 

      7. A known issues page on the BN.com site would be nice. 

      8. Expand your App store.  People are rooting their devices because your device, while great, is just not THAT great that your app store makes them go OOOOOOHHHHH, AHHHHHH. 

       

        • B&N fix:  Eat your own dog food
          DeanGibson

          Even simpler, for senior executives:

           

          1. Get a Nook for your spouse or parents, and have him/her read a book a week on it.  Choose the book from a variety of genres and authors.
          2. When your spouse has questions, don't answer them yourself.  Instead insist that they find the answer on your web site and/or by calling customer support (without telling them that you work for B&N).
          • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

            From a developer perspective

             

            1) Move to a Top 100 Bestsellers List instead of 'Curation'.

             

            2) Add In-App Purchases as it allows developers one more means of monetizing.

             

            3) Don't assume that the only good developers are those that have made it big in the Apple Store.

             

            4) Fix the fake reviews problem. Too many companies using fake reviews for their own apps. How can an app have 5 5-star reviews 5 minutes after launching?

             

            5) Test more before shipping new Nooks.

             

            Nook always has super good hardware with sketchy software. It's easily fixable.

             

            6) Fix the issue on Nook Color where apps can't install because there is just 1 GB allotted to Shop Partition. It's the most frequent issue related to apps in my experience both with forums and with our own customer service.

             

            *****

             

            As a Nook Owner:

             

            1) Expand the Nook Videos store.

             

            2) Create more visibility for these forums and make them better and have a few people officially assigned to monitor issues.

             

            3) Switch out custom app store with either Windows 8 App Store or with Google App Store with some restrictions (like keeping out ebook apps).

             

            4) Teach/Train store representatives more. Too many cases of Nook owners being asked to Erase+Deregister when there are much simpler fixes available.

             

            5) Promote Nook more in stores for Videos and other uses besides reading.

              • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                "3) Switch out custom app store with either Windows 8 App Store or with Google App Store with some restrictions (like keeping out ebook apps)."

                 

                I doubt Apps for Windows 8 would work on Android devices. Probably requires the developer compiling twice to create two separate versions. Just as brick and mortar stores keep separate sections for PS3 and xBox disks, apps for the three tablet OSs need to be separated so customers won't end up buying incompatible apps.

                  • Android/VM
                    DeanGibson

                    ...

                     

                    I doubt Apps for Windows 8 would work on Android devices. Probably requires the developer compiling twice to create two separate versions.


                    Not necessarily.  What the world clearly needs is Android/VM (Virtual Machine) — Runs:

                     

                    • Regular Android (multiple versions if you wish).
                    • Various B&N and Amazon versions (disable WiFi access on VMs running older versions, in order to prevent OTA updates).
                    • Windows 8 Mobile.
                    • Palm OS.
                    • Maybe even MS-DOS.

                     

                    I think there is a real business opportunity here.  [evil :smileywink:]

                    • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                      Yes, they wouldn't work on Android.

                       

                      Given the Microsoft investment of $600 million in Nook Media, it would not be a surprise if Nook switched over to Windows 8 at some point of time.

                       

                      They get a large app-store. Microsoft might do an arrangement for them where other book apps and video apps are excluded.

                  • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                    I wish I could allocate my entire quota of laurels kudos to this thread. May I urge everyone with whom this resonates to click the Me too button in the OP and to give kudos?

                     

                    Also (begging your pardon, Ellen, if I'm being overly presumptuous) if you want to take more significant action, see EllenKeiff's post here.

                    • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                      Can something be done about the horrible reviews? I feel the need to leave the shop when I am looking to read reviews for a book. Most are people are complaining about trouble downloading a book from years ago, gibberish, people talk to other people, or one liners like "i loved this book" with one or two stars.

                        • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                          Reviews for me too.

                           

                          1) As a reader it's sad that things like people chatting is spoiling the reviews.

                           

                          2) As an app developer it's difficult that there's no way to respond to a review. Also there should be stronger policing - lots of people write reviews for their own books and write bad reviews for other people's stuff.

                           

                          • Everyone in moderation
                            DeanGibson

                            lonerchick wrote:

                            Can something be done about the horrible reviews?


                            When the Internet was first public, USENET was the place for people to post opinions and anything else they wanted, and that's exactly what happened.  Unfortunately, there was no provision for moderation on USENET, so most people today regard it as useless for intelligent, rational, courteous discussion.

                             

                            In its place came message boards of all types, which all had one feature in common:  they could be moderated by the owner.  Of course, the level of moderation varied from "theoretical" to strict, but this illustrates a fundamental rule of human nature:

                             

                            If you want a group (physical or online) to be useful, it must be moderated to some standard.

