DesignInnovationInteractionLeadershipMarketingProduct ManagementSaeed

How to LOSE customers!

One final installment in the APC UPS saga.

Read these two posts if you want to get caught up.

In short, Bad Design on a UPS describes a problem with my UPS. There is a prominent power button on the front of the device that my 2 year-old son likes to depress. Depressing that button INSTANTLY turns off power to the UPS and thus all device connected to it. Not a good thing.

A reader of this blog posted a link to that post on the APC discussion forums.

How NOT to talk to customers looks at the initial response given by an APC forum admin named Kevin. Kevin’s response ignored the core issue of the UPS becoming a single point of failure and relied on faulty logic, irrelevant examples and odd solutions — duct tape! — to address the problem.

A link in the same APC forum was posted by a reader to my How NOT to talk to customers post, suggesting a response was needed.

Kevin responded with the following:

My responsibility is as a forum admin on this board. Therefore, no further comments will be made based off of what was replied to in the other forum.

I suggest he take it up with other UPS manufacturers as well, who’re going to tell him almost the exact same thing.

[NOTE: Kevin has since edited his response on the APC forum with a much more contrite statement and passing the word up to an APC PM. Here’s a screenshot of the original comment. See the PM’s comment here]

I agree with the first sentence. His job is to focus on the discussion board, so I don’t blame him for not wanting to reply to my blog post. Doing that for every similar post on the Web could be an incredible time sink.

But the second sentence is amazing. I will absolutely take this up with other UPS manufacturers. I doubt they’ll tell me to address the problem using “duct tape”. I doubt they’ll insult my child as Kevin did. I doubt they’ll use faulty logic and irrelevant examples.

Thanks for the advice Kevin. Tell your bosses you’ve not only lost a customer, but also that hundreds of people now know why.


P.S. Please vote for us on the ComputerWeekly IT Blog awards.

  1. Arun Kottolli

    Excellent write-up. There are tons of products that are badly designed. Often times the products are designed and built without thinking of various customer use cases. The worst offenders are technology products – these are often designed from engineers point of view & rarely from the users point of view.

    Arun Kottolli

  2. Peter

    There are choices in the UPS market and I’d be surprised if APC or their competition would support Kevin’s position.

    Keep us informed, and good luck sir.

  3. Scott Sehlhorst

    Great series on the importance of managing interactions with your customers. I pulled from your posts and some others to wrap things up into an article about engaging your current customers (linked to my name). Would love to hear any other ‘generalized’ learning or themes you see coming out of your unfortunate chain of events.

  4. KG2V

    amazing – I happen to be in the market for a UPS. You can guess where APC just went on my “vendor list” – hahahahaha

    If I can’t get a UPS that either warns, or has a built in Molly Guard, I’ll make one (I have a machine shop_ – Humm – Now there is a marketing opportunity, Molly Guards for APC UPSes… A small piece of thin acrylic (or polycarbonate) plastic, a hinge, and some double sided tape – if the hinge is spring loaded, we don’t even need a catch, but we can put a magnetic catch on the side opposite the hinge….

    (anyone can have the idea – free)

  5. Alex

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *