OptimizePress: A Customers’ Critique of a Painful Customer Experience

optimizepress-painful-customer-experience

I’ve been an OptimizePress customer for a couple of years and generally have been happy with the product.

I go back and forth between OptimizePress and LeadPages and have ended up using both across my sites.

Today, I had a particularly frustrating experience purchasing a new template from OptimizePress…

…and I want to share that with you, along with my thoughts on what they could do better.

I’m going to try and be as constructive as possible with this post and provide some actionable recommendations that the OptimizePress team should consider implementing.

And I hope you’ll takeaway some insights on how to avoid delivering the same poor customer experience for your customers.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

I was working on building a new landing page today and decided to look in the OptimizePress Marketplace for a new template.

I found a couple of templates that looked promising and they were both $9 each. I couldn’t decide between the two, so was about to buy both of them, until I found a link to the OptimizePress Club.

The OptimizePress Club is basically a subscription service that gives you access to their library of templates and they regularly add new ones. And it was being offered for $17 per month.

So I figured, why not just signup for this and try out those 2 templates as well as a few others, and then pick the one that I was the most happy with.

And since I’d have access to their entire library, I figured I might want to update some of my other landing pages too.

So I went ahead and signed up for the $17 per month membership.

Problem #1: How Do I Login To Clubhouse?

After I submitted my credit card information, I got a confirmation page. Great!

I also checked my email and had an email confirmation of my purchase with an invoice.

So I click on the ‘Clubhouse’ link and it takes me back to the sales page again.

I figure, I must be doing something wrong, so I spend 5 minutes clicking around but have no luck getting access.

It’s like my payment didn’t go through — but I know it did and I have an email to prove it. So what’s up?

Next I go to their Help Center and start searching. And right away I come across this FAQ:

Not very helpful. I’ve been doing exactly what’s described on that FAQ page without success. So what should I do next?

Well, there’s a line right at the bottom of that FAQ page that says “Didn’t Find an Answer to Your Question?” and has a “Send us an email” button right next it. OK, that sounds like the next step.

So I click the “Send us an email” button…

…but instead of seeing a page with a email/contact us form, I’m sent back to the Help Center and all I see is a big search bar which basically takes me back to the same FAQ page that I was just on.

It’s basically an infinite loop — search for a solution to my problem, read the FAQ, click the “send an email button’, go back to the search page, search for a solution to my problem, read the FAQ and so on.

The next option was to submit a ticket. So I click the click “Submit a Ticket” link in the navigation. Guess what…

…I was back to the Help Center search page and stuck in the infinite loop again.

Here’s the results page that I’d see every time:

And each time, I’d see an answer for my problem (highlighted above) so I’d click that link.

Finally, I discovered that if you scroll right to the bottom of the search results page, there’s a button that you can click to submit a ticket (no option to send an email).

But it took me a long time to find that. I think most customers would have given up well before I did.

I’d wasted about about 15 minutes by now and was getting increasingly frustrated. I knew that if I submitted a ticket, I’d have to wait until the next day (because it was currently about 3am in the UK, so the OptimizePress folks wouldn’t be looking at it for another 7 hours — their support hours are Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm (London GMT Time).

Then I had an idea…

…maybe I should logout of the OptimizePress website and log back in. Guess what? That fixed my problem.

Recommendations

  1. Update the FAQ Page: If I had this problem, then there’s a good chance that some other OptimizePress customers will have this same problem too. So ask people to trying logging out and logging back in before they submit a ticket.
  2. Don’t Make It So Hard to Submit a Ticket: change the design of the ‘clone’ search page users get to when they click the email/submit ticket links so it’s not that hard to find the ‘submit ticket’ button. This won’t be a problem when the button is ‘above the fold’ but in my situation there were enough search results that the button got pushed down ‘below the fold’ and was too easy to miss. Or be smarter about what you show to the user i.e. if they’re already coming to that page after doing a search, don’t show them the search bar again.
  3. Fix the Bug with Access to Club Content: it seems like there’s a software bug after some people purchase the Club subscription. So most importantly, fix this bug so none of your customers have this problem and you don’t have to waste time providing support for this issue.

Problem #2: Where’s My Template?

So I think my problems are over and I can get on with building my landing page with the new template….

…how wrong I was.

The next problem I experienced was that I couldn’t find the template that I was going to buy. That was strange.

I thought I had access to the entire library. Nope!

I noticed this statement:

It says “You Have Access To The Templates In Silver Collection 1” and “Silver Collection 2 Unlocks In: 30 days”.

What? So I have to wait 30 days to get access to the ONE template from the library that I want?

