Picture if you will, a long-time CNET (and more particularly, ZDNET) enthusiast as he reads the days events. Clicking onto a white paper, he is presented with the option to sign up to access the BizTech resource section for a mere $1 (initially), increasing thereafter to a nominal $6.95. “$1.00 for access to ZDne’t s vast archives of Biztech Whitepapers – what do I have to lose?” he thinks to himself as he cheerfully enters his Credit Card info into the online form.
Fast forward, less than an hour later, and this same customer has become quite disgruntled. Few, if any, of the services actually work (despite numerous login attempts; the modification of browser and cookie security settings; and the odious task of repeatedly going over technical support documents).
Worse yet, an attempt to gain information pertaining to technical support yields nothing other than a poorly designed "help" section - "CNET help.com" - whereby he is provided with NO means of contacting the proper authorities at CNET to discuss (or at least inform them) of the increasingly evident problems with the service – on the administrative side.
Logging back into his "CNET advantage" control panel - he proceeds to look for ways to contact CNET. "Success!" he thinks as he comes across a lone contact form. Now engulfed in rage (and the feeling of being “duped”), he portrays his emotions and opinion with your service, clicking the “submit button” a few more times than required.
Patiently waiting, he receives an email in response to his requests (and rantings) - stating that CNET Networks is no longer accepting email from his address.
Great job - instead of providing your customers with a useful response or even a brief "we're working on the problem, sorry for the inconvenience...", you choose to leave him with a response similar to and reminiscent of that of a minimum-wage earning employee at a local fast food restaurant; tossing aside his concerns like a bag of trash tossed over a garbage-collector’s shoulder into the trash compactor.
Let’s recap, shall we? A disgruntled customer is going to be billed for a service he never receives. Rather than simply leave - he attempts to work with you to assist in the rectification of the situation. CNET’s response? You choose to shun him out - essentially a blatant "f*** you".
Tempers flaring and a "Whois Query" later – he turns up a phone number through which he can contact you. "Yay! At least they'll listen to my rant" he thinks as he moseys-on-through the automated voice service, waiting for a chance to vent. Several menus later – he’s left with one (and only one) option - to leave a message in the "general mailbox". “Great!” he thinks to himself. “Some middle-aged schmuk at the front desk will get a chance to listen to how bad their service is – only to delete my message”. As the normal preamble of an automated mailbox chatters on, he braces himself to vent anyways – if not to be heard, than at least for “piece of mind”.
”We’re sorry, the mailbox is full <click>”. His faint opportunity to at least make his voice heard is gone in an instant, replaced with the ominous sound of a pre-recorded message securing his fate.
It is for the *above* mentioned reasons that one should avoid this company's propaganda at all possible costs. For it is not the technical difficulties nor is it for the shoddy workmanship and design of a paid service – but it is for the lack of empathy towards their customers along with their downright shoddy customer “service” (if there is any) – that one should make this decision.
I will strive to ensure that other’s do not make the same mistakes as I have – to be “duced” and conned, to be faced with the feelings of anxiety and disgruntledness associated with CNET's “product offerings”.