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May
23

Failed Customer Support Diving Save Attempt

It never ceases to amaze me just how far a service provider is willing to bend backwards to save a customer who has made the decision to bag a service, especially given how little effort they put into retaining the customer in the first place.

I recently went to the eFax web site to cancel my service with them.  I’ve had eFax for a long time, but in the last year, their quality has declined and the number of spam faxes I receive has reached unacceptable levels.  All the while they have been raising prices.  Even worse than the increase in their their monthly fee, a while back, they instituted a per page charge that was bordering on ridiculous.  Not that it mattered since I had already made the decision to leave eFax, but I was further pissed when there was no place to cancel my account on their web site.  Once I found a FAQ on canceling, which took a while, I was directed to an on-line chat.  Luckily, I got a service agent without waiting.  Here’s how the chat went (somewhat edited):

{eFax} How can I help you Will?

{Me} I’d like to cancel my account

{eFax} Can I ask why?

{Me} Sure, your pricing has grown to ridiculous levels and your service is worse than ever.

{eFax} Will, I can understand that currently you are finding it expensive to pay the monthly fees. In the current situation as a special consideration, we will waive off the monthly fee for two months. You can use the service without paying any monthly fees for the next two billing cycles. Please feel free to contact us at any time after that if you still want to cancel.

Your account will be credited with $33.11 so that you may utilize our services without being billed our monthly fee for the next two billing cycles.

Since you will not be charged any monthly fees for the next two months you may keep the account till then. If at all you find that you need our services during this period, then you will still have the account. If however, you still feel that you do not have any use for our services by the end of the two months credit period, then you can always contact us back anytime.

{Me} I’d prefer to cancel it now. Please go ahead and kill the account.

{eFax} Will, I can cancel your account but as you have already paid for the month I suggest you to go for the above offer so that you can derive maximum value for the money you have spent for our services.

{Me} Thanks. A credit is of no value to me.  Please cancel immediately.

{eFax} Also as a special consideration and as a good will gesture to continue our association, we will offer you an additional gift balance of $10 along with the monthly credit.  During this two months credit period, you can keep this service active and if you use it once in these two months we will be more than happy that we were able to serve you. Please feel free to contact us anytime as we are available 24×7.

{Me} PLEASE CANCEL THE DAMNED ACCOUNT.

{eFax} Alright, as per your wish, I will close your account right now. We are sorry that you have decided to leave our service, but if your faxing needs do change in the future, we would be more than happy to have you back. Thank you for being with us and for using our service.

OK, maybe I was too nice to start with.  Since I’ve been down this same road and suffered the same practice canceling credit cards in the past couple of months, I should have known better.  eFax used the same diving save – “you’re a moron if you try to leave us” approach as the credit card companies.  I’m sure that this postpone the decision thing works on many people, which is a shame.  I just hate to have this sort of behavior encouraged.

Hey guys.  If you kept your service competitive in the first place, you wouldn’t have had to throw me all sorts of incentives to stay.  I was completely happy with your service before others came in better and cheaper as a result of you getting worse and more expensive.  Maybe you should spend less time and money on trying to save customers and spend more on keeping them happy.

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 May 23rd, 2007  
 Will  
 General Business  
   
 30 Comments

30 Responses to Failed Customer Support Diving Save Attempt

  1. You know you were just talking to the latest version of the ELIZA software, right? It just looks for all caps and cuss words and that’s when it cancels the account.

  2. You know you were just talking to the latest version of the ELIZA software, right? It just looks for all caps and cuss words and that’s when it cancels the account.

  3. Patrick Risdon

    If you still need and Internet Fax provider to replace your old eFax service; and you want to deal with a company known for their customer service then I invite you to email me and we can discuss what I do and who I work for. Best Wishes and i look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Patrick Risdon

    If you still need and Internet Fax provider to replace your old eFax service; and you want to deal with a company known for their customer service then I invite you to email me and we can discuss what I do and who I work for. Best Wishes and i look forward to hearing from you.

  5. Will,

    You just need to realize that someone got a hold of one of your college mug shots and the CEOs wife is largely attracted to you. They just can’t let you go and were willing to do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, they haven’t seen anything recent – I suggest you send newer photos in, the process will be considerably expedited.

    –Dan

  6. Will,

    You just need to realize that someone got a hold of one of your college mug shots and the CEOs wife is largely attracted to you. They just can’t let you go and were willing to do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, they haven’t seen anything recent – I suggest you send newer photos in, the process will be considerably expedited.

    –Dan

  7. Efax has it sitting on a cash cow and they know it. I think their net profit margin is something like 50%. Actually they should be making much more. Over at The Flat Planet Phone Company, I figured out that it costs us about $1.50 to provide such a service and they charge $16.95 a month for that!!

    Their problem is instead of using all this cash to provide good service, they use a cheapo call center and constantly raise prices.
    I wonder if it has to do with the patents that they hold ?? Maybe that gives them the feeling that there is no alternative…

  8. Efax has it sitting on a cash cow and they know it. I think their net profit margin is something like 50%. Actually they should be making much more. Over at The Flat Planet Phone Company, I figured out that it costs us about $1.50 to provide such a service and they charge $16.95 a month for that!!

    Their problem is instead of using all this cash to provide good service, they use a cheapo call center and constantly raise prices.
    I wonder if it has to do with the patents that they hold ?? Maybe that gives them the feeling that there is no alternative…

  9. Will,

    I’m curious as to who you have selected for your new fax service? I have been considering signing up for one a lot lately and you have canceled one of my options for me.

    Thanks for saving me the headache.

    Troy

  10. Will,

    I’m curious as to who you have selected for your new fax service? I have been considering signing up for one a lot lately and you have canceled one of my options for me.

    Thanks for saving me the headache.

    Troy

  11. Dave,

    I considered this during the session, but ruled it out because some of the responses (which I didn’t include in the post) were very well coordinated with my specific situation and feedback. I’m sure you’re right, though, and I’ve just underestimated the technology.

    Of course, whether it’s a machine responding of not, it doesn’t change the point that companies like eFax put more effort into trying to save a customer than into making them happy in the first place. It would be much cheaper, in the end, if they just made their customers happy with their service – through automation or human interaction.

  12. Dave,

    I considered this during the session, but ruled it out because some of the responses (which I didn’t include in the post) were very well coordinated with my specific situation and feedback. I’m sure you’re right, though, and I’ve just underestimated the technology.

    Of course, whether it’s a machine responding of not, it doesn’t change the point that companies like eFax put more effort into trying to save a customer than into making them happy in the first place. It would be much cheaper, in the end, if they just made their customers happy with their service – through automation or human interaction.

  13. Moshe,

    Your explanation sounds about right. I saw the CEO speak at a financial conference earlier this year. I guess they had an unexpected stumble last year while growing the business and the price increase was to try to get back on track. At the time of the presentation, it sounded like they were going to try to get more from their SOHO/individual base and accept the losses in customers in order to focus more on their enterprise products.

    In my case, it worked out as they expected – they priced themselves out of the market. I wasn’t familiar with their patent position, but those are crappy laurels to rest on. So stupid, really, it’s a commodity business. Price and service level combinations are all that matter.

  14. Moshe,

    Your explanation sounds about right. I saw the CEO speak at a financial conference earlier this year. I guess they had an unexpected stumble last year while growing the business and the price increase was to try to get back on track. At the time of the presentation, it sounded like they were going to try to get more from their SOHO/individual base and accept the losses in customers in order to focus more on their enterprise products.

    In my case, it worked out as they expected – they priced themselves out of the market. I wasn’t familiar with their patent position, but those are crappy laurels to rest on. So stupid, really, it’s a commodity business. Price and service level combinations are all that matter.

  15. Troy,

    I looked at many services and chose Myfax (www.myfax.com) in the end. I’m certainly not a salesperson nor a promoter of the company nor the solution, but it’s adequate and is reasonably priced. I think it’s the best of the eFax competitors.

    I miss the way eFax integrated as a print driver into all applications. I also miss the way eFax managed cover pages. Myfax makes it easy to send a fax from the body of an email or an attachment in a variety of formats. Fax quality looks about as good as eFax’s was and, like eFax, you can choose the format of the faxes you receive.

    I hope that helps.

  16. Troy,

    I looked at many services and chose Myfax (www.myfax.com) in the end. I’m certainly not a salesperson nor a promoter of the company nor the solution, but it’s adequate and is reasonably priced. I think it’s the best of the eFax competitors.

    I miss the way eFax integrated as a print driver into all applications. I also miss the way eFax managed cover pages. Myfax makes it easy to send a fax from the body of an email or an attachment in a variety of formats. Fax quality looks about as good as eFax’s was and, like eFax, you can choose the format of the faxes you receive.

    I hope that helps.

  17. Saul Lieberman

    I just received a price increase notice from efax, which set me off checking if vonage offered a similar service. it does not (as far as I can tell.)

  18. Saul Lieberman

    I just received a price increase notice from efax, which set me off checking if vonage offered a similar service. it does not (as far as I can tell.)

  19. Saul,

    VOIP-based offerings worry me a bit, although I’m not sure why exactly. The email ones work well enough to completely replace the phone in the loop – whether it’s a fixed line or a virtual one. And because it’s via email, they travel with you without a telephone adapter.

  20. Saul,

    VOIP-based offerings worry me a bit, although I’m not sure why exactly. The email ones work well enough to completely replace the phone in the loop – whether it’s a fixed line or a virtual one. And because it’s via email, they travel with you without a telephone adapter.

  21. Saul Lieberman

    I’ not a tech guy, but…
    vonage already sends voicemail to my email account as an attachment (as well as making it available by phone), I figured they could do the same with faxes.

  22. Saul Lieberman

    I’ not a tech guy, but…
    vonage already sends voicemail to my email account as an attachment (as well as making it available by phone), I figured they could do the same with faxes.

  23. What’s a fax?

  24. What’s a fax?

  25. Lance,

    Oh, I wish I could get rid of faxes . . . Some people/organizations just haven’t moved out of the dark ages yet.

    I have a business car around here that has my old telex number on it. Fax will go that way sometime.

  26. Lance,

    Oh, I wish I could get rid of faxes . . . Some people/organizations just haven’t moved out of the dark ages yet.

    I have a business car around here that has my old telex number on it. Fax will go that way sometime.

  27. Marcel Popescu

    I want a business car too, even with a telex number on it 🙂

    More seriously, nice article. Even though I must agree with the “what’s a fax” guy.

  28. Marcel Popescu

    I want a business car too, even with a telex number on it 🙂

    More seriously, nice article. Even though I must agree with the “what’s a fax” guy.

  29. Disappointingly, it’s tough to completely eliminate faxes yet. Some people just can’t wrap their heads around the whole attached PDF thing yet. More lawyers are finally accepting emailed PDFs with signatures now, which is great.

  30. Disappointingly, it’s tough to completely eliminate faxes yet. Some people just can’t wrap their heads around the whole attached PDF thing yet. More lawyers are finally accepting emailed PDFs with signatures now, which is great.

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