No. It’s actually worse than that….

…if you click on the link “How does the Clubhouse status work”, it tells you that:

After 90 days of consecutive Clubhouse membership, members progress from the Silver Tier to the Gold Tier and unlock all of the benefits of the OptimizePress Clubhouse.

Wait up…so it might take me 90 days and $51 ($17/month x 3 months) to get access to the ONE template that I want?

Yeah, that’s right. Or I can upgrade to the annual plan for $149 and get access to my ONE template right now. WTF?

Did I miss the small print about these templates being ‘drip fed’ to me over a period of 3 months?

Well I don’t know, because once you’ve subscribed to Club membership, there doesn’t seem to be anyway to get back to that sales page. So I can’t even verify if it’s my fault for not reading the details properly or not.

And to add a ‘cherry on the cake’, they make it very clear that you don’t get refunds from the Club membership.

Recommendations

  1. Make Your Sales Page Clearer: this ones a little tough, because as I mentioned I can’t go back and access the sales page anymore. So maybe they did make it clear and I just didn’t read it properly. I’ll have to update this recommendation later when/if I get a chance to see that sales page again
  2. Limit Number of Templates, Not Types of Templates: I understand what they’re trying to do here. They don’t want people signing up for one month, downloading every template in the library and then canceling their subscription. I get that. But their current approach is all wrong — as my experience clearly shows. Instead of limiting the type of templates I can access in the first month, set a limit on the number of templates that I can download in the first month. That seems fairer and will still address your concerns about ‘theft'.

Problem #3: Where’s a Human Being?

By now I’m thinking, it was a stupid mistake to signup for the Club subscription. And I’m also thinking that I would probably have already completed my landing page if I’d used LeadPages instead.

But I’ve already wasted all this time, so I may as well see it through….

…so I decide that I’m going to cancel the Club membership and just eat the $17 that they won’t refund me. And instead, I just go ahead and purchase the $9 template from their marketplace that I wanted to use in the first place.

So I submit a ticket and figure maybe there’s someone over there who can help me.

I choose ‘refund’ from the possible categories, write a brief description of what happened and try my luck at getting a refund anyway.

A few hours later, I get this email:

It basically says the following:

  • They have a ‘fully automated’ refund process
  • I MUST click the link in the email or my refund will not be processed
  • Once processed, they’ll remove the API keys and OptimizePress will stop working

Whoa!! Let’s back up…

…I do NOT want to cancel my OptimizePress account. I’m just asking if you’ll consider a refund for Club.

But if I click the link, you’ll cancel my OptimizePress account and if I don’t click the link then you will ignore this ticket — because at the bottom of the mail it also says “We have now marked this request (Ticket 102582) as resolved”.

Can I just please talk to a real person and get this resolved? I know I could just login to my account and find the link to cancel the Club subscription, but I really feel like I need to share my feedback with a human being first — it doesn't matter if I get the refund or not, I just need to be heard!

I reply to the email, but still haven’t heard anything yet. I’ll update this when I do hear back.

Update: I received an email from Jonathan at OptimizePress with the following message:

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 11.06.46 PMThis one email made such a huge difference. Not just because they cancelled the subscription AND refunded my $17. But more importantly because a real person responded, empathized with my issues and said “I'm really sorry”.

Recommendations

  1. Make It Easier to Talk to a Real Person: sometimes your customers just need to talk to a real person. Or maybe they just need a feedback link so they can vent and let you know about the frustrating experience they just had. Make it easier for your customers to do just that.

Key Takeaways

OptimizePress are trying to address two key issues that most SaaS businesses have:

  1. How to reduce customer churn and increase lifetime value of each customer.
  2. How to automate as much support as possible to reduce workload for support staff.

And they should absolutely be solving these problems. But I don’t believe they’re going about it the right way.

My personal experience has shown that there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Yes, you should do everything you can to reduce customer churn, but find a better and fairer way (as I’ve recommended above) to drip feed templates in your library to your subscribers.

Yes, you should automate your support as much as possible, but don’t make it so ‘mechanical’ that it feels like there’s no human being on the other end who cares or even knows about our problems.

And make it easier for customers to provide feedback and let them know that you’re listening…

…you may not be able to address all the feedback, but you’ll be amazed how sometimes people just want to be heard and acknowledged.

I hope this post has provided some constructive feedback for the OptimizePress team. And I hope that my audience can also takeaway some insights on what not to do with their own SaaS product.

I wasn’t sure if I should write this post. Firstly, I didn’t want to spend the last 3 hours (while I’m supposed to be on vacation) writing this post. And secondly, I didn’t want it to come across as me just moaning about my experience.

