The reason? Everybody focuses on the product, and ignores the service experience.
Which is absolutely spot-on.
The challenge for technology journalists is that, while it's relatively easy to use a product and evaluate how well it performs, it's much harder to review the company's service levels and response to customer problems.
But for a consumer, if the product develops an issue, then service is pretty much the only thing that matters.
For a journalist, though, relatively few products are obliging enough to break within the review period. Reporters work on deadline, after all. And even if something does break, many professional reviewers are well-known to the industry and get a special level of service most real customers could only dream of.
But maybe there's a few baby steps reviewers can take towards remedying this problem. For example, as part of a product review why not try evaluating some of these service-related factors:
- How easy is it to find documentation and basic product information on the company's website?
- How easy is it to call the company's technical support number and reach a human being?
- Are there indirect support channels like online forums? If so, how easy are they to use and how good is the information found there?
- What is the company's repair or return policy?
I have personal experience with some products where they received glowing media reviews while at the same time customers were complaining loudly online about poor quality and lousy support. Had some of those reviewers spent even a few minutes looking into the reliability and customer support, the reviews would have come out very differently.
So it's long past time for product reviewers to start paying attention to customer service.