Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. - (Mark Twain and me)

Friday, March 27, 2009


How companies (normally) screw their customers

1. Insurance companies:
Method adopted: Give customers a false sense of security and if they come back on a claim, overwhelm with time/effort needed on their side by asking for more evidence or try to make simple policies sound complicated and hope they give up.

Personal exp.:
I have been going back and forth with my health insurance and hospital care on a claim(for a cough, which they conveniently said "you can use whatever syrup you would normally take and oh btw, please pay us 950$ for the 2 minutes of consultation with me" ) for over 5 months and my car insurance company for 1.5 months to get a simple answer("Will this be covered by the other insurance company or do I have to get it done myself". Is that so difficult to answer?)

2. Most online subscriptions:
Method adopted: Make the subscription recurring automatically and make that info almost unknown by auto-selecting etc. Make the unsubscribe, not through a website but intervene a human. Eg: Call a toll-free number or email support etc inorder to cancel something.

Personal exp.:
I was naive enough to enroll in a credit protection agency which while signing up for a new credit card, they automatically decided thats right for me. They charge only 3$ or so p.m, and I have to call and wait on the toll free for 30min in order to cancel it. Finally I did it after almost a year. The small amount works good for them, as customer wouldn't mind to cancel it immediately. When I asked few ppl about vonage - "Don't even get me started on thier cancellation policy" was all of thier reply.

3. Claiming rebates/discounts etc:
Method adopted: Similar to #2, basic idea is to capitalize on customers' laziness. Good sales tactic to make seem the price lower.

Personal experience:
Not only did I not mail lots of rebates,but I did submit a rebate for my camera with everything perfect, haven't got any rebate. Of course, if I spend some insane amount of time in follow up, I can get it, but is it worth it? To most people not, either the amount is not that big or mostly they are just lazy.

To all companies:
Please don't say "We value your customers more than anything, they are our first priority" or crap like that which don't mean anything to us anyway, when the way you treat them seems like your motto should be "We screw our customers and we really enjoy doing it".
In addition to providing a quality product so we cant stop bitching about you(apple),make it easiest to return (amazon/costco) or easiest to unsubscribe membership(netflix) or better yet tell me whats good for me like suggesting competitors(zappos), then you have me for life(well, atleast few more sales directly or indirectly). This may seem like losing out on your business but ironically does the opposite(I dont know why; maybe its consumer's psychology or loyalty or their love to occasionally hear a tiny amount of transparent truth from a gigantic corporation ). Not only that - we tell our friends and blog about you. Thanks for listening to my rambling which you are clueless about anyway.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


one ceo i admire

Jeff Bezos. (ofcourse second to Craig Newmark).

This should have not really been a blog post.
Anyway like any reader would ask "Why?" - reasons are simple, not just the way they run the companies, but thier attitude towards thier employees mostly and also customers and personal views in general. Ofcourse I know these only from reading blogs and listening to thier interview over a period of long time.
I would write a big blog on this, when I feel like it sometime later :)
It has got nothing to do with my love of Amazon or Craigslist as products although I wouldn't discount a small bias :)

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Brand advertising

i was trying to recollect the brand name of the consumer(household/food) products i use on a regular basis and many of them daily. in 30s, hardly i cud remember beyond berkely farms and after a min - tide and tropicana.
all the other brands i remembered were already that i knew before i was in US.
for eg, still i dont know the brand names of things which i use almost daily like salt,egg,bread,oil,ketchup,noodles etc

though i have to personally visit the grocery store and pick the items one by one myself, i dont even recollect the name of any of the brands. i just recognize them by cover of the box or can or watever. in fact, i wud be easily tricked by an immitating low quality brand.

in india, though i was mere carrier of grocery items, in the sense i never had to pick any items, my mom wud just gimme a list and i wudnt even be in the store to pick up, until everything was put in the bag and the bill was ready. inspite of that i remembered and still remember most of the brands for many consumer items which i havent used or even heard abt once in the last 6yrs.

the reason being that i wasnt slapped with that much ads due to my zero TV watching and unconsciously ignoring ads on webpages. so much the TV advertising is effective on brand recognition.
inspite of television ads being so untargeted and stuff moving online, i still think for brand recognition nothing works better than TV ads(atleast for me). maybe due to the fact of watching video ads are obviously better for memory esp if some of them funny/catchy etc and if not by accident, who clicks on ads on webpages anyway?.


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