Facebook and my Rules of Customer Experience


Recently Facebook made changes which were a sort of reverse logic of the above when they introduced their OpenGraph API. Exactly a year ago I defined my rules of customer experience, with regards to changes to services. They were;

  • Rule 1. A Customer is anyone who gains value out of using your service, free or otherwise
  • Rule 2. Never do anything to reduce or impact the value the Customer gains from your service without first engaging or advising of the change and why it needs to happen
  • Rule 3. If you are going to break Rule 2, attempt to come up with an Alternative method of delivering the value to the Customer.

They were inspired by Twitter changing the method of showing @ replies on their service.

I indicated that Twitter Broke Rule 2 without providing Rule 3.

Here is what these rules look like in regards to the Facebook changes;

  • Rule 1. A Customer is anyone who gains value out of using your service, free or otherwise
  • Rule 2. Never do anything to increase or impact the value you gain from the Customer gains from using your service without first clearly identifying engaging or advising of the change and why it needs to happen
  • Rule 3. If you are going to break Rule 2, make it simple for the customer to opt-out of the changes or the service before you release the changes.attempt to come up with an Alternative method of delivering the value to the Customer.

On one level it is hard to say that Facebook broke Rule 2, except in spirit. They did flag the changes after all. But it was so under the radar that it likely wasn’t immediately clear to anyone but the most inquisitive person what the changes really meant.

Various people don’t think the changes are a problem, and on one level I agree. Change is a beautiful thing, and we should embrace it, as I’ve previously written.

This change at first glance is apparently a positive for the customer experience and not in breach of rule 2. On closer inspection it so tied up with trusting a service which has done little to generate trust with its customers, that it is difficult to see it as anything as severe breach of Rule 2.

Breaking Rule 3, by neither simplifying options customers have to manage the service nor supporting a true ‘deletion’ of the customers account shows Facebook’s gross disregard for their customers. They appear to be cleverly preying on the lack of interest most users of any service have in reading Terms of Service. Especially complicated an legalese Terms of Service, associated with mind-boggling Account Controls.

Perhaps rather than editing the existing rules, I need to define some new Rules to cover both the recent Facebook experience;

  • Rule 1: A customer is anyone who gains value out of using your service, free or otherwise
  • Rule 2: It is expected by the customer that you will make money from the customers use of the service, but clearly advise them how that money is made.
  • Rule 3: If by changing your service so that the customer feels you are in breach of Rule 1 or Rule 2 you will make it simple for the customer to permanently exit your service without penalty to them.

Terms and Conditions should be a mutual obligation. To often they are presented to customers in a form which penalises them, but not you.

If you develop and sell products, do you test each of your Terms and Conditions for mutual obligation?

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2 thoughts on “Facebook and my Rules of Customer Experience

  1. Pingback: All your Facebook’s belong to us | Making Hay

  2. Pingback: A More Honest Path | Making Hay

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