                             

                            How many of you have joined a group, only to leave it because some of some "kook" that joined and was not controlled or ejected?  When I first joined this forum, I noted one user that was nasty here.  So, I went over to the (at that time) new "ClubNook" forum to see if it was free of that type of behavior.  Surprise:  that user was not only there, one of his first posts was to the effect of" "I sure hope I don't have to worry about people's feelings here."  Sayonara ...

                             

                            Unmoderated public reviews have an additional problem:  sometimes the motives of the review are affected by financial considerations (pro or con).  A good review system requires a validated purchase, or at least an indication of the validation, plus active moderation.

                              • Re: Everyone in moderation
                                Wulfraed

                                The "big five" Usenet categories do permit moderation. I think even some of the "alt." groups are moderated. However, creating a moderated group took effort (finding some minimum number of moderators, then getting enough votes to approve creation of a new group).

                                 

                            • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                              gb18

                              Simple. Allow all 3d party apps. 

                              • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                                Yet another company who has outsourced Customer Service.  This time to the Phillipines.  No one understands - no one seems to be able to answer my questions.  Good grief!  I think I'll be opening an Amazon account for e-books!  If you want people to buy your e-books, make sure there are jobs here to support buying those books and make sure that the people you outsource to can speak and understand English.

                                  • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                    bobstro

                                    runnerOH, I notice you've only posted here once. If you'd care to elaborate on what problems you're having, many regulars here can probably help you.

                                    • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                      flyingtoastr

                                      runnerOH wrote:

                                      Yet another company who has outsourced Customer Service.  This time to the Phillipines.  No one understands - no one seems to be able to answer my questions.  Good grief!  I think I'll be opening an Amazon account for e-books!  If you want people to buy your e-books, make sure there are jobs here to support buying those books and make sure that the people you outsource to can speak and understand English.


                                      Amazon has had outsourced customer service (India IIRC) since 2006.

                                       

                                       

                                        • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                          gb18

                                          So if Amazon does it, it's OK?


                                          flyingtoastr wrote:

                                          runnerOH wrote:

                                          Yet another company who has outsourced Customer Service.  This time to the Phillipines.  No one understands - no one seems to be able to answer my questions.  Good grief!  I think I'll be opening an Amazon account for e-books!  If you want people to buy your e-books, make sure there are jobs here to support buying those books and make sure that the people you outsource to can speak and understand English.


                                          Amazon has had outsourced customer service (India IIRC) since 2006.

                                           

                                           


                                           

                                            • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                              flyingtoastr

                                              gb18 wrote:

                                              So if Amazon does it, it's OK?


                                              No, but threatening to shop at Amazon because BN has outsourced CS is patently stupid, because Amazon also has outsourced CS.

                                                • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                                  bobstro

                                                  flyingtoastr wrote:

                                                  No, but threatening to shop at Amazon because BN has outsourced CS is patently stupid, because Amazon also has outsourced CS.

                                                   

                                                   Nobody's arguing that companies outsource. The post you responded to was objecting to the fact that B&N's outsourced support could not be understood. Notice the "... and make sure that the people you outsource to can speak and understand English."

                                                   

                                                  I only hope runnerOH was a safe distance away before this thread exploded. Maybe he/she can still find some help here.

                                          • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                                            Typical of these kinds of threads but maybe I'll try and remain objective here.  First, I would start with NOT outsourcing CS. I realize this probably saves them a lot of money but it also turns a lot of people (myself included) off.  If the problem you're calling about is a simple one, then you can usaully manage but if it gets the slightest bit complicated, the the ability to communicate breaks down in a NY minute.  That is my biggest complaint but it applies to MANY other businesses I work with.  Secondly, perhaps doing some research into other similar sites and compiling a "Best Practices" list might really help as well.  Third (and probably most importantly), if you want to make major changes, it would ALWAYS be a smart idea to include your customer base in the process.  What do they want/need and expect and how important is each thing to them.  I'm seeing far to many businesses skip this last step entirely thinking they know exactly what the customer wants.  Just listen. They'll tell you.

                                              • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?
                                                keriflur

                                                ConnieL4193 wrote:

                                                Third (and probably most importantly), if you want to make major changes, it would ALWAYS be a smart idea to include your customer base in the process.  What do they want/need and expect and how important is each thing to them.  I'm seeing far to many businesses skip this last step entirely thinking they know exactly what the customer wants.  Just listen. They'll tell you.


