Friday, April 12, 2013

Idea Gathering: Worst Company in America

Not just hearing but translating innovations and insights is a huge part of the value of the Total Customer Experience Leaders; Our unique idea gathering wrap-ups between sessions facilitate alignment of customer strategy inspirations with business relevant actions and have been one of our most highly rated features in the past

Here on the blog, we'll be presenting weekly idea gathering wrap ups of some of our favorite customer experience strategy, design and alignment news and views.
Consumerist worst companies in America performs an annual ranking of the worstcompany in America with the winner (or really the loser) taking home the “golden poo” award.  Companies are sorted into a March-Madness like bracket where they go head to head with another company. Whichever company receives more votes  advances to the next round, just to clarify: getting votes is a bad thing.

Many names on the list are somewhat predictable: Comcast, Carnival, and Bank of America just to name a few. Others are a little more surprising such as Apple, who was voted worse then Microsoft in the first round.

So who was voted by consumers to be the worst company? For the second year in a row, EA took the crown. EA, the massive video game producer, is known for suffering flop after flop due largely to a business plan that tries to squeeze every penny out of their customers.  EA has a reputation for rushing out incomplete games and then charging their customers for downloadable content that customers feel should’ve been a part of the game in the first place.

Their recent highly anticipated game “Sim City” performed such miserable sales and reviews that it had to be temporarily removed from Amazon and now ranks as one of the worst rated products from the retail giant.  The game performed so poorly because they designed it to be “always on” meaning that the only way to play the game was online.  This move made little sense as none  of the previous Sim City games required this, and in fact there very few games at all require this. Many speculate this move was strictly for DRM or digital rights management and a way for EA to have complete control over the game

However Paul Tassi of Forbes magazines speculates about EA’s ranking saying,  “Is it deserved? No. If we’re being honest, it’s not.” Tassi believes this rating is just a snapshot of “how annoyed the internet is with a certain brand at the moment”.  Tassi could certainly be right, but that doesn’t mean EA or Bank of America, Comcast, and Ticketmaster who rounded out the final four, shouldn’t all take it to heart.

The entire ranking is an example of why customer experience and customer experience management is such a crucial factor to all businesses. Tassi is correct in pointing out that there are certainly worse companies in the world. Some might argue that the environmental damage energy companies create or the borderline inhumane practices at many large food companies are far worse then what EA has ever done. But provide customers with a poor experience and this is the way you are going to be received by consumers, and this is what’s going to happen to your brand.

Jeffrey Marino is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Business Administration, Management Information Systems, and Tech Innovations. He blogs at Fordham Nights and can be reached at

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