These days it is hard to get good service from businesses we encounter as we go about in our daily lives.
This has inspired us to analyse each unique situation and share our weekly learnings so your business can benefit from these case studies or perhaps find out what you can do next if you happen to be working for a "toxic company" or know someone who is.
Article updated: 22 August 2018
Week 1: Yahoo
This week we look at Yahoo.
I encountered an issue with changing my profile picture in my Yahoo Mail account and found out that there was no formal or structured customer service support - hotline or e-mail address to contact Yahoo directly.
After a quick search, the only option was to write in to a Yahoo forum and hope another user would respond to the problem.
Worse still, I also learnt that many people have been experiencing the same issue for years yet nothing had been done about it.
Clearly, Yahoo developers have overlooked some of the basic functionalities of an online service - changing a customer's profile picture.
This also shows that the management and staff at Yahoo probably do not use the same form of Yahoo Mail at work at thus do not experience such problems that the users face.
Determined to solve my issue, I tweeted to @YahooCare who ignored my message.
One week later, I sent @YahooCare a direct-message on Twitter and they responded saying someone would be in touch with me again.
A week later, no one had got back to me so I messaged @YahooCare again and they got someone to write back with generic instructions.
I replied to their e-mail with all the information they needed and this time, more than a week passed in silence. I e-mailed Yahoo concierge again - unresponsiveness and inability to solve a fundamental feature is apparently their highest level of support.
Yahoo replied and said their engineers were looking into it - indefinitely. In 2016, Yahoo engineers had been working on the same issue - changing an account's profile picture.
Perhaps Yahoo's original engineers had left the organisation years ago and the current employees were pretty much hopeless in solving even the simplest issues.
Zero response and support for customers just gives nobody an incentive to retain their mail account or search/ use any business of Yahoo.
Brief History of Yahoo Mail
Yahoo Mail was launched in 2007 shortly after the acquisition of Rocketmail, one of the first free major web mail services.
Yahoo chose acquisition over internal development at the moment as their biggest competitor of that time Microsoft's Hotmail was growing at a rapid pace every week and speed was crucial to the success of the launch at that time. It would have taken several months to develop internally and by that time they would have lost quite a sizeable chunk of the market share.
Good product, poor management
The Yahoo mail brand name is tainted. Although it has arguably one of the best e-mail user interfaces and design in the market, beating Gmail and Outlook hands down, it's service is deplorable.
Not to mention countless mail service failures in 2016, data breaches which left 1.5 billion user accounts in the hands of hackers during 2013 and 2014 and the complete lack of customer support - failing to follow up at all times.
Yahoo mail offers a Pro service for their app at USD$0.99 a month or USD$9.99 a year, yet they are incapable of a simple mobile app function - allow a user to change their profile picture, for their once highly revered mail system.
Without basic customer support and the failure to address even simple user interface issues, Yahoo is choosing to desert its sizaable 225 million ( February 2017, TechCrunch) monthly active users.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In February, Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo's core business — which includes its internet search and email assets — for $4.48 billion.
Yahoo still lags behind digital advertising behemoths Google and Facebook, despite their increasing focus on mobile, social and video.
"The once-iconic tech company with over 1 billion total monthly users had only held 1.5 percent of the worldwide digital advertising market last year, according to eMarketer estimates." - CNBC
Despite falling headcounts, office closures and discontinuation of hundreds of products and features over the years, Yahoo's mobile revenue will naturally continue to grow, although much slower than their biggest competitors.
Scrolling through the countless negative feedback that remain largely ignored on the Google Play store, we find that the main reason why users are still hanging on to their mail accounts is because they have been using it for a long time - decade(s) and because it's a free service.
At this rate, Yahoo may lose new users who would turn to their competitors due to poor customer support. As a non-convert of Yahoo mail, one would be less likely to use other Yahoo products and services, especially if they are living outside America.
This would mean slow international market expansion for Yahoo while Google, Facebook and other mail and media competitors swoop in.
Latest update: 22 August 2017
Since early June when I got in touch with Yahoo, it had been relentless e-mailing back and forth. However, today I am happy to inform all that Yahoo concierge has resolved the problem of being unable to change my Yahoo profile picture on 19 August.
I cannot thank Amy from Yahoo concierge customer care team profusely enough for her continuous follow-up with the team of engineers to finally resolve this issue and I hope millions of other fellow Yahoo users would be able to experience glitch-free e-mail and web services from now on.