An Open Letter to Adobe

Dear Adobe–

I have finally received my Adobe CS3 upgrade package, thank you.

Since the upgrade process has not been a particularly smooth one, I thought I might share a few thoughts and suggestion with you that I think could help avoid problems like this in the future.

A quick recap of my situation:

  • I purchased Adobe CS2 Design Premium on 2007-04-27 and was eligible for an upgrade to CS3.
  • I tried to place an upgrade order through the Adobe web site, but discovered that online upgrade ordering is not available so I called in and placed my upgrade order to CS3 over the phone.
  • I was given an order number, and asked to FAX in my CS2 receipt to a number you provided – which I did 5 minutes later.
  • A week later I again called in to support to see what the status of my order was. I was told that my order was on hold because they had not received my FAXed receipt. Several friends had experienced the same problem so this was expected, and was the reason I called in. As requested, I resent the receipt attached to an e-mail.
  • Over the next month and a half I exchanged a dozen or so e-mails with one of your customer service reps. I was told that my order was delayed due to the CS3 upgrade product being out of stock.
  • On 2007-06-15 I got a call from your customer service rep to verify that I was indeed waiting for the Spanish version of CS3. Um, no I am waiting for the English version. Apparently, this is why my order has been delayed – because it was placed for the wrong version of the product, which was out of stock. A new order was placed for the correct version.
  • On 2007-06-22 – nearly 2 months after my initial upgrade order – I received my CS3 upgrade package.

I would like to note that during the entire process, the support staff I spoke with and exchanged e-mails with were polite and represented your company well. The support rep I exchanged e-mails with was also the one that finally noticed the error in the product being ordered and took the initiative to contact me.

All in all though, this was not a great experience for me – your customer. There were several places where the order process got off track, and the thing that frustrates me most is that all of these could have been mitigated or even eliminated by allowing your customers to place and view their orders online. Yes, you can see information online for orders placed online, but not for orders placed over the phone; and all upgrade orders must be placed via phone.

Specifically, if I’d been able to place the order myself it is unlikely that I’d have made the mistake of choosing the Spanish language version (which was the root cause of the longest delay). But even if I had ordered the wrong version (placing the order online myself), I would have been able to see the problem when I went to check my order status online and saw that the product I had ordered was the wrong one.

I also should have been able to see that the FAXed receipt hadn’t been received, and probably cut a few days off of the wait there as well.

Being able to do this all online myself would have changed me from a helpless customer waiting for something to happen to an informed customer that could have helped get things back on track when they went awry. It also would have saved you money in support costs; you would have avoided an hour or two in telephone and e-mail support.

My company, Crowd Favorite, provides web development and user experience consulting services and would be be very pleased to have an opportunity to talk with you about the user experience of your ordering process and the benefits of making all of your ordering information available online for your customers.

Thanks for listening.

Your customer,
–Alex King

Founder, Crowd Favorite