Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2013 BIZ: Another GTF story? "NEVER EVER get a Premium Account"

 "NEVER EVER get a Premium Account"
That is a resident speaking.  A person who used to have a premium account.
Something wrong here?  That is not the way you want marketing to work.  Even if the person no longer has a premium account, you want them recommending your product.  Even if they go away, you want them to go away happy.
After all, if they can't afford it right now, maybe they will be able to afford it in the future.  And  (this is S-tech) they will be communicating to other potential customers.  You want those communications to be favorable to your product.
Summary of the story in quotes

I was in SL for five years.
my roommate gave me a premium account as a gift.
my roomie couldn't afford to renew the premium account
"cool and fun" turned into SL Gulag and Death
my account, with five years of inventory, thousands of uploaded textures and all the files for my little biz was closed down. Permanently.
your hundreds of little Ozimal bunnies, your houses, your extensive wardrobe, all purchased exclusively from ligit SL businesses - none of that rip off crap..., your skin biz, your cool SL dog, you're dead.
When you call Customer Support, if you can wait out the abysmal hold times, you will talk to someone who does not care even a little, about anything except getting rid of you.
I was a fairly vocal fan
Just say NO to premium
This story appeared in the Community Forums a while back.  I have seen a number of similar stories in the forums and in various blogs.  The post drew a number of posts with explanations about how Linden Lab handles billing and accounts that become delinquent.

"...it is stated in the initial billing agreement that it is a continuous agreement and that the same payment method on file will be used for future billing cycles unless you downgrade to basic beforehand..."
So there your have it.  Linden Lab is in the right in its action.
This is the point at which I used to bring in this Thinkerer bit:
Here lies the body of Johnathan Grey,
Who died defending his right-of-way.
He was right--dead right--as he sped along.
But he's just as dead as if he were wrong.
--Burma Shave
Another comment from the responses
It is however unfortunate that Linden Lab does not send out reminders about this matter close to the renewal/expiry date 
Sorry.  It is not unfortunate.  Not a matter of fortune at all.  Amazon sends me a prior notice before shipping me a product that I subscribed for.  That is not the good fortune of Amazon.  It is good practice in the subscription business.  Almost everyone in the subscription business does it.  Even back in the era of the dead tree subscriptions, I got a notice that my subscription was about to be renwed automatically in accord with my request, along with instructions if I wanted to do something different.
Why doesn't Linden Lab follow that pratice?  I think the reason now is that they haven't reexamined the practice since back in the old days when they had more customers than they could handle.  
You see a problem in an organization, one of your first questions is: "Whose job is it to fix this?"
And the usual answer is dead silence.  Of course.  If somebody owned the job of fixing it, it would have been fixed.  Or that somebody would be trying to get through the obstacles to fixing it.  Or management would be asking that somebody how to fix it.
So how do you fix it?  You find somebody you think can go it, and give them that job.
Yeah.  Like LL just did with the billing problems.  But this one isn't even complicated.   It doesn't require a troubleshooting team.  You make up an email form that says things like:
We hope you have enjoyed your premium account this year. We want to remind you that your annual subscription is about to come up for renewal.
If you want to change your method of payment or the level of your membership, now is the time to do it.
To change your payment method, go here: (Insert url)
To change your membership level to basic (free), do this:
Sell or abandon any land you own
Go to this page: (insert url)
Then you arrange to have it sent to anyone with an annual payment method about seven weeks before the next payment is due.
Maybe you add a bit about what happens if the customer does not pay for the renewal.  At this point, there two potential routes.
Do you prefer this:
If you do not pay the renewal charge at the time time it is due, you account will be suspended and you will not be able to access that account until you have paid.   
or this:
If you do not pay the renewal charge at the time it is due, you account will revert to a basic account and you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of a premium account.
If you want to keep customers, which one would you use?   


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1 comment:

  1. Selby, excuse me, but this article makes no sense whatsoever. None. There are, actually, few benefits to the premium membership (which is a legitimate reason to not bother with it), but inventory is not (currently) one of them. It may be in the future (limited inventory for non-premium accounts to cut the load on the asset servers; but I'm dubious of even that).

    You don't lose inventory if you let your premium account lapse, I know that for a fact. That's a total falsification on the part of this complainer. As usual, when there is the "LL is evil" cry, I suspect circumstances that are not being revealed and now "getting even" is the motivation to complain.

    I'm kind of surprised you posted this, actually. Disappointing.