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Spotify: When customer service crashes

Customer service, especially a perceived lack of it, can impact a company’s reputation—and profitability—in no time flat. In part, this is why customer service really is a company’s “everything” at this point in time. Marketing campaigns unsupported by stable or stellar customer service are proving a waste of time and money—as consumers see through marketing promises that don’t seem to match up to customer service performance. Great customer service is a company’s best marketing. When customer service goes south, so do company reputations, reviews, stock prices, employee satisfaction, and revenues.

Given its timeliness, let’s talk Spotify—and what happens when customer service runs headlong into political and other imbroglios. In this case, Spotify, a Swedish audio streaming and media services provider, ended up in the middle of a dispute between singer Neil Young and podcaster Joe Rogan.

So far, there has been considerable public disagreement with Spotify’s policy that supports Rogan’s right to air controversial commentary about the Covid vaccine. There’s also been Spotify employee discontent, blistering social media reports, and falling stock prices. In the eyes of many, Spotify customer service has faltered because of its position.

The controversy is showing up elsewhere. Notes komonews.com, “Public pressure mounts against Spotify over Joe Rogan controversy…Public health officials are weighing in on the controversy surrounding podcaster Joe Rogan, adding pressure to Spotify over its decision not to remove Rogan from the platform…Musician Neil Young wrote an open letter, which has since been deleted, saying people could die as a result of Spotify spreading false information related to COVID-19 through Rogan’s podcast, according to Rolling Stone.”

Adding more fuel to the reputation-harming wildfire, washingtonpost.com cites other big-name artists showing discontent on other matters: “Other big-name artists have also feuded with Spotify — Taylor Swift pulled her music from the platform until it met her demands — but none seemed to spark widespread change. That leaves Teodros wondering if Young’s protest is ‘going to be a moment where public perception of public streaming platforms are forever altered, or is it just a blip?’…Young has received an outpouring of support from across the political and social spectrum…”

According to theverge.com, “Spotify employees are vocally upset inside the company over the streaming platform’s deal with Joe Rogan due to his views on COVID vaccines, but their executive leadership has mostly stayed quiet both inside and outside the firm.”

Then, there are stock price consequences, some no doubt due in part to the Young-Rogan controversy. Nasdaq.com reported at the end of last week that Spotify shares had dropped about 12% from the previous week. Digitalmusicnews.com adds that the stock has lost nearly 25% of its value in the New Year.

Customer service is the 800-pound gorilla that will carry or crush companies in the coming years.

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