Product Development June 30, 2020

Super gigantic fail - what could have been a pivotal moment for SongBox & lessons to be learned

Mick @Primer

I'll be as brief as I can.

The Incident

Last night I got a stripe notification telling me someone had signed up to SongBox on a paid plan. Happily this notification is becoming more common so I put the phone away and finished what I was doing.

About an hour later I set about to email this new customer. I email every new customer personally to introduce myself and ask them a few questions about how I can help them etc.

I had a lingering feeling I recognised the name, but I let it go.

Plot Twist

I was downstairs making a sandwich and I can't shake the fact that I know the name. It's not a common name either so I thought.... to google we go.

The person (or at least a person with the same name) is a TOP TIER songwriter from Nashville. 150 million album sales under his belt, over 20 number 1 country music singles and scores upon scores of top 40 hit singles.

This guy is music industry A-list.

As well as just being a songwriter and producer he also sits on the board of directors, and in one case as President of a major music industry body.

And he's signed up for SongBox - and on a paid plan too... And I've just emailed him with some shit chat.

The Final Act

He replies to my email. I quote:

I don't have time to read your email or answer your questions. I'm too frustrated trying to share the link. What does "copied to clipboard" mean. Why can't you just give me a link that I can copy and paste into an email??

The link won't copy by normal drag across and control click.

Me:

Obviously I jumped on this, replied with my customer service head turned up to 11. I also commented that the music industry body that he is President of, I used to be a member myself and told him a bit about my background.

As well as that I went into the database and put his link into the email so that he could copy and paste it "the old fashioned way".

The Outcome

We exchanged a few emails that devolved into pleasant chat. He got his link and that made him happy. However I still feel sick to the pit of my stomach that someone like this had a bad first experience. SO annoyed!

Lessons Learned

These lessons are for me btw but take from them what you will

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

I dunno how many times I tell myself this and as a rule I'm good at sticking to it but it never occurred to me to just put a link on the screen and let people copy and paste it themselves. No - I had to be clever and make a button that you click and it copies the link for you. This clearly was confusing for this gentleman who is by his own admission not tech savvy.

2. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE HOW IMPORTANT THE ABOVE POINT IS

Who would have thought that someone might not know what "coped to clipboard" meant? I certainly wouldn't have thought it would be an issue. But it was, and it left one the best possible signups I could dream of, frustrated and pissed off.

3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR USERS

This is something I do religiously anyway, but thank god I saw that notification last night and chose to email straight away. Sometimes I wait a day or two.

As it stands I may have saved this from becoming a catastrophe as he seems to be using the product (checked the DB) but it could have been much worse.

Also - I immediately rolled out a text based copy and paste-able link to that same page so that people have the option.

On The Bright Side

A key user found the site, consumed the landing page, signed up, and paid money. So I'm focussing on that... well trying to. I still feel sick at how frustrated he was.

Cheers

Edited to add

Seems like a lot of positivity in the comments. I still can't help but feel it was a total disaster of a situation to have happened, but the replies here have helped alleviate that somewhat. Thanks.

  1. 3

    Wow - what a great lesson learned! And kudos on the customer experience support!

    It's easy for us IH to "simplify" to the point where we forget that what's actually easiest for many users is to follow their muscle memory patterns.

    1. 2

      Yeah exactly. I thought adding a button to copy the link was simplifying the process. But actually the opposite was true.

  2. 2

    Great save, I can only hope to be as quick on my feet as you are. Customer service and rolling out an update. Did you find out how he heard about your website?

    1. 1

      No that was one of the questions I asked in the first email. The one that he replied to full of rage lol!

  3. 2

    Huge news! I imagine this likely worked in your favor since you were able to hold the guy's attention longer and control the direction of the conversation a bit. It's good to see SongBox getting the attention it deserves!

    1. 1

      Thanks so much.

  4. 1

    Good recovery!
    Hi Mick, I am Reuben from Berlocks.
    I understand the feeling you had to go through seeing a reply from him.
    I have a few questions:

    1. What changes have you brought in for next time to understand who the user is?
    2. Have you considered a detailed public profile page of any user who might want to update it so you may have a look at it before writing to them?
    3. I like the way you personally respond to every new customer to be of good help. Do you keep your response unique to every user or do you have a text that you copy and paste?
    1. 1

      Thanks

      1. None, all I can do is check their name and email. I wouldn't like to build software that profiles people. Sounds creepy.
      2. Yeah I have and it's something I'm still considering. The USP os SongBox is that it's about private sharing. I'm not sure public profiles are something my users would value - although I will need to validate that assumption.
      3. No I 100% don't use copied and pasted text. I believe in emailing people as a human being and treating them as such. If they've taken the time to sign up and pay money then I can take the time to write a proper email.
      1. 1

        Probably, if your users do not value public profiles, you should probably ask them to share links of their public profiles. What I mean to say here, ask your customers to link their twitter or Facebook accounts. This will help you understand their identity better. Again, this entirely depends on how the customers would want to handle their privacy.
        Thanks for your response once again. We are from Berlocks.com and we assist founders to have 1:1 calls to improve on their products.

