Thursday, June 2, 2016

The World's Worst Newsletter Service

I've just concluded (hopefully I'll get a refund) one of the worst customer experiences of my entire life. Normally, I don't believe in calling out anyone in public. I think it's unprofessional and petty. However, in this case I feel I'm doing a favor to anyone who might consider using this service. This is a business and I am a business woman who is getting seriously screwed. I should share that, right? I mean, I don't want anyone else to have this same frustrating and infuriating experience.

The company I'm about to share my experience with is called SENDINBLUE. Run from them. Do not walk. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Run as hard and as fast as you can from them and their horrible service.

I'm going to be completely blunt about all of this. I found them during an extensive search for an affordable newsletter delivery service. And they are affordable. I can send 40,000 emails for only $7.37 a month. Who wouldn't jump on that?! It sounds great, right? Especially since I couldn't afford to upgrade my plan with Mad Mimi.

To begin with, the platform itself is not user friendly at all. They give little to no "help" information. You really have to just figure it out yourself. But, I was willing to do that because it was so cheap and I'm on a tight budget.

The real problems began with this ridiculous "account validation." They say they have to validate your account ONCE to get things started. They don't bother to inform you of this until you've already signed up and created your first campaign/newsletter. All right, fine. Validate me then. This can take 24 hours or more.

The whole reason I started looking for a new service was because I participated in a huge multi-author giveaway. Some of you may have seen me post about it on this blog. As entry into the contest, readers signed up for at least one of the participating authors' newsletters. Some people signed up for ALL of our newsletters. That's awesome, but it left me scrambling to find a service to accommodate all those email addresses.

From the moment I started trying to import contacts and actually use the service I was paying for, things went sour. Very sour. I have had to answer the same questions over and over again. In fact, I'm going to share the FIFTH message I sent to them word for word below.

I've been asked the same questions now several times. I'll answer again in the hopes of being able to use my account as soon as possible. The large contacts list that I imported originally came from a contest. Readers opted to sign up for my newsletter along with many other newsletters as extra entries into the contest. The landing page for the giveaway might still be active if I need to provide that as proof. Everyone on that list signed up of their own free will. I'm a writer, not a marketer /spammer. 

I feel like no one is reading my replies as I get the same response each time, asking me where I got my contacts. I would really appreciate it if someone would actually read my response and see that I'm telling the truth and just need to use the service that I'm paying for.

Each response from them is more vague and condescending. Oh, and once I even got an "important update" in Italian. I speak some Italian, however, I only glanced at this on my phone and sent a reply saying, "Sorry, I don't speak Spanish. All I got was that this message is important." At a glance, Spanish and Italian do have many similar words. What did I get from these jerks? A smartass reply informing me that the message was in Italian, not Spanish, then an off-hand apology. What I got from this particular experience was, these idiots don't even know what language I speak.

The thing that finally made me decide to throw in the towel (in only 3 weeks) was when they suspended my scheduled newsletter right before it needed to go out. Yeah, I wasn't so nice in this one.

It seems that this service is not capable of running smoothly. I was told that my account had been validated AGAIN. Then I got a message that my scheduled newsletter did not go out as planned because my contacts have not been confirmed. Are you kidding me? I haven't added anyone new since I was told my account was validated. I am trying to inform my readers of a limited time free book. If this takes much longer, the book will no longer be free. 

This is beyond inconvenient. I scheduled this free book on Amazon AND this newsletter in advance JUST TO SHARE WITH THIS LIST OF PEOPLE. 

I'm trying to not be rude about this, but I am so angry right now. This is totally unacceptable.

I was given some crap about how their validation process is soooo important and because my account had been UNVALIDATED THE DAY BEFORE FOR NO REASON, they were treating this as my first campaign, all over again.

No. This is not the way you treat people. I am DONE with SENDINBLUE. I want my freaking money back. Unfortunately, they can't give me back my time or the sleep I lost worrying with this mess.

I was so wrong about Mad Mimi. I wasn't going to pay $42 a month for the SAME service. I would be paying for a service that actually works, customer service that responds promptly and with knowledgeable answers, and to not be hassled 24-freakin-7 about ridiculous things.

So, what's next for me? I have to find a way to work $42 a month into my budget. That might not sound like much, but it is expensive for me.