I remember a quote (can’t remember where I read it) which reflects my beliefs about customer experience:

When a customer complains, it’s a gift – they’re giving you an opportunity to fix your product/service. The worst type of customers don’t complain, they just take their business elsewhere.

I hope that the OptimizePress team (if they ever read this post) take my feedback in the spirit that it was intended. And I hope that it helps them to improve their customer experience so other people don't have to go through what I did.

And I hope that it helps YOU to build a great experience for your customers

 

Omer Khan

Hi, I'm Omer, the founder of SaaS Club and host of The SaaS Podcast. I help early stage founders and entrepreneurs to build, launch and grow successful SaaS businesses. Join me on this journey.

14 Comments

  1. David Frosdick on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Omer, thanks for your detailed post regarding our processes and your experience at OptimizePress. I’ve taken the time to read your points and taken those onboard. We’ll have to check if it’s possible to limit the number of template downloads rather than template types.

    Yes you are right, like most SaaS companies we are always looking at ways to improve our support experience for the user and reduce the load on our support team. Over 90% of the 100+ tickets we receive each day and are already answered in our knowledgebase or they are questions about plugins/conflicts unrelated to OptimizePress.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences and we’ll work on those areas above.

  2. Omer Khan on January 17, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Hi David

    Thanks for taking the time to read the post and to comment. I’m delighted to hear that you’re using the feedback to continue to make improvements. I think OptimizePress is a great product and generally my support experience has been great. Hopefully, me sharing my experience will help to make it even better.

    I’d love to get James to join me on my podcast and share the founder’s story of OptimizePress, as well as the challenges you guys are facing and lessons you’re learning as the business grows. I know that will be incredibly helpful to lots of other entrepreneurs.

    I did invite James some time ago but never heard back. Maybe you can ask him again? If he’s up for it, just email me at omer [at] conversionaid [dot] com and I can send details.

  3. Ulrike Selleck on March 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Yes! I heartily agree. I had to reach out to OP support three times, and in all cases the answer took several days, in two out of three was highly superficial and inaccurate, and I had to figure out a lot myself. Now, I just had to write them again, since I can not find the activate button to activate the theme on wordpress. So frustrating. I am considering switching to leadpages… I wish they had a help desk right there, or a chat like Godaddy, which as amazing customer service. Really needs to be more easily accessible if it wants to surpass leadpages and stick around. It’s easy enough to work with as a theme and Id like to stick with it. Thanks for this article.

  4. Lee on August 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I just had the same type of thing happen to me. I’m building some WordPress sites for a company that I work for… so I ordered using our company credit card (declined).
    But then I realized that our WebSense filters sometimes prevent orders from going through, so I tried again (declined agained).
    Now, I’m starting to wonder… because our company’s available credit limit is huge in comparison to the $97 Core package price.
    So, I decided to just order it with my personal credit card… declined again. What??? This can’t be!
    So, I checked my Barclay card activity report… and the purchase was authorized by Barclay!

    After ready the full post in detail… I think my attempt to purchase the $97 Core + $17 Club package (at the same time, on the same ticket) caused the error.
    So, now I definitely have an authorized personal credit card charge (maybe 2 more authorized company credit purchases).
    And I do not have any access to any of the OptimizePress products that I’ve already been billed for, because I wasn’t sent to a Thank You page or sent any confirmation emails either.

    I’m actually wondering whether I’ll be satisfied with the product at this point, given that they haven’t figured out what appears to be quite obvious… which is to never ask for the single purchase + a monthly subscription purchase at the same time.
    How can they have been in business this long & not seen this problem before?

    I also had a terrible time getting out of the infinite loop… was more aggravating than anything. I’m sure it’s designed this way to force users to look at FAQs first.
    But, it should be easier to find for new buyers!

    Lastly, I can’t believe that I have to wait 24-48 hours until I can even get a response… and I can only hope that it’s not another 24-48 hours for the next ones thereafter.
    I’m fed up! And the really sucky thing is that I think it’s my best option, besides letting ClickFunnels control my content.

    • David Frosdick on August 30, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Hi Lee, if there was an error during purchase then you would not receive any emails.

      What is your full name so we can find your order and get you setup?

      • Lee on August 30, 2016 at 12:26 pm

        CreditGuardUSA was the company name in the 1st order.
        Lowell L Kendrick was the 2nd personal order.

      • Lee on August 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

        The 1st 2 order attempts were for CreditGuardUSA.
        The last order attempt was Lowell L Kendrick.
        You can email me at [email protected] if you need more details.

        • David Frosdick on August 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          Thanks for that. I’ll find out what’s been setup in who’s name. Look out for an email from us soon.

