Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time to trade in the Robot ... if only I could figure out how

When I'm not pondering consumerism, I work in the WWW (Wonderful World of Web) Industry. When you're in the Internet Biz, you subscribe to hundreds of lists. It's just what you do.

One I subscribe to is a list sponsored by Anne Holland, called Which Test Won? It's all about comparing web sites or HTML emails to figure out which is the more compelling message in creating 'conversions' of customers.

A few weeks ago, an A/B test popped up comparing two versions of the iRobot website. As an industry professional, I was supposed to be gaining knowledge about the user perception of a popup modal window (is it good data to be read, or close it as fast as possible because it is a junky ad) but what I took away from this one was, "WOW! You can trade in an old Roomba for a discount on a new one? HOT!"  (Hopefully, trading up to a new iRobot won't have the same dire consequences as trading up a robot in I, Robot, did. Heh.)

The problem with my Roomba is that my son loves it. He has loved it since he could crawl, and as a toddler he still loves it. And as any parent knows, it is never good for any electronic product to be loved by a child. That typically means being loved TO DEATH. If only my son hadn't ripped off the top sensor, at least it would be able to limp back to its station to charge itself, but the poor thing can't even do that.  In short, my Roomba has seen much better days.

So, I went to the iRobot site, looking for info on this grand deal. Nothing. So I linked to the consumer site.Nothing. I linked to parts, service, deals, promotions. Nothing. I could NOT find any mention of this program, and I even knew I was looking for it!

So, I figured I'd contact them. I linked to email customer care. But the form required I put in my serial number of my current one. (i.e., You can't contact their customer care if you are a potential customer; you must already be a customer.) Too much effort.   So I linked to the 'Call us' section: the only hours they are open are the prime hours I am at work. Sigh.

So, if this grand deal still exists, I doubt that many folks are going to take advantage of it. Hopefully, they'll realize this and start to promote it all the time with the same modal popup as they used in their test. Otherwise, I don't see this program succeeding.

I don't suppose anyone out there has successfully done this and has a tale to tell?

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