I’ve been combing through my archives and thought I’d like to share this gem of a customer service experience.

Whenever, where ever you can in your business – make it easy for your customer.

This, was just… not.







nd_005757I love to shop online. I really do. I think it’s one of the greatest technological advances of the modern world – the ability to shop for music, books, technology or whatever at 3 am in my underwear. God bless America… or something.

With my new blog / art marketing / podcasting endeavours, I have a growing list of items I need to purchase – a crm system, a/v broadcast software, a better digital camera, digital product cart software… blah, blah… blah.

I’ve actually been excited about purchasing these (often not inexpensive) items. I’m excited to purchase because these items further me towards my business goals and add functionality to my operation = great satisfaction.

I’m excited to purchase things that solve my problems.

This is the sweet spot of any business – people happy to pull out their wallets and pay you hundreds of dollars for whatever magnificence you offer that perfectly solves their pain.

These people will be happy to flutter off into the blogosphere and sing your praises and recommend you to anyone looking for your particular brilliance.

You want to fuck this up and turn a delighted customer into a rageaholic ready to tweet, (and blog) all about your douchbaggery business practices?

Well, now you can.

(based entirely upon my experience with company N over the past week):

7 Steps to Turn Your Best Customer Against You (even when they think your product is uber-awesome)

 

1. When offering a digital download, ensure it is unavailable for download for at least 5 days.

No one chooses the digital download option because they want to wait.

I bought this product at 3 am, Christmas Eve morning so that I could spend part of my holiday time off using the software and being productive. It never occurred to me that a digital download would require a physical body to be in the office to pull the switch. And of course, they were on their own Holiday schedule and didn’t end up back in the office until Thursday.

This should have been automagically delivered. Immediately. Technology fail.

 

2. Make sure the download isn’t the latest version of the software.

After waiting 5 days to download the software and 2 failed attempts to download (4 hours 800mb), I was ecstatic to discover that I didn’t have the most current version of the software. Yay. (also make sure that all the interfaces and instructions refer to the physical CD installation of the product… “Insert CD now”…. “Save the Cd”… really?)

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 3. Under no circumstances should the serial number be compatible with the newest version of the software.

Apparently I should have registered the software before I updated it. Who knew? Not me. The serial number was only compatible with the older version. Registration fail.

 

4. When your customers require support (because your systems are balls), ensure maximum hoop-jumping is required.

Don’t list any direct digital contact information on your home page. After scrolling through your entire product range (and not finding my product listed), choosing the closest item and digging through FAQ pages without answers and being redirected to the same page over and over…. finally accept that reality that:

 

5. Force your customer to create an account to have access to support.

Really? REALLY? Oh fuck you. I had to create a damn account on their website in order to EMAIL them my registration problem. Geezus.

 

6. Hire only snarky 19 year old boys to answer Customer Support calls.

Before I created the account, I thought perhaps talking to a real person would be the quickest way to expedite the situation. NO. After sighing and rolling his eyes and failing to answer my problem, snarky little boy said I would have to call Tech Support – different and separate from Customer Support and also…

 

7. Ask your customers to call long distance, in the middle of the day, to another country, to get a solution to their problem.

Yes. YES. Tech Support is a toll number, in California, with day time business hours. Rage. Hate.

It’s been 3 days and I’ve received no answer as of yet. And as a fun fact – I found that this company has a Twitter account, so I @ them about my experience with their company processes. They’ve not replied. Nor does their feed show any interaction with any customer at anytime.

I’m small and I have a little voice – for now. But I could have sung their praises and recommended their product (because the software is working exactly as I had hoped). Instead – this is the post that I write about them. FAIL.

Take the money and turn your back. That’s a good way to kill your business.
***Edit***
It’s January 6, 2012 and I just today received a reply from Company N issuing me a new product serial number.

Registration successful.

I’m pretty freakin’ glad they got back to me because I opened the software to register and it wouldn’t work – without registration it’s only usable for 4 days.
I don’t know… 13 days from purchase to registration of a digital download isn’t working for me.

As a stark contrast – I just ordered business cards from Moo Cards. They are literally in the mail to me and I opened up their newsletter yesterday morning and bam! 15% off sale. Shitty.
So, I emailed them. Asked them if I could get a 15% discount off my current order, or a discount off a later order.

Guess what?

They emailed me within the hour and gave me a coupon code for 20% off my next purchase. BOOMSTEAD!

Now THAT’S customer service, COMPANY N. (you suck)
 

Discussion (13) ¬

    Kyle says:

    Every one of these problems is a non-issue had you gone for a pirated version of the software, rather than paid for the real thing.

