Blessed are the disruptors (pirates) for they shall be less of a pain in the backside than the incumbents (bandits) who can get into all sorts of nasty little habits. Here is our experience at Business of Software for having a phone number so sales people can call us and make terrible pitches for products we would never want in a million years (this = 99% of all calls in past three years).
Here is my personal view of two providers of providers of a really simple thing – a telephone number.
They are rated on 3 things – price, cancellation policy, how they made me feel. Not very scientific but I don’t care, if companies and software can make me feel such extremes of emotion, I feel free to share my feelings.
JConnect (No link given, not getting any Google Juice from us).
Neil set this account up in 2007 when it was literally the only option available SO I AM NOT BLAMING HIM TOTALLY, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FOR THIS. :-)
Pricing (Not very obvious from their website, they really prefer you speak to a sales adviser to set this up)
Monthly cost of two telephone numbers = £20.92 (about $30 per month).
We usually have about 5 minutes of inbound calls on this number per month. The last time we got a fax was in 2009.
It is almost impossible. Seriously.
You know you are probably not doing business with the right sort of company when, if you Google, ‘How do I cancel a jConnect Account’, this is what you see. (Warning: contains swear words).
Wow. I tried to cancel the account a month ago when the credit card that was sucking our money out every month ran out. I ended up speaking to customer services (only took 40 minutes or so waiting for them to answer the phone). They were marginally helpful – need to make sure the account is active and has a valid credit card open in order to make amendments. Oops, they forgot to say that you cannot make the one amendment I wanted to – cancel the account – even though I had told them this is what I wanted to do. And now they have a new valid card number. And you can’t change it, cancel it or do anything else with it apart from spend more money on new numbers with them.
Despite emails, calls etc, we are still being billed, the sales guys are still calling (my favourite is the one who calls once a week to speak to, ‘Mr Joel at Software Business’ as she wants to offer her company’s services for web and mobile development. Good luck with that an all…).
I called my credit card company and report their behaviour and dispute the charges. This will take up to 60 days and the credit card company cannot stop any future payments they take, they will also ahve to be disputed in the same process. So I eventually I bit the bullet and worked out the quickest way to cancel.
It is simple, I just called up my credit card company to report my card as lost. All payments from that card will stop. Then I simply wait a few days for my new credit card to arrive and when it does, I will simply go to the accounts that we have for things like Amazon, web hosting, CRM systems, email, domain registration. There is only 32 monthly charges with different companies so it will only take a couple of hours to update.
How did this make me feel?
I want this company, (NASDAQ listed) to die. I want the executives and the investors to suffer bad things (not like horrible illness or death or anything like that, just an endless series of really annoying and inconvenient mishaps that they end up knowing are all down to their shoddy, unethical behaviour. Added bonus would be if they also knew that I had some karma related part in it). I would amused to hear that someone had scratched, ‘Rip Off Scamsters’, on every high performance car in their executive parking lot (DO NOT DO THIS. I AM NOT ADVOCATING IT AS A COURSE OF ACTION). I feel sorry for their other customers. I am left with a horrible sense that I am dealing with thieves. (Of course, I am sure that they are in fact wonderful upstanding citizens), but that is how they made me feel.
$1 per month for a number we get to choose. We chose 1 (267) 282-6736 largely because if you write it (+1 BoS at BOS DO)
$0.01 per minute for inbound calls. (This number is so low that there is no GBP equivalent)
Google ‘twilio cancellation policy‘
Don’t want it, switch it off any time. No charge. Done.
How does this make me feel?
Then, I send a note to technical support asking for some help on something, explaining I am a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. Seconds after I send it, I find the answer on the Twilio site. So I dropped a note to tech support cancelling the request. This is what I got back…
“Dear techno god,
I am thrilled to hear you were able to setup call forwarding with Twilio. It appears you have already discovered Twimlets, our hosted TwiML service. You can configure a variety of common use cases using Twimlets, and even chain many of them together using the ‘FailUrl’ parameter. You can find a list of available twimlets here:
You might also like our FAQ article with step by step instructions about setting up call forwarding using Twimlets:
I appreciate your compliments and want to ensure you’re successful with Twilio. If you have any other questions along the way feel free to ask – we’re here to help.
PS – I can assure you that by sending your last email you have saved the lives of 1000 kittens.
Do what you want to do but please do anything you can to make bad companies die and good companies thrive.
Next AMA: Alex Osterwalder, Author, Business Model Generation, 24th Jan 17.00 GMT.
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