Inside an Adobe Connect Service Failure

I want to give Adobe money. I want to continue using their Adobe Connect webinar platform. Adobe hasn't made it easy.

This is the story of two failures. One is a collection of broken systems. The other is poor customer service that can't or won't help me.

Adobe Connect has been my webinar software of choice for several years. I've used them frequently at times, infrequently at others. I've renewed my annual subscription automatically without any thought. To Adobe, I should be easy money.

That is, until Adobe didn't let me renew. Let this be a cautionary tale of how poor customer service can needlessly cut easy revenue.

Adobe Connect's Broken Renewal System

I've used Adobe Connect for many years. My problem occurred when it came time for my account to renew. The first sign of trouble was the initial renewal reminder email. Here's the text:

Dear New Customer,

The subscription shown below will expire 6 days from today. Because you are a valued subscriber with us, we wanted to let you know of this and invite you to renew your service today. 

Below the text was a invitation to click on a link to renew my subscription. 

There are three problems with this email:

  • I'm not a new customer. (Holy CRM system, Adobe!)
  • Giving customers just six days notice isn't very friendly.
  • The renewal link made the email feel like a scam that might be trying to illicitly obtain my login info or my credit card number.

I decide to bypass the email and login to my Adobe Connect account.

Fail. Nowhere could I find a place to renew or even check on my account status. I finally found a link that connected me to my Adobe account, which was on a separate website.

Fail again. Here, I could see my Adobe Connect subscription, but couldn't find a way to renew. By now, the failure points are adding up:

  • The first renewal notice gave just six days to take action.
  • The email looked phishy.
  • There wasn't a clear way to renew in the program.
  • There wasn't a clear way to renew in my Adobe account.

Adobe should have made it extremely easy for me to renew my account. Instead, they gave me a system so broken that it made me question whether I still wanted to use it.

 

Adobe Connect's Poor Customer Service

Customer service should be there to rescue you when something fails. In theory, some helpful and knowledgeable person can help you navigate through the system's quirks and solve your problem.

Not at Adobe.

My first attempt was online self-service. There was no apparent help to be found, so I tried chat. Sadly, the chat associate was very unhelpful. 

He kept insisting that I click on the link in the email (even after I said I wouldn't) or call the phone number listed in the email. There was no phone number listed in the email.

Why couldn't the agent just help me?

Finally, the agent relented and gave me a phone number. I tried calling but I got an automated message telling me the department was closed. This seemed odd since I called at approximately 4:30pm Pacific time. 

I tweeted my problem to @adobeconnect as a last ditch effort for help. They never responded.

A few days later, I received another email:

Dear New Customer, 

We have recently canceled the following subscription. 

The email told me my account was cancelled, but there were no instructions for renewing. I immediately tried to login and sure enough, I could no longer access my account. 

So, I tried contacting customer service again. This time, I found a technical support number to call. I gave up after waiting on hold for more than 20 minutes and tweeted again. Frustrated, I sent a tweet to @adobecare.

Eureka! I got a response:

Unfortunately, the gist of our conversation via direct message was I needed to call. I tried calling the number they provided, but that department was closed.

I'm done with this.

 

Your Move, Adobe

Broken systems and poor service have cost Adobe a customer. 

They've simply made it too difficult for me to give them my money. Here's a summary of the attempts I made to renew my account:

  1. From my Adobe Connect account.
  2. From my Adobe account.
  3. Via chat.
  4. Via phone (attempt #1).
  5. Via Twitter (attempt #1).
  6. Via phone (attempt #2).
  7. Via Twitter attempt #2).
  8. Via phone (attempt #3).

As the old saying goes, eight strikes and you're out.

Perhaps my case is an isolated incident. I doubt it. I would wager that this is a big iceberg. There's likely to be many other customers who are in the same situation.

The lesson here is broken systems and service failures can needlessly cost your company revenue, even if customers are happy with your product or service.

To Adobe, I've spent thousands of dollars with you over the years. I've recommended your product to others.

Now, it looks like I'll be shopping for a new webinar service provider.