Sonos AMA: An Epic Fail in Customer Communication and Software Development

Sonos AMA: An Epic Fail in Customer Communication and Software Development

If there’s one thing Sonos excels at, it’s transforming your living room into a sonic paradise. But recently, the Sonos software team seems more interested in turning their customer base into a collective rage orchestra. The company’s redesigned mobile app, released on May 7th, has hit all the wrong notes, leading to a symphony of complaints. Missing features like sleep timers, broken local music library management, and the inability to edit playlists or the upcoming song queue are just a few highlights of this debacle. Oh, and let’s not forget the cherry on top: accessibility issues. Bravo, Sonos, bravo!

In a statement that reads like a masterclass in corporate doublespeak, Sonos’ chief product officer Maxime Bouvat-Merlin waxes poetic about the “ambitious undertaking” of rebuilding the app from the ground up. According to Bouvat-Merlin, this is all part of Sonos’ commitment to “invention and re-invention,” requiring “courage” to take a few steps back before leaping into the future. Or, as it’s more commonly known, launching a half-baked product and hoping your customers don’t notice the burnt edges.

The new app is supposedly laying the groundwork for “exciting innovations” that are just around the corner. But for now, it’s less functional than a Fisher-Price toy, and customers are understandably livid. Sonos assures us that the missing features will be reintroduced in the “coming months.” Translation: Don’t hold your breath.

But wait, it gets better. In a move that can only be described as pouring gasoline on a dumpster fire, the Sonos team hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on May 14th. This was their golden opportunity to address the concerns of their loyal fanbase and provide some much-needed clarity. Instead, the session quickly turned into a masterclass in non-answers and corporate evasion. Questions were met with vague promises and PR-approved platitudes. It was like watching a politician dodge questions on live TV, only less entertaining and more infuriating.

Here’s a snippet from Sonos’ statement that deserves a dramatic reading:

“Redesigning the Sonos app is an ambitious undertaking that represents just how seriously we are committed to invention and re-invention. It takes courage to rebuild a brand’s core product from the ground up, and to do so knowing it may require taking a few steps back to ultimately leap into the future.”

Ambitious undertaking? More like a misguided adventure into the land of poor planning. And “courage” to take a few steps back? How about the courage to actually test your product before unleashing it on the public?

Sonos assures us they are diligently working to reintroduce the beloved features we’ve lost. But in the meantime, we’re stuck with an app that’s about as functional as a brick. iPhone users are particularly out of luck, as there’s no going back to the prior S2 release. Android users can downgrade if they manage to find a past build of the app, a process that sounds about as fun as assembling IKEA furniture without instructions.

The fiasco has left many wondering: why did Sonos rush this app out the door? The company’s next products are rumored to drop in June. Couldn’t they have used the extra time to polish this ambitious overhaul? Instead, we get a half-finished product and a string of broken promises.

So, what’s next for the Sonos software team? Perhaps a line of bespoke tinfoil hats for their next AMA, where they can pretend to address customer concerns while actually saying nothing of substance. Or maybe they’ll launch a new app called Sonos Symphony, designed to orchestrate your frustration into a beautiful cacophony.

In the end, this whole debacle is a stark reminder that sometimes, even the best intentions can lead to disastrous outcomes. Sonos’ quest for innovation has left them with an app that’s more glitchy than groundbreaking. And their attempt to communicate with their customers has been about as successful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

To the Sonos software team: Here’s a thought. Next time, maybe listen to your customers before you hit the release button. Because right now, the only thing you’re innovating is new ways to disappoint.