                                                I agree with this for customer service related issues, and for software issues, but NOT for product design, mainly because I've seen good companies go bad because they market research everything.  The problem that can happen is that a vocal minority can ask for a feature that would help the majority, but because the majority is not asking for it, the request is ignored under the belief that only a few care about it.  The flip side of that, of course, is when a vocal minority is asking for something that will make life more complicated for the majority, but the company takes their request anyway and ends up hurting the product.

                                                 

                                                IMO for complaints of things not working, the company needs to listen to everything and fix, fix, fix.  But when it comes to new features or new devices, then they need to know their product, not take everything shouted at them.

                                                 

                                                IMO this is where B&N failed with the NGL - taking what the masses wanted as features, rather than looking at what made their previous devices so great and what would differentiate themselves in the market - and not apply the fix,fix, fix mantra when they had so many requests for fixes (fix the sync, fix the shelving, etc.)

                                                  • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                                                    keriflur wrote:

                                                    [...]

                                                    IMO this is where B&N failed with the NGL - taking what the masses wanted as features, rather than looking at what made their previous devices so great and what would differentiate themselves in the market - and not apply the fix,fix, fix mantra when they had so many requests for fixes (fix the sync, fix the shelving, etc.)


                                                    Just out of curiosity, why do you believe that the NOOK GL was designed to incorporate features that were wanted by "the masses"?  


                                                    I am not trying to start an argument.  I don't know anything about the NGL, so I am asking. 

                                                  • Re: Customer Service - How would you fix BN?

                                                    ConnieL4193 wrote:

                                                    Typical of these kinds of threads but maybe I'll try and remain objective here.  First, I would start with NOT outsourcing CS. I realize this probably saves them a lot of money but it also turns a lot of people (myself included) off.  If the problem you're calling about is a simple one, then you can usaully manage but if it gets the slightest bit complicated, the the ability to communicate breaks down in a NY minute.  That is my biggest complaint but it applies to MANY other businesses I work with.  Secondly, perhaps doing some research into other similar sites and compiling a "Best Practices" list might really help as well.  Third (and probably most importantly), if you want to make major changes, it would ALWAYS be a smart idea to include your customer base in the process.  What do they want/need and expect and how important is each thing to them.  I'm seeing far to many businesses skip this last step entirely thinking they know exactly what the customer wants.  Just listen. They'll tell you.


                                                    Most companies use "focus groups" to give them an idea of what the "market" really wants.  This works a little bit, but can be misleading.  Like anything else that is supposed to be "random," the process of selecting group members sometimes becomes biased, and the results obtained can be misleading. 

                                                     

                                                    One problem with all of this is that two universal laws of marketing are immutable:

                                                     

                                                    1.  No matter what product you make, you will be able to sell at least one.

                                                     

                                                    2.  Some people will buy anything.

                                                     

                                                    What this tells us is that asking people whether they will buy your new gadget is risky.  You could be misled.  Market surveys are no solution, either.  Many people will answer in the affirmative when asked whether they would buy the product at a particular price, but they have a change of heart when it comes time to put up their money and make the purchase.  The bottom line is this:  The only way to learn for sure whether the public will embrace any new product is to build it and find out if consumers buy it. 

                                                     

                                                    You are correct about including the customer base.  This is not, however, as easy as you might think.  Identifying the "customer base" is very difficult.  Barnes and Noble tried to identify a typical NOOK customer, and came up with the "Julie" profile.  That set off a firestorm in this forum, as many posters felt that the profile was way off the mark.  I don't know if it was or wasn't, but you can bet that it was a result of thorough Market Research. 

                                                     

                                                    Apple computer did not include its customer base in its planning and design processes, and the company was enormously successful.  Steve Jobs got lucky.  His own personal opinions about product design (minimalist) happened to coincide with changing consumer tastes at a time when Apple badly needed some successes.  He just got lucky.  He could just as easily have gotten it wrong, and Apple would have been a huge failure.  In spite of all the chatter about how Jobs was a genius and Gates was a geek who couldn't grasp the concepts of design, it is Microsoft Windows, and not any Apple computer product, that is used by the vast majority of the world's computer users. 

                                                     

                                                    I agree that Customer and Technical Support should not be outsourced.  However, you need to ask yourself whether you believe that American consumers would be willing to pay more for their products, and more for that support, in order to guarantee that they would be speaking with a knowledgeable, native English speaker when they called for assistance.  Not whether you, personally, would be willing to pay more, but whether the majority of American consumers would be willing to pay more.  American tech companies have learned that they are not.