Anger At Root of Staples Easy Button Campaign

Posted: April 20, 2012
Written by: Paul Entin
Category: Business Life

The Staples ad campaign offers an Easy button. Another campaign depicts the frustration of trying to pry a CD from its packaging. I’m not sure it’s that everything has gradually become more difficult. I think it’s that everything we’ve been led to believe is easy to use and would make our lives smoother and easier has failed to do so. We’re all angry about it. But it’s a subconscious form of anger that accumulates in a subtle way from every direction. It’s as if these day to day experiences with nasty customer service, poor product quality and arrogant attitudes can be tolerated individually when each one is isolated as a minor, one-time occurrence.

But over time, we have little choice but to boil over. That’s why I scrapped my DirecWay Internet service and had my home and office wired for cable.

It had only been about a year since I was gleefully praising the DirecWay customer service team and how quickly their installer arrived. They clearly wanted my business. “Take that, Comcast and all your service outages!” I remember thinking. But DirecWay just didn’t work. I don’t mean it just didn’t work out. I mean it failed to operate. The modem died twice during the year and we were stuck with at least a dozen service outages that lasted anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Unacceptable. Snow on the dish. Ice on the dish. Rain water in the dish. Even a hornet’s nest on the dish blocked service. Not once was the tech support team in the overseas call center able to restore my connection. Their best effort was always to request a service call from an area installer who is supposed to call within 3-5 days – “but I should call them back if I haven’t heard from them in that time.” Only once of the eight or nine times did the installer call within the 3-5 days.

I’m still surprised that any company could make the cable company look good. I had one of the first high speed cable connections years ago and though it was fast, it was plagued with outage after outage.

The root of our frustration is that things just don’t work. They’re supposed to work. But they don’t. DirecWay’s ad campaign pushed the speed of the connection but who cares how fast a page could load if there is no connection? My first DVD player worked for a few months. Then it didn’t. An early digital camera worked very well for 10 months. Then it didn’t. My combination scanner/printer/color copier worked very well for about six months. Then it didn’t.  And I had to get a new scanner and printer, which I'd been trying to avoid in the first place.

Product designers are scrambling to pack everything full of bells and whistles to get consumers excited. What they really need to do is focus on the problem their devices are supposed to be solving and solve them. Bells and whistles don’t matter if the sound card doesn’t work.

This process equipment ad effectively taps the same frustration.




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