Friday 13 December, 2013
The results are in. For the second year in a row, readers of online magazine Consumerist voted video game company Electronic Arts the worst company in America. The magazine gave EA its excrement-shaped Golden Poo award and named it the Worst Company in America.
Consumerist is an online consumer advocate magazine that often sardonically explores topics like the pink stuff that become chicken nuggets or atrocities committed by airlines. It calls companies out on their lousy customer service. Every year it asks its readers to vote on the worst company in America.
Electronic Arts is a video game company that Consumerist accuses of ‘treating its customers like human piggy banks.’ It accuses the company of knowingly selling games that don’t work or are incomplete so that customers have to pay to upgrade to what should have been there in the first place.
The magazine reports that readers began voting on EA as soon as it was nominated. In the end, it got 78% of the vote, which is more than even corporate villains Bank of America, Ticketmaster and Comcast.
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson called it a wake-up call and vowed to improve the company, while also making a subtle jab at Consumerist, saying of the data, ‘whether you respect the source or not.’
What were the crimes that earned the company the award? They include:
Selling Lousy Products. According to Consumerist, the company released games it knew stunk. Readers who responded to the poll complained about games whose development was rushed so that the company could cash in (although admittedly there are some that are quite popular). The company committed the sin of not giving people what they want.
Lack of Support. The company is accused of neglecting customers who bought its games. The most famous disaster was SimCity. According to gamers, there was an astounding amount of things wrong with the game and the company did too little too late to fix them.
Greed. EA is accused of gouging its customers by overcharging for games (although it should be said that this isn’t uncommon in the video game industry). In addition to the high price tags, the company’s games are full of advertising and all kinds of ploys to get customers to buy more.
Snarkiness. Although not mentioned by Consumerist readers, the company’s response to feedback from its customers was sarcastic and snarky. There was the jab at Consumerist and by proxy its readers, as mentioned earlier. There was an even more sarcastic statement released last year when the company first won the award which basically said we’re just a game company, so who cares.
The takeaways are:
* Offer great products
* Offer great support, especially when things are wrong with your products
* Give value at a fair price and go easy on the upsell
* Respond to customer feedback respectfully and try not to win the Worst Company in America Award twice in a row.