September 14, 2009

Do you annoy your clients without knowing?

You don't intend to annoy customers but maybe that happens. Let's look an example and a possible solution.

The Situation
I wanted to send an agent $10. PayPal makes this quick, simple and flexible
  • use the recipient's email address or phone number
  • pay from your PayPal balance, bank account or credit card
  • transact from the PayPal website or your mobile phone (US only)
  • free except for credit cards (you decide whether the recipient or you pay the fee)
This agent required the use of a specific service. Let's call it "2PAY". The registration requires that you're at least age 18 and have a mobile phone from selected providers. That's not too onerous. Registration includes the following mandatory fields
  • your date of birth
  • your occupation [how can this matter?]
  • username [why not use your email address?]
  • mobile PIN [one more thing to remember]
  • two security questions [why not one?]
  • language preference [even though the whole page is in the language you choose]
You also provide access to your bank account or credit card --- restricted to MasterCard or VISA. American Express cardholders aren't welcome here. Once you add a credit card, there is no way to remove it.

Enter your postal code in the usual format (e.g., A1B 2C3) and you'll get an error when you Submit. This wipes out some other info, which you get to input again.

To activate your account, you get a lengthy mixed case confirmation code on your mobile phone. You input this on the "2PASS" website on your computer. A link then gets sent to your computer. You click on it and enter your logon information.

I sent the $10 after wasting 20 minutes on a service that falls well below expectations and Internet norms. In contrast, PayPal takes mere seconds and accepts Amex.

Terms of Service
Here are excerpts from the Terms of Use
You agree to have access to computer with a minimum web browser version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or 7.0, or Mozilla Firefox 1.5.0 or 2.0, and the ability to receive and read e-mail [users of Google Chrome or Apple Safari are breaking the rules]

... not a deposit account and may not be insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or any provincial deposit insurance program [but you're responsible to pay them anything you owe]

You agree that we may keep any benefits provided by a financial institution that holds these funds.
[how is this fair? why kind of benefits are contemplated?]

In addition to the fees that we charge, you acknowledge that you may also be required to pay fees and charges to others [you get to pay and pay]
The terms go on and on. PayPal provides free protection with no limits on eBay
"So go ahead, shop with confidence. PayPal is with you every step of the way."
You get no guarantees with "2PAY". If you have a problem, that's your tough luck.

There's More
I passed some feedback to "2PAY" directly on their website and got this form letter reply
Thank you for your email. Due to the security vulnerabilities of email communication, it is [our] policy not to respond to inquiries specific to a particular account by email. We apologise for any inconvenience. [I didn't send email. I used an online form. They sent me a copy by insecure email.]
For assistance with matters particular to your account, please give us a call toll-free at 1-888-XXX-XXXX anytime between 11am and 8pm EST. ["anytime" excludes weekends and early birds.]
The folks at "2PAY" didn't intend to annoy with their PayPal clone. You have noble intentions but may annoy too. How would you know?

Objective feedback is difficult to get. Here's a different idea. Invite observant communicators outside your target customers (and family) to review what you take for granted. Things like
  • the clarity of your marketing material
  • the quality of your handouts
  • your follow-up process
  • your voicemail greeting
  • your email signature
  • the overall impression you create
Any volunteers?

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