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Shame on you Adobe Bad Customer Service Is Inexcusable
The measure of a company’s mindset towards its customers is usually revealed by how good their customer service is ñ if the customer is valued, then customer service is stellar. But if there’s disdain for the customer, then service suffers.
Others here have written about United Airline’s abysmal customer service and 1-800-CONTACTS terrific customer service. And while situations and customer service responses can vary, I’ve recently had a very bad experience with Adobe.
Here’s the scenario
Admittedly, I mistakenly purchased the wrong product. I wanted to purchase Dreamweaver CS4 as a download, so we could upgrade one work station to the most recent version. So I jumped to the store, scanned the products, noticed an option for an upgrade version…and thought, hey, I have dozen’s of licenses that seem to qualify…so I clicked “buy now” and began my download.
Perhaps the quirky, annoying Flash-based store and stupid download process should have been my first clue. Really Adobe? You employ a Java Applet to facilitate downloading? With all the technology available you choose this option ñ an option that requires me to authenticate the running of the app with “full access” ñ something I’m not comfortable doing with a download - but was forced to OK to proceed. This, after your “download screen” had already pissed me off, because when I pressed the download button - nothing happened. Then I refreshed the screen and it kicked me out of the page. Strike one.
Anyway, I digress. So I finally navigate the cumbersome download process. Click install….type in the serial number…and blam….it asks me to provide a qualifying product serial number? I think this odd…since CS3 is running, it should have found Dreamweaver CS3….then I notice the list/menu doesn’t provide that as a choice. It lists Dreamweaver 8, MX, 2004. Ok….no worries, I’ve invested thousands of dollars over the years and have all of these versions and their serial numbers. So I start typing them. One by one they’re denied, and my blood pressure starts to rise.
Now I’m thinking something is wrong. So I call technical support. I’ll give them kudos here…I didn’t wait long…only about 2 minutes until I was speaking with a person. This person politely informs me that I can’t use one of my many “suite” or “studio” licenses to upgrade a single application. I find this silly and express my opinion as I go on to explain that I’ve invested thousands with Adobe (and Macromedia) and think it’s unfair. I understand that their suites offer a bundled discount and can appreciate why they don’t allow you to upgrade the applications individually - but I explain gruffly that it seems ludicrous that I can’t utilize one of my prior “studio” bundles from Macromedia for the upgrade. These existed before Adobe bought Macromedia, and really have no value to most anymore. That, and I’d appreciate some latitude since I’ve bought/upgraded CS1, CS2, CS3. My reasoning and pleas have no effect. Strike two.
I angrily hang up the phone, frustrated beyond belief. So I calm down and attempt an online chat with sales support. Needless to say this goes no better. Again and again, they simply explain I can’t upgrade a single app based upon a suite. OK…I succumb and realize I’m not getting anywhere. So I end my chat and telephone support. Because now that I’ve accepted I have to purchase the full application, I’ve gone online to my account to “return my purchase” that I made no more than 45 minutes ago…but I’m having a new problem.
I can’t return it yet. Why? Because they haven’t charged me yet. And here’s where it gets very bad. A large technology company ñ a leader in their industry ñ can’t simply cancel an order until after they’ve charged my credit card? That’s absurd! So I offer another option. OK…let me pay the difference and either change the serial number to work with the full application or send me a new serial number? Nope. Can’t do that either. In fact, they can’t do anything until after my credit card is charged. I tell them I don’t want my credit card charged. The long and short answer…too bad. Strike three.
So I hang up and sit fuming for a little while. Then I file a compliant ticket regarding my purchase with Adobe, contact my credit card company to dispute the charge, and have Elaine call Adobe to see if she can get anywhere with them…since at this moment, I want to charter a flight to California and start busting heads.
The moral of the story
Well it’s two-fold really. First, make sure you read the eligibility requirements more carefully before you purchase. As I admitted at the start of this post…it’s was my fault for not doing this. But second, Adobe and similar companies should treat their long-time customers better. I don’t think my suggestions that they cancel my order before they charge me or that they charge me the difference and send me a new serial number were unreasonable. We author web applications…it may have involved a few check boxes and a delete button perhaps. Instead, they left one of their long-time customers pissed off and reeling from their poor customer service. And suffered my rants on Facebook and Twitter, and now on this blog.
And as I’ve stated on this and elsewhere, this disdain and inflexibility reminds me of Quark in the 90s, when they too thought they were untouchable. When they thought they had the creative industry locked up. True, everyone used Quark, but everyone hated them because of their terrible customer service and draconian licensing. Well, it seems Adobe has developed a similar attitude regarding their customers - at least by my recent interaction, that’s the impression I’m left with. It’s unacceptable. And Adobe should be ashamed and be careful. Continue to alienate their long-time customer,s and they’ll suffer the same mass exodus Quark suffered once a better alternative appears. And frankly, Dreamweaver is not what it used to be, so they should be concerned.
Nov 07, 2009
By: William Levins
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