It’s all in the details…. The customer experience that is. After a couple of years of getting the email information from audible.com they finally made me an offer that hooked me. If I sign up for their platinum service, I get 24 credits and a free iPod Nano. The iPod alone costs $199 from research on the Apple site. Sounds like a good deal, though I don’t hold out much hope of how much the credits may get me. And the contrast between the two customer experiences, Audible and Apple, could not be more stark. Read on……..
Now I haven’t had a iPod since I sold mine a couple of years ago, preferring to play music on my PC when traveling. It works fine when in an aircraft, but commuting on Bart or car journeys is not viable with the PC (though I do admire the folks who Bart (can’t believe I’ve just made that into a verb – am I finally becoming a real American?) listening to their PCs on Bose headphones). But attempts to use my Treo as an MP3 player have been fraught, non-productive and haven’t got me reducing the number of outstanding podcasts I have in the listening stack.
So I sign up. Now the Audible site is about average in the customer experience – that is generally poor – it assumes all sorts of details that shouldn’t be assumed. But again, pretty much par for the course. How did I know that you can’t download an iPod interface (it’s assumed that you will use iTunes, but as there is a download for every other device, why would I assume anything else? And how do I know if I need the Audible Download manager or the iTunes plugin or both (still haven’t worked that out – I got a way to do it that works and it’ll do). There is more …. I know you want to hear it, but that’ll come below…..
So the package arrives. I open it and the iPod packaging feels smooth and sensuous. The iPod illustration (face at front and profile on the back) are not just printed, they are also embossed. The core slides out and opens to reveal the iPod Nano on the right half and a package of the accessories in a separate enclosures (a bit less packaging still would be good on the components please Apple). It looks, feels and reeks design as part of the whole – not as an afterthought to get the core product from A to B.
I remove the parts and plug the USB cord (with nice plastic end protectors) into the iPod and then into the PC. I did glance at the 4 step instructions, but it wasn’t actually necessary. Everything starts up without any action from me. iTunes (already installed) starts, the registration web page starts up automatically and guides me through registering the device. Now if ONLY the serial number was readable – I had to get a spare pair of glasses to uses as a magnifier and even then it took three goes. How about reading it from the device (I found it on a menu much later), fro me and entering it, Apple? I guess their demographic isn’t 50+ specs wearers……..)
Nothing short of a stunning customer experience….
So search for and download some books while I’m waiting. I have a pleasant experience, I find that the Aubrey and Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian are each 1 credit. So I can get all 20 (yes I know there are 21) and still have 4 credits remaining. That is real value in my book (sorry!), as each is unabridged and constitutes 12-15 hours of Patrick Tull’s stunning readings. I highly recommend them.
Now I have them downloaded (it would have helped to understand the Audio Format icons by each one to ensure that I had the correct version, but clicking on them doesn’t work….). And of course I want them in the order of the series. No way! I can’t rename them it seems and when I do so in iTunes, (being smart enough to create a smart playlist) of course it reads them in again as the titles are different…. and so on………
The short of it is that Apple ‘gets it’ that customer experience – the whole experience – and audible doesn’t. Or if it does, it’s not reflected in their products.
Tags: Customer Experience, Service, WOM