          • Lee on August 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

            I appreciate you taking the time to look into this.



          • David Frosdick on August 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

            No problem. I can see that we replied to your first question within 44 minutes 🙂

            The reason we say 24-48 is only to set expectations.

            To explain, when Anne replied to you it was nearly 5pm here in the UK. Knowing that our office closes at 5pm we couldn’t say we’ll get this fix shortly as we know our accounts team won’t be in until 9am the next morning, UK time.

            Out technical support team don’t have access to new account creation and billing details. Obviously with the error that accured the automatic account creation didn’t trigger. I appreciate it’s frustrating to read 24-48 hours. I will try and have someone look at this tonight but it’s late here in the UK so it may be first thing in the morning once we correct the account, make various refunds where needed and send you your login.

            Thanks so much for your patience.



  5. GLEN on November 22, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I AM RUNNING IN TO THE SAME ISSUE. I PURCHASED A CLUBHOUSE MEMBERSHIP. AND WHEN I PURCHASED THERE WAS EXACTLY 1 TEMPLATE AVAILABLE. A DAY LATER AND AFTER LOGGING IN AND OUT, I GOT ACCESS TO A BUNCH MORE AND AN EXPLANATION OF THE DRIP FEED.
    THEN A FEW DAYS AFTER THAT, I AM BEING TAKEN TO THE SALES PAGE AGAIN. WHEN I SUBMITTED A TICKET THEY RESPONDED SAYING MY OPTIMIZEPRESS MEMBERSHIP HAD EXPIRED. I ALREADY KNEW THAT, BUT I WANT THE TEMPLATES THEY ARE CHARGING ME 17 / MONTH FOR.
    OF COURSE THERE IS NO WAY TO CALL THEM, SO EVERY DELAY COSTS SEVERAL DAYS. MY FIRST 30 DAYS ARE ALMOST UP, AND I CAN’T GET ANY WORK ACCOMPLISHED.
    VERY FRUSTRATING. I’VE BEEN A VOCAL ADVOCATE OF OPTIMIZEPRESS, BUT THAT IS GOING TO FADE VERY FAST.
    SORRY IF THIS IS IN ALL CAPS, I’M HOPING THEY GO AWAY WHEN I POST, BUT MY CAPS LOCK IS OFF, I SWEAR :-),

  6. Linda on May 11, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I’m quite late to this party, but thought I’d mention that a similar process happened to me in March of this year (2017). Frustrated me so much, that I’ve decided to change themes. OP is just too hard to work with. Seems like the effort to automate as much as possible has removed the service in customer service. Ideally they’d hire a couple of useability experts to go through scenarios and solve problems from the customer point of view.

    • Jason Ryer on September 8, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      …and I’m even more late to the “party” and suprprised to see that I’m experiencing the same issues TWO YEARS LATER…

      It seems Optimize Press hasn’t done much to improve their payment, onboarding and customer service.

      A friend of mine recommended OP so I gave it a shot. Somehow payment only went through for the Club account and not for the main optimizepress service.

      Customer service asked me to pay via PayPal since my credit card payment didn’t go through initially. So I did. And they activated my account. Good news! … I could use OP and went ahead and built a sales page with one of their templates.

      But then they sent me a refund and asked me to go back and pay through the website instead.

      I thought it was a little much asking a customer to jump through all these hoops just to get signed up.

      Because they granted me access, I went ahead and used the service for a month and, knowing that I had a month to try it out, I asked for a refund for the Club account and told them I wanted to pay for the primary optimize press service.

      But I didn’t hear back – so it seems they weren’t very eager to collect my money and rectify the situation.

      However, the monthly optimizepress Club charges kept coming. So I asked them again to cancel and they sent me to their website to jump through some hoops in their automated process (meaning they don’t use humans to help you out!).

      I went ahead and paid for the primiary OptimizePress service and I also canceled the OP Club. However they wouldn’t give me a refund – in spite of all the issues. So I simply disputed the charges on my card.

      Now I’m seeing that they issued a refund for the primary service and revoked my access to their service – leaving me locked out and with a broken sales page on my website.

      I’m not sure why this is the case and my latest inquiry has yet to get a response.

      So far this has been a painful experience and I will recommend that people steer clear of using Optimize Press if they are concerned at all about getting any kind of reasonable customer service.

      Here I am – Now stuck with a broken website and no word from Optimize Press. This may all turn out to be a big waste of time and money.

      • Omer Khan on September 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

        I switched to Thrive Themes after that experience and have been a very happy customer for a couple of years. You might want to check them out too. Good luck!

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