What a Microsoft Mistake Can Teach You About Putting Customers First
I’ve lambasted Sony and their Playstation woes already, but now its Microsoft’s turn. Whether intentional or not, there’s something obnoxious and inconvenient about the XBOX 360’s memory!
I was trying to spend a quiet Saturday evening online, killing disgruntled aliens with my good buddy Joe G. We’d planned on playing the supposedly spectacular Halo: Reach cooperative (co-op) campaign for quite a while, and I say supposedly because I didn’t actually get to play it.
Upon entering the co-op mode, Joe and I received the following error:
“One or more players do not have an Xbox 360 Hard Drive. An Xbox 360 Hard Drive is required to play co-op on Xbox LIVE.”
Who didn’t have the hard drive? That would be yours truly. Now, before you say: “well, of course you need to have some memory to play a game, you idiot!”, I should tell you that my base model XBOX came with 4GB of built-in memory, and that I have a 16 GB USB card plugged in to save files to as well. So, although I have 20GB of memory (which was enough to play other games online), neither of these qualifies as a physical hard drive – a fact now made painfully obvious to me. Silly me, I thought memory was memory.
I should also mention that Halo is Microsoft’s flagship title. And there was no warning of this requirement on the game box I purchased. AND, Microsoft said in December that the issue is “temporary” and that they were “working to resolve it.” Well, guess what? They didn’t fix anything. Instead of taking the time to actually fix the issue, they slapped the warning on the box as an afterthought and sold hard drive-less XBOX systems bundled with the damn game.
(That sound you may have just heard was my palm hitting my forehead).
How much does Microsoft charge for a hard drive? ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS. You would have to work really hard to convince me that Microsoft didn’t plan this from the start, or at least find this to be a profitable mistake. Microsoft has a history of nickel-and-diming consumers with the Xbox 360, whether it’s charging $100 to add WiFi capabilities in the early days of the 360, removing HD cables and headsets from being included in the system, charging $15 for a kit to just charge your controller, or increasing the yearly online fee by $10 to $60, I’m tired of Microsoft having their hands in my pockets!
So, with a steely resolve, I decided this: Microsoft will not see a dime from me this time. I still needed and have purchased a hard drive (those aliens aren’t going to kill themselves), but a quick search online reveals many used drives and generic competitors. I chose a generic one ($31 – yeah!), but either way, Microsoft gets nothing from me for their insolence. It’s a small victory for me, but a victory nonetheless.
What could Microsoft have done differently to not draw my ire? I think it goes back to core principles of customer service that any business, big or small, should follow:
Do not mislead your customers. Do not make promises you cannot/ do not intend to keep. And most importantly, do not make the consumer pay for your mistakes!
Notice I never said “do not make mistakes.” Those are unavoidable. How you react to them is what dictates how you will be perceived.
Is there anything else Microsoft should have done to avoid this (profitable) mistake? Do you see any more customer service takeaways from the situation I mentioned?