An Open Letter to Mr. Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit...
Dear Mr. Smith:
In case you weren't aware of the problem, please review my blog post so you can read in detail about the problems and hassles Intuit is inflicting on its' QuickBooks customers each and every day.
For a company that prides itself on listening to the "voice of the customer" (or VOC as you refer to it internally), Intuit is batting a big .000 when it comes to hearing what the customer has to say about the games that are played during the software registration process.
I think Intuit has done a marvelous job of scorching the brand equity your marketing department works so hard to build with this deception and nonsense.
Skeptical about the extent of this problem? Take a quick look at the Twitter feed of your own employee (@ErichatIntuit), who is the director of product registration. I see a definite pattern here. Do you?YOU COULD AUTOMATE THE PROCESS - IF YOU CHOSE TO...
I completely understand the need to register QuickBooks software. No problem there.
What I (and thousands of others) don't understand is why they are forced to call and waste anywhere from 5 to 20+ minutes on a call in the first place. This could all be done online.
CALLERS SUBJECTED TO DECEPTIVE MARKETING? SURE SEEMS THAT WAY TO ME
During every call I have made to register QuickBooks for my clients, I have been subjected to upselling and cross-selling of other QuickBooks products and services. QuickBooks says that I have to call and get a software validation code in order to complete the registration process. It does NOT say that I will be forced to listen to marketing pitches for other products and services in order to obtain this code.
Thousands of other callers have been subjected to the same insulting behavior.
USING PUNCHED CARDS TO GENERATE THE VALIDATION CODE?
Every caller during the registration process has heard these dreaded words - "please wait while I generate your validation code". And then the wave of upselling begins.
To the unseasoned QuickBooks user, they figure that it is mandatory for them to answer all the questions your representatives ask while "they are waiting for a validation code". The reality is this - with the exception of the question about how many computers QuickBooks will be used on, ALL of the other questions are to provide the opportunity to upsell the caller, nothing more. They have NOTHING to do with obtaining a software validation code.
To the seasoned QuickBooks user that has just plunked down a pretty penny to upgrade to a newer version of QuickBooks,some of them are on to the registration charade and refuse to answer the questions. Others aren't wise enough to know of your games and fall victim to the same upselling pressure that first time callers receive.
After personally enduring this headache for years when I call on behalf of clients, I tell the rep right up front I don't want to hear any marketing or promotional pitches. So what do they do instead? They put me on hold "while they generate the validation code". I've been on hold as long as 10 minutes waiting for them to return to the line.
Seriously - are you using punched card readers to generate these codes?
WHY DO ACCOUNTANTS GET SPECIAL TREATMENT?
Honest. I tried to get the attention of your management team before deciding to press the gas on this issue.
After having some very candid dialogue with one of your high level executives, I was told, and I quote - "Currently, we have a high customer satisfaction rating with the QuickBooks registration process".
Really? Your team actually believes that? I can only surmise that the respondents had smoked crack before filling out their survey.
I do give you credit though...
As part of the dialogue with your executive, Intuit did make a change. And the change was to let any accountant use an online registration process to get their QuickBooks registered if they were using the Accountants Edition of QuickBooks.
That is a step in the right direction.
What about the other 80+% of users that are NOT accountants? Why didn't you just make one change that impacted EVERYONE at the same time? Why do accountants get the special treatment?
I KNOW WHY THEY GET SPECIAL TREATMENT
My theory is that your mounds of marketing data indicated that your upsell/cross-sell rate for accountants was nowhere near as high as it was for the small business users of QuickBooks. Many accountants are on to your registration charades, and don't buy anything. So why waste call center time on them.
Unfortunately, the small business owner that doesn't know any better DOES buy things because he is pressured into it. I have even been told that some representatives insist on getting the callers credit card number to purchase a support plan or else they would not provide the validation code.
OTHER SOFTWARE COMPANIES MAKE IT A SNAP, NOT A BIG HASSLE
- I registered Peachtree completely online. I could call to register IF I wanted to.
- I registered Microsoft Office completely online. I could call to register IF I wanted to.
- I got hassled to register my QuickBooks on the phone.
WHAT IF SOME ENTERPRISING CLASS-ACTION ATTORNEY GOT HOLD OF THIS?
I am hopeful that you find a way to stop this nonsense - and stop it now. I have filed a complaint with the FTC about this process and am hopeful they will step in and take a look at what is actually happening during the registration process.
Believe it or not, I'm on your side, having worked with QuickBooks since the '99 release. Just think of what some enterprising attorney could make out of this deception if they wanted to?
Mr. Smith, as CEO of Intuit, you can make this whole headache go away with one phone call to your programmers. I hope that call is made very, very soon.
I and thousand of other QuickBooks users would like to hear your perspective on this issue. Please post a comment below.
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