Microsoft: Customer Experience (finally) wins over an entrapment “strategy”

office365logoorange_webDo you trap your customers?  Do you try to force customers who use one product to use another?  Microsoft certainly has a reputation for entrapment. Get you in and trap you in our system. And it looked like this was going to be another of those stories.

I recently installed Office 365 on my iPad.  I loaded it up, but couldn’t figure out how to access my Dropbox files. I use Dropbox for everything.

So, frustrated, I turned to Google, and found out that this was deliberate.  At this thread, a Microsoft rep says, “I agree that it would be more convenient to also be able to send back to Dropbox from inside Word. We currently have no plans to add full Dropbox integration but may consider it in the future. Give OneDrive a try for the fully integrated cloud storage experience.”

Same old Microsoft. Don’t work with the market place leader – maybe they’ll go away.  Use our system instead. This is the same mentality that got them into so much trouble with bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.  Seems they never learn.

Except they finally did.

It’s easy to get caught up in the proprietary. By trapping customers into our systems, we believe they’ll learn to like our systems, and we’ll come out ahead. But it rarely works.  Instead, we frustrate our customers so much that they end up leaving us altogether.

I was once a LexisNexis customer, managing 25 accounts.  I tried reducing licenses with only 30 days notice, and they wouldn’t let me budge, telling me I needed more notice.  They didn’t want to lose the revenue.  So they won, and kept my revenue for that year. Of course, the next year I canceled ALL of our licenses.  Trapping customers feels like a good strategy, but never works.

It looks like somebody at Microsoft finally learned that lesson. Last week they announced that Office 365 for the iPad now does fully support Dropbox.

That’s good news. Not just for Microsoft’s users, but also for the company. It looks like customer experience is finally being taken seriously. I predict better days for Microsoft if this becomes a trend.

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