Posted by: Chris | October 8, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Recent Customer Experience Anecdotes

The Good

My brother’s wedding was this past weekend. Two positive customer experiences came from it. First, because one of my duties was to prepare a CD full of reception music, I was able to try Amazon’s new MP3 download feature. It was nearly flawless. I lost a couple for no apparent reason (but at 89¢  apiece, I wasn’t too worried-it’s a lot cheaper than Apple’s $200 early-adopter fee, which I considered this to be), and it would have been helpful if I could have put all downloads into a bin (you know, shopping-cart-style) rather than having 25 individual downloads that my bank called me about the next day. But overall, I was really impressed by the painlessness of the process (dare I say, it was even easier than the MP3 purchases I’ve made on iTunes). The second “Good” arose from every wedding’s guarantee that one of the groomsmen’s tuxes absolutely has to be wrong. My brother’s wedding was not immune to this guarantee, but after a quick call to the Men’s Wearhouse in Springfield, MO an employee actually drove out to the chapel to deliver the correct vest personally.

The Bad

Before said trip, the family and I stopped off at McDonald’s on the way out. Despite  answering specific questions posed to me by the drive-thru order-taker, the drive-thru order-deliverer failed to, uh, deliver. I’m speaking specifically about the condiments (strawberry jelly, etc.). The result: multiple knocks on the drive-thru window before I got what I had requested and a long line of angry patrons lined up behind me-and some syrup that we didn’t ask for. By the way, when did drive-thrus stop giving people napkins?

The Ugly

Some would say it had to happen: Zecco.com is doing away with free transactions. This change applies to those with less than $2,500 in their Zecco account. I’m not relegating this to The Ugly section because I’m mad that they will start charging me personally for trades (although secretly, I really am); I’m more  indignant about the change from a marketing standpoint. You see, Zecco had cornered the market. They were the only ones who were doing this. They were unique. When people spoke of Zecco, others knew that they were not just some nameless, budget online-trading company. Zecco had an advertising claim that no one else did.  No one else could claim that they had instituted a “complete re-think of the industry and a dedication to a minimalist business model” (taken from “The Zecco Story”). But now, they’re just like any other ScottTrade, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, or any other company who claims to offer cheap (not free) trades and freebies for clients with  more invested. They are now a commodity. Some bitter customers may even lose trust in Zecco altogether, chalking this up to a promotional scheme at best and a bait and switch program at worst. In light of the fact that Zecco’s trading tools are quite rudimentary and are inferior to other commodity, budget, online trading companies’ tools, combined with the fact that they offer very few value-added initiatives (not to mention, the customer service department ain’t great-stories for another time), all which were easily overlooked by clients since they offered free trades, I believe that this will ultimately hurt Zecco. I’m sure that it was challenging for Zecco to keep things free, but the novelty (and the advertising-viewing eyes of Zecco’s loyal) may have been worth it.

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Responses

  1. Zecco has many places they can trim their excess. They send out a postage confirmation of every trade, at $.34 a letter. Multiply this by 40 possible trades, and alot of customers (some who have no balance) and you are talking about quite a bit of excess. Instead of trimming this waste, zecco chose to betray its loyal customer base decided instead to jack up rates for services that havent been delivered, and according to some sources, wont be delivered until well after end of year due to delays.

    That being said, what hurt zecco most is they advertised their offer as “not an introductory offer” to lure users in. Ever after this “offer change”, zecco is now still advertising on google as “10 free trades with $2500 balance. not an introductory offer”. They have shown they have no concept of what introductory offer is, or perhaps its just part of the overall shady marketing.

  2. Hey, I just wanted to try out their website now I have some money in limbo and they are doing everything possible not to help me. They make interest off money by forcing it into limbo or tying it up in sneaky little ways. More about it here:
    http://theitguysblog.com/2007/10/16/zecco-trading-word-to-the-wise-stay-away/


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