Something Bose needs to learn (and sadly they wont)
TL;DR - I recently was told by a customer service person that I was only one complaint among hundreds of happy customers - that got me thinking: Why is Bose rapidly losing market share in the headphone market and why has Sony become a "premium" brand over Bose. Did Bose lose its luster, and why?
After my 4th replacement pair of the Limited Edition Eclipse NC700 (5th headset now) and reading the long threads of people with issues with the latest firmware and the long threads with people with crackling problems and other ongoing issues with the NC700 is that, while the posts represent only a small fraction of users compared to the amount they have sold, I realise one thing - we on the community are actually big big big fans of Bose. We love the brand and we want the products to not only work but be the best and to (ultimately) be what Sony and Apple are doing right now: Making the Headphone world excited about sound and NC wireless headsets.
What I see is that while we are the big flag-bearing fans, we have enough energy and wherewithal to come to the forums and not only complain but to inform Bose of what needs to improve, change or fix to make our (very expensive) purchases worthwhile. Some of us are up to our 3rd, 4th, or in one case, 8th replacement pair. But what about poor Miss Smith who doesn't really understand much about headphones and the Bose was recommended to her because it suited her needs by the salesperson or family member - and she is sitting there with crackling or dropouts and accepts this as part of the experience. Or Mr. Jones who gave them as presents to his kid and is none-the-wiser about the experience, and their kid says that the headphones are rubbish. These people will turn around and move on to another brand without making their grievances known. They may just return it and move on, or worse, just live ignorantly with the purchase.
So what does this mean for us as the Bose community on this forum? It means that Bose is choosing not to listen to us, the ones who actually care enough to come to the table and explain the issues. Imagine if we chose not to come, Bose would start losing market share and take the occasional guess that it's because their headset isn't stylish enough, or doesn't have a great app. The real issue is that the die-hard fans here on this forum just want a technology that works that is on paper. We bought the headphones knowing what we were getting - we got something else in return. We KNEW we were buying an app that has fewer features, we KNEW we bought NC that was not "the best" and we KNEW it cost more. What we got was crackling, hardware faults, firmware breaks, app issues, and silence.
And the silence can heard the loudest from their customer service team - lowly paid and understaffed, they type out textbook replies to quell the growing dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, Sony within only one generation leap (from the XM3 to the XM4) has taken over from Bose - Apple has taken the crown in terms of straight-up technology with one release; Plantronics is taking over the low-end market and Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 has won over the mid-market for office users and the innovative use of physical dials.
So what does this all mean? It means that Bose, in its silence and reticence, Bose loses more silent customers for every upset post there is here. When I spoke to customer service, they said that I was only one upset phone call among many happy customers. Yes, that is true, but it does NOT mean that that "happy customer" is going to buy Bose again. Miss Smith might put on her daughter's cheap beats and realise that she made a mistake one day. Mr. Jones will wonder why his kid didn't like the really expensive present and get something else on his next birthday. And for every disgruntled Bose community poster here, we would turn around to our own family and say "Get the Sony XM4 instead" or "Get the Jabras if you need such and such feature." When I told my friends about my experience getting my 5th pair of headphones, three out of my six of them asked "Aren't they supposed to be the best?" and several weeks later, they started asking about my recent purchase of XM4 headphones and are now thinking of getting a pair, all because I explained my experience - that's 6 people that will be avoiding Bose, buying Sony and when they are in the market again, they will remember their Sony experience as being normal to amazing, and remember my experience as being very far below normal.
This is something Bose needs to learn, and after 2 years, they sadly haven't and I doubt they will any time soon.