Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How to Lose a Customer Immediately

Want to lose a customer in one easy step? Refuse to stop bothering them.

I have a website. You have likely reached this blog entry through that website. My website host is GoDaddy.com. You’ve probably heard of them. They are one of, if not the, biggest website-hosting company. Sometimes, though, I worry about their cashflow. The sales they run have an air of desperation to them. The hoops of advertising one has to jump through on their website to get the simplest transaction completed make me crazy. Each one has an ad for some other product. If changing web-hosting companies wasn’t such a pain in the ass, I’d have done it a long time ago.

Anyhow, today a guy named Mitch L., from the Arizona call center of GoDaddy, calls me up and tries to sell me another year of web-hosting, supposedly at some great price. But I’m paid up through next year, so I say no, and then I tell him to put me on the Do Not Call list there and only call me about problems with my account, not to sell me things. He says he can do it, but only if I give him my personal PIN for the hosting account or the last four of my credit card number. Am I the only one who thinks that sounds phishy?

For those of you not in the know, “Phishing attacks use both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers' personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social-engineering schemes use 'spoofed' e-mails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond.” This quote is from
www.antiphishing.org, an organization to which GoDaddy belongs.

When I raised the security issues of phishing and that giving him such information as a PIN or the last four of a credit card number to Mitch—who called me, I did not call him—refused to put me on the Do Not Call list. I hung up and went to GoDaddy’s website and read their privacy statement. I then called their corporate offices and spoke with Justin, a supervisor there. Justin wasn’t much more help. He asked me for the last four of my credit card number, which I provided, since I called him. But, after a bit of a conversation in which I stated I thought it was unconscionable that I should have to make two phone calls to get this done, Justin insisted he had to have the last six numbers of my credit card to verify me and put through my request that GoDaddy not call me. That was the last straw. I asked for the number for Bob Parson’s, the Chairman of GoDaddy. Justin said he was unable to provide that information. So I asked for his supervisor.

At this point, I ended up with Alon, in the Office of the President. Alon is one of those guys who never quite lets you get under his skin. He’s about resolving the problem. And he did agree to check off that Do Not Call box on my account for me. But what he also told me made me furious: He said that he has powers and options that representatives on his downline do not. Now, am I the only one who thinks a frontline sales representative should have the power to check off the Do Not Call box? Should it really take three representatives, the last of which is in the Office of the President, to get a customer free of annoying sales calls?

Keep in mind that I told each and every one of these folks that it’s a federal law that they have to stop calling me when I ask them to. Justin and Alon argued with that, saying that, since I’m a customer of GoDaddy, that law isn’t applicable. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that if I ask a company to stop calling me to sell me stuff, they have to do it. Regardless, it’s bad business to keep calling if the customer says, “Enough!” And if the company called the customer, versus the customer calling the company, that request should be honored immediately, and certainly not require the customer to divulge a PIN or credit-card number to make it happen.


So, if you are an author or publisher out there looking for a web-hosting company, I encourage you to avoid GoDaddy like the plague. If they can’t empower their frontline sales reps who call the customers to check off the Do Not Call box when the customer requests it, without backtalk, hoops, b.s. verification of information (keep in mind they called me), then how good can they be at the rest of their job?

Z

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

118 miles and change

Well, we did it. Yes, my wife and I rode in El Tour de Tucson this past weekend, completing well over 109 miles. I personally came in just under nine hours (with thirty-seven seconds to spare!). Nadene came in at about nine and a half hours. Both of improved on last year’s time of ten hours and change and we felt great doing it.

As many of you know, we completed this ride with Team in Training (
http://www.teamintraining.org) which is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. With the latest tally, Nadene and I have raised close to $6,000.00 in funds for LLS. LLS manages to put a healthy seventy-five cents of every dollar directly into research, patient services, and education. You can read more about it at http://www.lls.org.

You’d think 109 was enough, but the San Diego chapter of TNT has a tradition of riding in together, so after we finished, we rode back out four miles to meet some other folks, then road back in (with a police escort!) the four miles. I think I had 118 or so on the odometer when we finished. Phew!

I want to thank all of those authors who took advantage of my offer to read their sample chapters in exchange for a donation to LLS. I am working my way through the pile and hope to respond to everyone in the next two weeks. We are traveling for Thanksgiving and I’ll be taking all that reading with me on the plane!

If you have ever thought of running a marathon, doing a triathlon, or riding a century (100 miles or more) bike ride, I encourage you to look into Team in Training (TNT). I’ve done four programs with them now (three in NYC; one here) and there are few things in life more rewarding than testing your physical limits and exceeding them. I rode with five other riders, three of whom were riding their first century. And they kicked ass! My congratulations go out to Eric (a/k/a Hoss, for his long pulls at the front of the paceline), Tina, and Colleen for completing their first centuries so strongly.

Though my offer to read chapters has ended (I have plenty of reading to do!), if you are interested in supporting LLS, my TNT website remains active. You can visit it at
http://www.active.com/donate/tntsdh/tntsdhAZack. The photo is from last year and taken of me not long before I proposed to my wife. Apparently we’ll now be doing this ride for the rest of our lives, since it is a celebration of our engagement!

Thanks again for your support.

Z