Trend Micro’s Sales Tactic: Annoyance


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faithful readers know, I recently purchased a new (to me, as the car
lots say) Dell laptop. It came with a 30-day free trial of Trend
Micro Internet Security. So far, so good. And at the end of the
30-day trial, a warning message popped up stating that I was no
longer protected, and I should purchase a subscription. Fair enough.

However, I wasn’t sure I wanted to purchase protection from
Trend Micro, and I knew that I wasn’t ready to purchase at that
point in time. My options on the pop-up window were to buy or to “remind me later.” I took the third option and just closed the
window with the convenient “x” at the top right.

The next day, the Window popped up again, and I did the same.
And the next day, and the next, and the next. I tried to figure
out how to just say no, simply because I was so annoyed, but,
alas, there was no way to do it that I could figure out.

Finally, because I couldn’t take it anymore, I hit the buy
button—maybe if I at least looked at the offer, the pop-ups would
stop haunting me. I looked at the offer (which seemed fair, but,
being the sometimes petty person I am, I was determined to protect
my computer in some other way), left the Web site, and then, the
next day, the pop-up came back!

Out of spite, I looked at a few competitive sites to see what
they offered. I was somewhat dismayed to find that Trend Micro
offered the best deal for a multi-year subscription. But another
vendor had an almost equivalent price per year, so I seriously
considered punishing Trend Micro for their irritating use of
irremovable pop-ups by making the alternate purchase. Four
things stopped me: 1) I’m cost conscious, 2) I like purchasing
multi-year subscriptions so I can buy and forget about it, 3) Trend
Micro wouldn’t know I was punishing them, so I wouldn’t get any
real satisfaction, and 4) it probably wouldn’t have stopped the
pop-ups? So I bought the darned thing—just so it wouldn’t
keep nagging me!

Trend Micro made a few more major customer experience mistakes
when I downloaded and attempted to install the software:

  • The download process told me that I had to close certain
    applications in which I had multiple open documents and which I
    was actively working on. I didn’t want to close at that time,
    but I didn’t really see an option for how to postpone the
    download and then restart it at a later time.
  • Then, I got some confusing messages about my system being
    incompatible, but there were no instructions about what to do—at
    least that I could find.
  • So, I contacted Trend Micro at the support phone number on
    their Web site, but could not get to a person. I was just
    referred back to the Web site, which didn’t help since I was
  • I finally contacted Trend Micro sales phone line because I had
    learned in the past that if a company thinks you’ll give them
    money, they will let you talk to someone. The sales person did
    indeed talk to me and transferred me to the support center,
    where I got a person on the line. (So that transfer happened as
    it should, but it is part of the story, so I feel obligated to
    mention it.)
  • The support person was helpful until I said that I had a Dell
    laptop. It seems that if you purchase Trend Micro for the Dell
    platform, there is a whole different support center. I asked to
    be transferred, but Gail, the customer rep, said I had to call
    them; she couldn’t transfer me. When I got snippy, as I am wont
    to do when faced with seemingly ridiculous customer experiences,
    she got sarcastic, which, of course, is a great way to win
    friends and influence people.
  • I called the other number, which turned out to be in another
    country, and was again told I had to be transferred, but this
    time the transfer went through. I asked the support person if he
    worked for Dell or Trend Micro, and he said Trend Micro. (So
    why did I have to go to another contact center, and why couldn’t
    I be transferred? He didn’t know.)

The ultimate result was that my software had, indeed, downloaded
even though it hadn’t told me that the installation was
complete. All that time on the phone was unnecessary.

The one good thing: the pop-ups stopped. But, although the
protection seems to be doing a fine job, nagging a customer
until they purchase isn’t a great relationship builder. They got
my business, but they also got this write-up.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ronni Marshak
Patricia Seybold Group
Ronni Marshak co-developed Patricia Seybold Group's Customer Scenario® Mapping (CSM) methodology with Patricia Seybold and PSGroup's customers. She runs the CSM methodology practice, including training, certification, and licensing. She identifies, codifies, and updates the recurring patterns in customers' ideal scenarios, customers' moments of truth, and customer metrics that she discovers across hundreds of customer co-design sessions.


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