    Software vendors: You will never earn your customer’s business if your product is worse than what can be found on the pirate bay.

    You can’t compete with free by being less convenient, more frustrating AND more expensive.

    I never even considered pirating the software…

    After a quick search, I’m actually relieved that I can’t find it (although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere), for ALL the reasons you listed.

    The whole experience makes me want to punch them in the throat.

    Kyle says:

    I’m not advocating using pirated software; if something is useful, it should be paid for, or a free and legal alternative should be found. (eg: I really want photoshop CS5, but I’m not willing to spend that much, so I can live with GIMP and photoshop 7)

    But there have been times when the paid-for version simply did not work, and support was non-existent. So screw them, they took my money, I’m getting a working version of the product I paid for. I have, after all, purchased a licence to run that software on my machine.

    I totally understand.

    I’m happy the software is working – is doing exactly what it said it would. *relief* …I just know I’m going to run into problems if I don’t get this thing ‘registered’.

    Kyle says:

    I hope it keeps on working. unexpected de-activations are incredibly frustrating. Best of luck to you!

    …unexpected deactivations… ???

    What? That’s a thing!?!
    Shit.

    Jamie569 says:

    Of course, I always try to buy licenses and pay for what I use, but it there is not always a clear demarcation. 16 years ago, I wanted to buy and install Windows IP sockets so all my clients could access their web sites. I found a shareware program that asked for $20/user for 150 users. I sent a check fir $3000 to an address in Taiwan. It was cashed, but I never received a license code or heard back from anyone. I researched online and after reading about this company stiffing other people as well I found an innovative work-around. (solution: I set the PC calendar ahead to 1999, then installed the 30 day trial version on 150 copies.) They were all working and set to expire In 2,000 days. applied it and my clients could all access the internet until the next update of Windows integrated IP sockets and made everything unnecessary. That was getting the Y2K problem to work for my clients. I did not feel bad because they had their money and never provided any support. Thinking back, at the time, 3K was barely even the cost of a single desktop, but still, someone could have at least said something about their product no longer being supported.

    Wow – I can’t imagine how pissed I’d be if I sent 3 grand and never heard a word back!!

    *rage*

    Nice work around for your clients! (yay you!)

    Jamie569 says:

    First, it wasn’t my 3K in the first place and second, they ended up with working sockets, so I did not pursue any further. But I ended up having to cheat so they could send email. Sometimes you gotta do what you have to.

    Stephanie says:

    Here’s a question for you: Moo Cards gets a shout-out for good service, but the company with the shit service is enigmatically referred to only as Company N.

    Is this because you are worried that Company N might see this and come at you with some legal BS claiming libel or defamation? Or because you still need Company N’s services and don’t want to risk them seeing this and deciding they don’t want your business? Or something else / some combination of reasons?

    I ask because I’ve posted about bad customer experience myself at times, and on some occasions I name the offending company, and at other times I do not… but I don’t know what the best choice is.

    If Company N has abysmal service but no-one (or only a few people) call them out on it, then other people might end up being burned as you did, if only because their research failed to find any unhappy customers.

    I guess I’m just curious as to your thought processes behind hiding the identity of the ‘villain’ in this story, to compare against my own thoughts and decisions.

    Incidentally, I would have made the Moo Cards a link rather than just bold it. If you like them, send them some link love!

    Oh and p.s. – Unexpected Deactiviations is most assuredly a thing. If it requires an activation process, then you can be sure that process will at some time fail or unravel itself. Count on it.

    Moo Cards = link love applied. I got them on Friday and I lurv them.

    I don’t know what to say about naming the sucky ass company… Nuance Enterprise… At the time I was so angry…. SO. ANGRY and I was tweeting and blogging about my crappy experience that I didn’t want to name them in case I blabbed my mouth off in some way that I would rather not be connected to a company.

    The fact though is that their software is kicking ass and taking names. Scribe is transcribing my audio well and learning and improving and being awesome – so I never wanted the product to be mixed up with the service fail.

    Unexpected deactivations…. really? Even if the registration was successful…?

    *waaaah*
    (I never want to have to deal with this company again).

    Stephanie says:

    I’m glad that the software is actually doing what it is supposed to. If the wares were on the same level as the service, that would have been injury ontop of insult.

    You can avoid unexpected deactivations by never updating your computer, never upgrading your computer, never having your computer crash, never having any hardware issues, never replacing any hardware, and never adding any new software to your computer. It also doesn’t hurt to make the occasional sacrifice to Yog-Shothoth.

    (Actually it’s not as tenuous as all that, but it can happen.)

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