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7 Ways To Piss Me Off and Not Buy Your Software

Filed Under Human Factors

Angry Businessman

Holy shit, I had the worst day of software support ever. Perhaps it can be blamed on Monday, perhaps the rain, but if you are in the business of selling software you can’t afford to snub your customers when it comes to sales or support. Here are 7 surefire ways to piss me off and not buy your software:

1. Don’t answer your phone during business hours

The first thing on yesterday’s checklist was to call a UI control company to ask some questions about their license agreements. The pleasant automated female voice said:

The office is currently closed. Our office hours are 7:00 AM – 5:30 PM Central Time.

Wait. It is 10:15 AM – Central Time. Regardless of timezones, they should be open. Did someone forget to flip the open sign on the front door? I simply chuckled at the annoyance as I brushed it off.

2. Don’t tell me the price or show me screenshots

The next task for the day was to research a issue management system and compare it’s offerings with JIRA. Atlassian makes it dead simple to see screenshots and all levels of price listings for JIRA. Simple and didn’t make me think.

The other (unnamed and unlinked) company, showed me no screenshots nor any price lists. The laziest marketing sentence in existence adorned the bottom of the page – “Call for feature list and pricing“.

Seriously. You are going to make me work because of your lazy marketing copy. Alright…I need to do my due diligence, so I am going to call…

3. Have your automated phone system hang up on me

So now I am calling the company selling the issue management system. If their website is any indication of software quality, I am in for a treat. Instead, something much more annoying occurred:

Welcome to Crapsalot Software, if you know your party’s extensi….<click>

Not once, twice. No excuse for that crap. I am getting a little hot now.

4. Don’t tell me you can never help me

So now I am calling the UI company again – somebody actually answers. I explain my question and they act like they have never heard a legal question in their lives. That’s OK, but I would then appreciate being connected to somebody who can help me. Instead I get this:

Sir, we work very closely to Microsoft and since I have never heard of the Office 2007 UI Guidelines, I don’t think I can find you the answer…

I am about to spend $5,000 with your company and you can’t find out if I will get sued by Microsoft if I use your product. Nice.

5. Let your website go down for a couple of days

Alright, time to go buy a new obsfucation tool. I know what I want, great product, but last week when I checked the website was down (surely it would be up by now). Nope, still down. Don’t know how a major business can run when they are completely unreachable.

6. Don’t verbally agree to promptly send me email replies, then ignore me

OK, I really needed answers from these hooligans at the UI control company, so I call back. This time I get a new person who attempts to rush me off the phone with this tactic:

Sir, I don’t know the answer, but please send me your question in full to my personal email. Then I will send you a receipt for an open issue, and I promise we will have this resolved by end of day.

10 hours later, still no receipt. Responses to follow up emails – 0/3

7. Make me register for a neutered trial version of your software

At the end of my rope, now I am downloading trial versions of issue management systems. Again, this is where Atlassian gets it right; allowing me to download a fully functional 14-day trial of an enterprise application – sweet!

The competition website…holy moley. Not only do I have to register (which I hate as it is unnecessary and only ever used for negative marketing tactics), but then wait until it is installing to tell me that it isn’t fully functional. Wait – it isn’t even usable!

In short, I am willing to buy software. Quit acting stupid and I just might give you some money.

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8 Responses to “7 Ways To Piss Me Off and Not Buy Your Software”

  1. » 7 Ways To Piss Me Off and Not Buy Your Software on September 18th, 2007 7:27 am

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  2. Jon Silvers on September 18th, 2007 4:27 pm

    Phew! I saw this blog pop up in my RSS filter, then I saw the title and thought “uh-oh, looks like we pissed off a customer.” Was glad to see Atlassian used as the example of what to do! Thanks for the feedback!:)

  3. Max Pool on September 18th, 2007 5:30 pm

    @Jon –

    Atlassian is a shining example of what to do on many topics. I am a happy customer, but I would be even happier with a free t-shirt! 😛

  4. Jon Silvers on September 18th, 2007 5:43 pm

    Ha! I think that can be arranged 🙂

  5. Mike Cannon-brookes on September 18th, 2007 8:44 pm

    Mate – thanks for the nice words! It’s always great to see people appreciating (ne, publicising!) our openness. These things all piss _us_ off too, which is why we don’t do them.

    FYI one correction – our evaluation is 30 days, and we’re usually nice enough to give you another 30 days if you ask politely 🙂


  6. Zoli Erdos on October 17th, 2007 4:44 pm

    Wow, after this story the only thing I don’t understand is why not just buy Jira? 🙂

  7. Max Pool on October 17th, 2007 5:45 pm

    @Zoli – I have! Jira is where it’s at…

  8. Jeremy N on November 5th, 2007 10:23 am

    Here is one that I found today.

    8) When I call your company (after finally finding a phone number) and the individual tells me that they can’t answer a simple question because I have a “regional” representative that will have to get back to me.

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