RIM saw the ire of it users when it faced nearly three days of downtime for its famous BlackBerry email and BBM services due to a broken switch in Slough, UK. And dealt with it about as badly as a company could, with almost no information at all released to its users. In response, the company has decided to offer its users free apps to say sorry, but there is no refund for the days of lost service.
The main reason people buy BlackBerry’s these days is for communication – email and BBM. It has been the businessman’s phone of choice for years for just that reason – so when those are the services that go down for a few days – making a BlackBerry a “dumbphone” for all intents and purposes – people are not happy. Couple that with a pathetic PR response that took hours and hours before anything was posted to RIM’s blog or even their Twitter – means the disaster is accentuated. BlackBeryy users were furious, and a number have already said they are ditching their CrackBerry for an iPhone 4S.
In order to buy a little goodwill from their still sizeable userbase – RIM are offering BlackBerry users free apps from BlackBeryy App World – namely:
- The Sims 3
- Texas Hold’em Poker 2
- Bubble Bash 2
- Photo Editor Ultimate
- DriveSafe.ly Pro
- iSpeech Translator Pro
- Drive Safe.ly Enterprise
- Nobex Radio Premium
- Shazam Encore
- Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant
…and if you are a business user – they are offering one month of free technical support – so if your phone breaks again, they can take three days to fix it.
Mobile phone networks in some countries such as South Africa are also offering free minutes, texts, or money of a user’s next bill – but the UK networks have so far been silent on any such plans. BlackBerry don;t seem to be offering any monetary compensation themselves at all – just a bunch of old games and apps that I doubt anyone would be buying – almost in a way to promote their app store.
People don’t want junk apps and an apology – they want decent reliable service. We all know that stuff breaks, but it should never take three days to fix. Never. And it should never be hours before you let your customers know what is going on. We live in a world of real-time communication (BlackBerry used to be part of that – although sending a letter to a BlackBerry user would have been quicker last weekend) – companies need to make use of these technologies to keep people informed when things go wrong. If you aren’t doing that – get a new PR firm.
Here’s RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis offering a “heartfelt apology”: