Customer Service Matters. Sometimes the customer service you receive is great, like when you shop at B&H Photo, but more often, it’s bad.
We’ve gotten so serious about customer service here at Answer Guy Central that we’ve started The Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame. If you visit, you’ll see stories about things like:
- Being held off for two weeks and repeatedly lied to by A&E Factory Appliance Service
- Being denied warranty and customer service by Nissan of Manhattan even when Nissan USA approved it
and now, the latest inductee to our Customer Service Wall of Shame: Constant Contact
We’ve been customers of Constant Contact for a few years. We use them to manage our mailing lists, send out our monthly newsletter, and stay in touch with our friends and clients when special things they all need to hear about happen. Constant Contact is a great service. But I decided recently to switch to MailChimp.
I sent Constant Contact a note requesting that they cancel our account, and received a response designed to retain us as a customer. Sounds great, right? That’s GOOD customer service, not bad!
Problem is, the customer service offering was flat-out insulting. Constant Contact’s offer of customer service in the interest of retention was to add a service to our account for three months for free. It’s a service that allows us to store lots of extra stuff and have more images available for use in our messages.
Forget the fact that everything in this added service is already part of what we get at MailChimp without paying extra; that was part of the reason I decided to switch. Think instead of the message Constant Contact sent in the name of customer service:
“we want to retain you, so we’re offering you fifteen whole dollars worth of something you’ve thus far elected not to purchase from us and then will start billing you for it three months from now”
I’m all for the up-sell. By all means, when you see an opportunity to sell something new to an existing customer you need to go after it. But pretending to do a customer a favor, calling it customer service, and then making the favor so small as to insult the customer’s intelligence? All that tells me is I wish I had left Constant Contact sooner.
Don’t treat your customers this way. Customer service matters, but if your customer feels anything other than serviced . . . no, strike that . . . AND if your customer feels anything other than serviced, you’re going to lose him.
Welcome to the Customer Service Wall of Shame, Constant Contact.
Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame Inductee
Let me first say that I am sorry to hear that you decided to leave Constant Contact, and that you felt our product did not meet your needs.
Secondly, I am sorry that the offer we made to you did not meet your expectations.
Thank you for recognizing the intent of the offer, but obviously the impact fell short.
You have a great point based on your situation. Our competitors’ “free” product is not exactly an apples to apples comparison (1/5 storage and 1/2 the individual image size availability). Based on your individual needs, it may not have been the right offer for you.
I had a very wise manager consistently tell me that feedback is a gift, and he was right. Your feedback here has been heard, and I would like to ask you for further assistance (if you are willing to provide). What type or value of offer would have been considered acceptable and/or exceeding expectations? I hear and acknowledge what you didn’t want, but to truly help me and other members of your audience, I would love to understand more of what you think should have happened.
I would be happy to continue this conversation online, or equally happy to take it off if you choose.
My direct line is 339.222.5988, available on LinkedIn and on twitter as @mpace101.
Director of Customer Support
Michael, there couldn’t possibly be a better way for me to respond than with a truly heartfelt “you da man!“. And you are. Thank you, Bravo, and various other exclamations!
You’re in a tough place on this one. As “The Mighty Constant Contact”, you’re too big and too successful for a much larger gesture than the one Debi made to make much sense. And I’ll tell you what: I’m a big fan of telling clients that merely pointing out a problem isn’t sufficient; absent an accompanying solution, negative feedback is . . . well, it’s just negative.
I believe under the prevailing circumstances, a note asking what you guys could do to stave off defection without the accompanying . . . I’ll say it again . . . insulting “customer service” offer would have been better. I realize, of course that such a path would leave you open to a wide variety of possibilities, most of which would have been more trouble than they’d be worth to navigate. But seriously: trying to up-sell someone A) before you knew their issue and B) with an offer to add something that’s in no way special? Not the right call. Just Bad.
As for your point comparing Constant Contact’s service offerings to MailChimp’s . . . well put, I suppose, but kind of a potato/potahtoe thing. We could debate it, but . . . man we’d be splitting hairs.
I appreciate you stepping forward. Seriously.
Thanks for providing your perspective, I will ensure you comments and thoughts are integrated into future retention efforts.
Regardless of our size, we still serve each customer, and each one is important to us. The more we can understand how initiatives impact our customers, the better we can help provide solutions that fit their needs.
Again, I appreciate the feedback and apologize for how the offer made you feel, it certainly was not our intention.
If/when you would like back into the fold, you know how to reach me.
Best of luck!