My WAYMISH Moment OR Why I Love MailChimp

One of the keys to success in business is understanding the things we do that keep us from being successful  (and then stop doing them), just as we must understand the things we must do in order to be successful (and then do them). Without both of those pieces, failure is almost a certainty.

WAYMISH is an acronym for “Why Are You Making It So Hard” [for me to give you money?]. Hopefully it goes without saying that all the WAYMISHes within your business are part of what is keeping you from success. (By the way, if you are wildly successful but still putting up roadblocks for people trying to give you money, then perhaps you are in a situation where qualifying your prospects is key to your success. Not the case here but it is often true.)

I want to share a recent experience that just screamed to be shared as a WAYMISH moment.

I manage an email list for a client. The list has 37,000 names, and is composed completely from their customers. They don’t even have a signup form on their site (a mistake that I am working with them on fixing…). This is a mainstream company that sells a piece of specialized engineering software that has been around for decades. In other words, they are almost the opposite of a spammer. They are a professional company, communicating monthly with their own customer base.

The list is currently managed by MailChimp. I love MailChimp. I’ll tell you why later on. And I am sticking with MailChimp. I know that everything we need to do can be accomplished through them. But I admit that I had a brief flirtation with aWeber. Many people recommended aWeber to me, particularly for their autoresponders. So I thought I should at least check it out. After all, this client spends $240/month just for their email service. I wanted to make sure they were getting the best possible value.

So… to the WAYMISH moment. I started at MailChimp.com, where I see a simple, clearly visible tab – Pricing. Great – I can quickly see how they compare to aWeber. When I click on the MailChimp tab, I see their pricing for all levels – even up to 500,000-subscriber lists! They have examples of lists and pricing up to 3,000,000 (yes, that is 3 million… a world I don’t yet visit).

Next I popped on over to aWeber. Oh – look at this! They also have an easy to see tab marked “Pricing”. (Just try finding that at Constant Contact, another competitor of both of them…) So I click on the pricing tab, and here’s what I see:

Hmm… a lot about signing up, and a lot of focus on lists with less than 500 names. I’ve got a list of 37,000 and growing. Ok, there in very small print there’s a reference to those of us with more than 500 names on our lists. (Honestly I am not sure I have ever worked with a list that small… although you do have to start somewhere…) And here’s what I see next:

Oh dear – although the magic curtain of “more than 500″ is now unveiled, they really don’t want to tell me what this is going to cost. “Contact us”. (You never write, you never call, and you don’t even give me your contact info.)

I’m looking all over the page. Surely there’s an email button that will let me send them a message (I mean, after all, this is an email marketing company…). Finally in the upper left, I see a button for live chat. I push it, and I am asked my name, my email address (why?????), and my question. I type in, “I am looking for monthly pricing for a list with 37,000 names.”

I wait a few moments, and finally someone begins to chat. They ask how they can help. Naturally I am thinking, “I just told you that…”

It goes like this:

Me: I am looking for pricing for 37,000-subscriber list.
aWeber: Can I have your website, please?
Me (a little cloud of annoyance beginning to form, but let’s be nice): (I enter the client’s website)
aWeber: Did these subscribers sign up at the website?
Me (my annoyance cloud is building to a thunderhead): Does it change the pricing?

At that point I was late for something else, so I closed the chat window. An hour or so later, I was determined to get my answer. Again, I was sure that I had missed their email contact form. Finally, in the tiniest font size, at the very bottom of the page, just above their copyright notice, I found the phone number.

I called. A real person answered – progress! And sure enough, once again, I found that they were insistent on investigating my list before they would even give me a price! I know there is an intimidation sales technique that involves making sure the buyer knows you have the upper hand, but let’s look at this situation. I had heard good things about the company. I was trying to do some very simple research on pricing before I went any further. I was seriously thinking about switching over to them, fickle soul that I am.

And here’s how they could have saved themselves time (which mostly definitely equals money) – by just giving me the number! Because I was fairly astounded when I learned it would be $288/month – over twice what a list that was half my list’s size would be!

I don’t want this to be just another whiny blog about how someone got ripped off. I do feel slightly ripped off – of time (the most precious thing in my life). But mostly I think is an absolute brilliant example of how not to do business. I was put on the defensive twice, unable to get a simple answer to a very simple, clearly-stated question, and then I was given a price that made absolutely no sense at all.

Here are all the things that, in my not at all humble opinion, aWeber did wrong:

  1. Why such focus on small lists (unless perhaps that is their niche -¬† I can’t say)? It made them look unprofessional to me – not one of the “big boys” of email marketing.
  2. Why hide key info and make me search for the link to display it?
  3. I should have been given a choice of chat or email support. Chat is a time sink.
  4. There was absolutely no reason to quiz me about my list before giving me pricing.
  5. Have pricing that makes sense! Why does a 37,000 name list cost over twice what a 25,000-name list costs?
  6. Don’t make it hard for people to call you. Encourage them to call you. The telephone is a powerful sales medium.

So, MailChimp, once again you have won my loyalty, if only through the bone-headedness of your competitor. I love how easy it is to find information on your pages. I love how your reports look. I am sorry that I got a bit fickle, but really, it was just a flirtation.

And for those of you reading this who don’t yet have a list – here’s a great thing. MailChimp is absolutely FREE for up to 1,000 subscribers. Not just for the first month but forEVER. They have clearly placed themselves in the “serious” category in terms of email marketing with this brilliant move. A BARGAIN for us at $240/month.

What about you? Have you had a WAYMISH moment recently? Did you flirt with trying to buy something, only to find yourself blocked by hard to find information, rudeness, stupid policy, or all of the above? And did it make you take a hard look at yourself, and your own business, to make sure that you aren’t doing something like this inadvertently?

2 Comments

  • By Chris Considine, January 23, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    Thanks SO much for continuing to get out the word on WAYMISH…Author and Speaker Ray Considine along with Ted Cohn wrote the book and spoke to 1000′s about this message of customer service. The campaign continues at WAYMISH.com with Lee as our new rep for the mantra! If there is anything we can do to help get the word out, let us know…
    Best
    Chris Considine Publisher

  • By admin, January 23, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    You are welcome! It is definitely a book that should be read by anyone whose business touches other people – whether consumers or other businesses.

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment