When companies lose their way…

How and why do new companies start up? If you answered money you are wrong. Making money is the score card, but its not the reason most entrepreneurs start a company. If it was they would get a job instead of creating jobs for others around them. Entrepreneurs start companies to scratch an itch and beat out competition that they view as weak. How many people want to start a company against competition that they think is doing a fantastic job at a great value? Not very many…

That is why small businesses will ALWAYS have a place against big business. Big business is inherently inefficient and in most cases the entrepreneurial spirit was killed after the 100th employee started. What makes these companies “lose their way”?

They start down the path to nowhere the second they make a decision that impacts the customer experience in a negative manner for financial gain. Its really is as simple as that. Anyone that says differently is an accountant or a moron. So with that being said, here are a list of a few companies that have traded their customer experience for some short term $$$.

1) Comcast – They just announced a “partnership” with several media companies for their DVR (Their Tivo equivalent). One of the requirements was that the commercials couldn’t be skipped/fast forwarded by the consumer. Who wants to have recorded content that can’t fast forward? While I understand the loss of revenue to them the reality is that customers won’t put up with that after tasting what its like to have it. This is a HORRIBLE decision by their management.

2) Microsoft – The have gone completely overboard with their “Windows Genuine Advantage” that tries to make sure you have a legit copy of windows. I don’t dispute their efforts to get rid of piracy but their methods throw the baby out with the bath water. Their draconian measures to implement DRM into EVERYTHING and protect themselves at the expense of the consumer has marked a turning point in Microsofts management. They used to be all about the customer and profit. Now they are simply trying to stave off competition and maintain their stock price. Microsoft will never be what they once were, and based on their recent decisions I can’t say I am disappointed.

3) Google – Yes Google! Their technology is great, but their treatment of customers is truly abhorrent. They REFUSE to protect their customers from fraud in their adsense department because it affects the bottom line, and their phone service is nonexistent or utterly useless. I could excuse this in the early days because of growth and infrastructure problems, but with todays demanding customers the only excuse they have is that is costs them money.

Ask yourself if you are trading your customers experience for a little cash. If you are then shame on you :)

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

7 Responses to “When companies lose their way…”

  1. After my first read I wanted to take you to task regarding the worth of enhancing stockholder value. After a second read I agree with your premise and all three examples. Good post.

  2. Steve Karg says:

    Hello Matt,

    Bluehost: after giving the customer a feel for no limits, putting limits on servers that bring up a “site is busy” instead of the website that the customer expected to see. If Bluehost is going to use Fanstastico scripts, and the customer is going to use the Fantastico scripts provided by Bluehost – perhaps several on their site – then they should be able to do so without the “Bluehost screen of Death” This happened the day of the Boy Scout meeting several times on the conyersbsa.com site. A site that I referred a friend (the Scoutmaster) to use Bluehost and helped him set it up. How frustrating!

    I think the rest of your service is great, and continue to recommend friends and family to Bluehost. Which is another problem: there is no way to have a friend who calls in to subscribe for hosting to use the affiliate program. Sure, I have my affiliate links, but friends and family who ask over the phone or in casual conversation at work. I understand that it is not in your best insterest ($$) to make it easy to use the affiliate program, but loyal customers like me see a problem.

    Please don’t lose your way!

    Best Regards,

    Steve

  3. Mary says:

    I agree with you 10000% concerning your comments about Microsoft and the incredibly bad OS known as Vista and the abominable software named Office 2007.

    You think Microsft is treating its customers badly? They’re treating their small resellers even worse — and have essentailly given that channel over to Best Buy and others.

    They will tout that they somehow put qaulity into their products and test by a process known as “dogfooding”. Let me assure you, this process is only acceptabl;e when your customer is, well, a dog, or you want to treat him like one.

    Going from XP and Office 2003 to Vista/Office 2007 is like having the works of Shakespeare, and then having it swapped for Bill Gates’ comic book collection. None of the menu locations for commands stayed in the same place; menus in Word have become tiled across the top of the screen. I guess Microsoft doesn’t think computer users can function without big, stupid pictures for routine commands.

    The real deal? I think Vista was introduced to increase sales. The licensing/DRM problem is forcing many customers to adopt Vista — even hough they don’t want to — because Microsft is making it as difficult as possible to keep XP. I understand they refuse to support any other products. So, what alternatives do we have?

  4. Sean Johnson says:

    After working for you at bluehost, and actually seeing it in action.

    I still love to stop by here and get random thoughts of pure genius out of you! good job matt!

  5. Michael says:

    Two words: Mac and Linux.

    We are entering a new age, in which it is becoming necessary to know more than just how to use a computer. In the same way as many non-auto mechanics know how to change a tire or jumpstart their cars, the computer consumer will need a basic knowledge of the underpinnings of OSs, and other things, for that matter. This will gradually come about over time.

    It’s already happened with browsers; when Internet Explorer bludgeoned Netscape into oblivion, it held sway for years. Then Firefox was launched, and Opera is gaining speed, and suddenly it’s a new ballgame. Now, it’s easy: do you want to integrate phishing protection and cool extensions that do things like save the whole page as an image, or not? If you do, you use Firefox. If not, Explorer.

    In that case, all the browsers were free. Imagine what this means when comparing operating systems you have to pay for against free ones like the Linux family…

    We’re not quiiiite there yet. But hang in there. The open-source/freeware community has grown a great deal, and it’s no longer just a sideshow for nerds. You can use things like OpenOffice, the GIMP, and AVIDemux professionally, and easily get results equal to MS Office, Photoshop, or Nero Burning—much of the time cross-compatibly (MS Office and OpenOffice are virtually totally compatible and can read each other’s documents).

    It’s a whole new ballgame, Microsoft. Giddy up! You ain’t alone.

  6. Misc... says:

    I am disappointed no one else picked up the Google grip, but instead opted for the easy MS rags.

    Don’t any of you see that at the root, Google’s ethics are as bad as MS. Both are bullies shouting Do as I say, not as I do… now, give me your lunch money!

  7. Mike Price says:

    Is it possible that the Entrepreneur with all that startup passion and belief begins to loose control and fails to inspire more and more as the company becomes larger and larger. You then rely on the middle men to relay the messages of hope and belief. If they fail so will the business.

    Ever heard of Chinese whispers? It’s almost impossible to get the same message out if even relayed over as few as 10 people.

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