By Ronni Marshak
SVP and Sr. Consultant/Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group
As faithful readers know, I recently purchased a new (to me, as the car lots say) Dell laptop. It came with a 30-day free trial of Trend Micro Internet Security. So far, so good. And at the end of the 30-day trial, a warning message popped up stating that I was no longer protected, and I should purchase a subscription. Fair enough.
However, I wasn't sure I wanted to purchase protection from Trend Micro, and I knew that I wasn't ready to purchase at that point in time. My options on the pop-up window were to buy or to "remind me later." I took the third option and just closed the window with the convenient "x" at the top right.
The next day, the Window popped up again, and I did the same. And the next day, and the next, and the next. I tried to figure out how to just say no, simply because I was so annoyed, but, alas, there was no way to do it that I could figure out.
Finally, because I couldn't take it anymore, I hit the buy button—maybe if I at least looked at the offer, the pop-ups would stop haunting me. I looked at the offer (which seemed fair, but, being the sometimes petty person I am, I was determined to protect my computer in some other way), left the Web site, and then, the next day, the pop-up came back!
Out of spite, I looked at a few competitive sites to see what they offered. I was somewhat dismayed to find that Trend Micro offered the best deal for a multi-year subscription. But another vendor had an almost equivalent price per year, so I seriously considered punishing Trend Micro for their irritating use of irremovable pop-ups by making the alternate purchase. Four things stopped me: 1) I'm cost conscious, 2) I like purchasing multi-year subscriptions so I can buy and forget about it, 3) Trend Micro wouldn't know I was punishing them, so I wouldn't get any real satisfaction, and 4) it probably wouldn't have stopped the pop-ups? So I bought the darned thing—just so it wouldn't keep nagging me!
Trend Micro made a few more major customer experience mistakes when I downloaded and attempted to install the software:
- The download process told me that I had to close certain applications in which I had multiple open documents and which I was actively working on. I didn't want to close at that time, but I didn't really see an option for how to postpone the download and then restart it at a later time.
- Then, I got some confusing messages about my system being incompatible, but there were no instructions about what to do—at least that I could find.
- So, I contacted Trend Micro at the support phone number on their Web site, but could not get to a person. I was just referred back to the Web site, which didn't help since I was confused.
- I finally contacted Trend Micro sales phone line because I had learned in the past that if a company thinks you'll give them money, they will let you talk to someone. The sales person did indeed talk to me and transferred me to the support center, where I got a person on the line. (So that transfer happened as it should, but it is part of the story, so I feel obligated to mention it.)
- The support person was helpful until I said that I had a Dell laptop. It seems that if you purchase Trend Micro for the Dell platform, there is a whole different support center. I asked to be transferred, but Gail, the customer rep, said I had to call them; she couldn't transfer me. When I got snippy, as I am wont to do when faced with seemingly ridiculous customer experiences, she got sarcastic, which, of course, is a great way to win friends and influence people.
- I called the other number, which turned out to be in another country, and was again told I had to be transferred, but this time the transfer went through. I asked the support person if he worked for Dell or Trend Micro, and he said Trend Micro. (So why did I have to go to another contact center, and why couldn't I be transferred? He didn't know.)
The ultimate result was that my software had, indeed, downloaded even though it hadn't told me that the installation was complete. All that time on the phone was unnecessary.
The one good thing: the pop-ups stopped. But, although the protection seems to be doing a fine job, nagging a customer until they purchase isn't a great relationship builder. They got my business, but they also got this write-up.