Customer retention – the wrong way

So OpenNETCF Consulting is growing and as such I decided to get a business number and fax line through Vonage.  We get and send very, very few faxes (maybe 1 a month if we’re busy) but the line was free, and when you need it send or receive a contract, NDA or whatever, you just have to have it. 

Well we had been using the eFax service but since the fax line was free I figured there was no point in spending the $12 a month for the service we didn’t need.  Mind you I never had a problem with them.  Service was fine, the product met our needs when we needed it, it just has become unnecessary.  So I decided last night I’d cancel it.  This is where the journey began…

Step 1 – Log in.  Well I don’t use the service often, so I had to find my PIN.  Of course I recently changed jobs, so my PIn was in an email that was in a PST archive saved off from another PC.  Search through boxes to find the righ CD, then search through the CD for the PST, then search through the PST for efails from eFax, then search through those for a PIN.  I’ve now burned an hour.

Step 2 – Cancel service online. Scoured their site – every logical (and even not so logical pages) to find something that allows me to stop the service.  Found ways to alter my billing info, pay yearly instead of monthly, change my PIN to somethign I might remember (would’ve been useful a while ago), but nothing for stopping service. Another 30 minutes or so down the drain.

Step 3 – Email customer service.  Searched the site for an email for customer service.  Nothing.  Sent an email to their sales staff becasue it was the only email I could find.

Step 4 – Call customer service. I hate calling when an email or online form will do, but a call is what it must be.  Sorry, it’s after their business hours, please call later.

Step 5 – Call customer service again.  Waited til the next day (got the feeling Saturday won’t be too helpful, but I’m wishful).  Actually listened to automated menu this time and found that you cannot cancel service over the phone.  You must do it online (nice eh?).  Fortunately the message gives the URL: There is absolutely no link on their site to this (believe me, I went back and looked) – it’s an orphan page.

Step 6 – Cancel service online.  To cancel service you must chat with a live representative. Why can’t I just click a damned button?  Now I’m getting irritated.  The representative needs my eFax number and PIN – fortunately I dug through the boxes yesterday to get it.

Step 7 – Chat with representative and try to simply cancel service.  Rep obviously is eitehr cut and pasting or has an app that posts responses or they have Clark Kent on the help desk.  Green are comments, not chat text.

Welcome to chat.
The session has been accepted.
{eFax Rep} Hello, Chris. Welcome to j2 Global online support. I am <rep name>, your online live Support Representative. How are you doing today? 
(at least he’s friendly)
{ctacke} fine 
{ctacke} I have an account that I’d like to cancel 
{eFax Rep} I’m sorry to hear that you wish to cancel. Could you please provide me your Fax number and the PIN for verification purposes? 
{ctacke} the number is <number> 
{ctacke} pin is <pin> 
{eFax Rep} Thank you for the information. Please give me a moment while I quickly check your account. In the meanwhile, may I ask why you wish to cancel your fax account? 
(understandable.  always good to know why someone is leaving)
{ctacke} We installed a land line for faxes 
{ctacke} Basically we’ve grown and now have a permanent office 
{eFax Rep} Chris,I have just checked your account. Our records indicate that you have been a long time customer. We value your business and relationship with us. I would like to mention to you an exclusive offer.
(here comes the soft sell – now I know why I can’t just bush a button)
{eFax Rep} Chris, It is always good to have a alternative faxing service as you may not know when the need for faxing may arise.
In the current scenario, as a special consideration and gesture of goodwill.Your eFax account will be credited with $25.90 so that you may utilize our services without being billed our monthly fee for the next two billing cycles. 
{eFax Rep} Hence, you will be able to use our service to its fullest capabilities and re-evaluate it for your faxing needs. During this credit period, you will not be charged any monthly fees. 
{eFax Rep} If however, you still feel that you do not have any use for our services by the end of the two months credit period, then you can always contact us back anytime. 
{ctacke} No thanks. I’d like to just cancel it. 
{eFax Rep} During this two months credit period, you can keep this service active and if you use it once in these two months we will be more than happy that we were able to serve you. Trust me there are no hidden traits and you will not be charged any monthly fees for this account during this period. 
(What part of “cancel it” does he not get?)
{eFax Rep} As a good will gesture to continue our association we will offer you an additional gift balance of $10 along with the monthly credit which will enable to send up to 100 additional fax pages free of cost anywhere in USA & Canada. 
{eFax Rep} Chris, all you need to do is contact us once before the two months credit period ends if you do not wish to continue with the service. There is certainly no obligation to stay back after the two months credit period ends. You can contact us anytime. We are available 24 x 7.
(24×7 if you know the magic way to get here maybe)
{ctacke} Yes, I understand that, but as it is I forget things. For example, I installed my land line almost 2 months ago and kept eFax just in case we had issues. We haven’t, so I’m comfortable with just keeping the land line. 
(really, I’m forgetful and the last thing I want is to get another charge in 3 months because I forgot to find my PIN, come to this magic page and get this same sales pitch again)
{ctacke} So I would like to cancel my eFax account. Thanks. 
{eFax Rep} All right, I will cancel the account for you now. 

So what’s going on here?  It’s just like many other companies.  They count on you being forgetful or not closely monitoring your bank account.  I obviously don’t need a second fax line, but if they can get me to keep the service, even for free for a few months (zero cost to them to do that) then maybe after that period I’ll forget to cancel and they can charge me at least once before I can cancel again.  Sure, it’s only $12, but it adds up.

One thought on “Customer retention – the wrong way”

  1. Dude, thanks for putting this up. I had the same problem with canceling another service, except the opposite. You couldn’t cancel from the site, and I had to listen to (fortunately) a real person try to sell me another service. I was looking into efax but wanted to make sure you could cancel online. You helped a lot.



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