  5. 1

    Congratulations on the sign up Mick, you reacted to the situation well and it appears to have paid off. Now your great product as well as the swift customer service should be 2 factors that this guy should be shouting about if he is to endorse SongBox

    1. 1

      Thanks. I wish I shared in on all of you guys' positive outlook lol

  6. 1

    I don't see it as a fail. You've just used the opportunity to improve your product. The thing that it came from a big name shouldn't make you thinking like "how stupid I am" any more if it came from random internet user.

    We often see things that could speed up our productivity (such as copy to clipboard), but the reality is that 99% of people don't use this. I even know some developers who are avoiding same feature in Google products (you have that copy to clipboard feature). They are always trying to manually select the full link from the beginning till the end. But it is what it is.

    Maybe I didn't get it, have you lost this customer because of this? If not - then it's a success, not fail.

  7. 1

    Holy crap, I'm so glad this story had a good outcome. Thank god!

    I felt similar good feelings when Yale University signed up for a paid plan for Zlappo.

    Hope you get to snag more big names real soon.

    Imagine if Kanye West or Katy Perry uses Songbox.

    1. 2

      Haha yeah I hear you. The funny thing is this guy is more successful than Kanye and Katy Perry combined (in terms of album sales / chart success).

      1. 1

        Jesus, who did you sign up, Paul McCartney? 😂

        Edit: I'm going with Garth Brooks.

        1. 1

          Haha no he's not a known name but he's a songwriter, and he's written number 1 hits for literally dozens of the biggest names in country music.

          Now incase you don't know, when a song is a big hit, its the songwriter who gets the biggest reward financially. The artist gets the fame and a bit of money - the songwriter gets no fame but almost all of the money.

          As I said in the post, this guy has over 150million album sales under his belt, which is just ludicrous - but not THAT uncommon for these really prolific and successful songwriters.

  8. 1

    Great job on defusing his frustration and turning it into a conversation!

  9. 1

    Reminds me of the time my wife was watching some Taylor Swift documentary and the stage manager was telling the singer how her stage is as big as a 747.

    She looked confused, and asked, "What's a 747????"

    I happened to walk by the TV and overheard the dialogue. Of course she doesn't know - she flies private! 🤦

    Anyway, when you said the guy didn't know what "copy to clipboard" meant, it reminded me of that.

  10. 1

    Old school people... I am glad that it turned to be a pleasant chat tho

    1. 1

      Yeah but the negative part of my brain is telling me he was just being polite towards the end.

      1. 2

        either way, he wasn't polite in the beginning so he must have seen a reason to be polite towards the end and that could be your awesome communication skills :)

        1. 1

          Ok I'm going to choose to go with you on that one lol

          🙏

  11. 1

    Awesome job. That's top notch service that saved you a customer and made a valuable contact.

    I think these kinds of things are inevitable. No one understands our products like us, throw user skill level into the mix and get another level of complexity to deal with.

    1. 1

      Yeah exactly. I mean who doesn't know what "coped to clipboard" means?

      I'll tell you who.... that guy!

  12. 1

    Great turnaround and great lessons!

    1. 1

      Thanks.

  13. 1

    Phew, I feel for you!

    The number of people who sit in front of a computer all day long and don’t know how to use it is a lot lot higher than we think.

    I had to to teach my wife (she’s in her 30s) about ctrl c ctrl v

    :S

    1. 2

      LOL - yeah I get it! I still don't know what he was meaning with the "control drag click" thing?

  14. 1

    That's amazing, glad you could turn it into a positive conversation!

    Later on, you could ask him how he found out about your product. That would be an interesting acquisition channel to know about, and perhaps even a possible method to attract more similar profiles.

    1. 1

      Yeah I'm gonna revisit my original questions in a few days. Let the dust settle a bit.

      Thanks.

  15. 1

    @Primer - great stuff that you were on top of it. All is well that ends well... 👍

    1. 1

      Thanks! We'll see if it ends well.

      If he immediately loved the platform then he's the kinda person that single handedly could drive thousands of signups. But his first impression was bad - and that is killing my soul. Over something as simple as copying a link too!

  16. 1

    Congrats on recovering it! It sounds like, based on this, that your email creation process is a manual one but the outcome is that it essential seems like an automated email.

    Are you considering either (and they're at the totally opposite end of the spectrum):
    A. Personalising those emails more, to avoid such a reaction?
    Or B. Automating those emails, so there's no risk of waiting 3 days?

    1. 1

      Hi - actually I do have an automated email onboarding flow that's automated via Mailchimp. However I just like to personally email everyone who signs up for a paid account on top of that.

  17. 1

    @Primer - I'm glad things ended up working out! My heart dropped for a moment 🙀.

    1. 1

      My heart is still recovering!

  18. 1

    This is brilliant, great work! My mother-in-law doesn't know how to copy and paste so your solution would have worked for her. Unfortunately she's about as far from a top-tier musician as a person can be.

    1. 1

      Haha well she's still welcome to sign up!

  19. 1

    Overall I'd say that was a result. I wouldn't give yourself such a hard time over it. You acted quickly, engaged directly, actioned the feedback quickly.

    1. 1

      Thanks. When you put it like that it sounds good but I am still kicking myself over the situation.