Friday, 5 October 2012

I get e-mail

... from the company formerly known as Yell:
I am writing to inform you about an exciting change to our Group company name from Yell Group plc to hibu plc.

Our new global company name and brand reflects the transformation of our business and ongoing development of a range of new digital services that will help businesses succeed in the online world. 
Which would be accurate enough, if you stretched the definition of 'exciting' to include the sort of terrifying, but brief, adrenaline spike that would accompany a rope-less bungee jump, and the 'transformation' you had in mind was into a lifeless splatter on the concrete.

The death spiral of a formerly thriving company is nothing to celebrate - the last thing we need is yet another headline about hard times, failure and lost jobs - but I won't be shedding that many tears for Yell, either. As a former Yellow Pages customer, I found that my advert in their dead tree publication was too expensive and generated practically no business for me (which wasn't necessarily their fault - I should have realised, as someone with a business to business service, that nearly all businesses will google for what they need and it's generally just householders who've grown up with directories who still grab something from the bookshelf rather than going on line).

What did annoy me, though, was their refusal to take no for an answer, once I'd realised that having a Yellow Pages ad wasn't working for me. I know that you've got to have persistence and a thick skin to work in sales, but ending my relationship with the keepers of The Incredible Shrinking Directory showed me what it must be like to be stalked by an unsuitable but obsessive ex ('no, we are not having a 'moment' - you just need to stop calling me, accept that I'm cancelling my account and realise that it's over').

High-pressure sales techniques aside, I get the impression that many customers aren't finding Yell's on line offer any better value than their paper one (at least according to one Adam Bradford, although, as he's in direct competition with Yell for clients, there might be an element of 'he would say that, wouldn't he').

Whether Adam's right or wrong, there's a feeling of desperation about Yell. I don't think trying to excite former customers with the news that Yell's now a subsidiary brand of something that sounds like a Pokémon will be enough to turn that around.


Adam Bradford said...

Thanks for the link. I got the email too. I agree, it will take a lot more than a Pokémon name.

Believe it or not, this week I am working on yet another ex-Yell customer's website.