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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?)


 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.
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)