Dale: So, we just got a termination letter from Amalfi Global.

Don: Shut up. Why?

Dale: I don’t know yet. I haven’t seen the letter.

Don: Damn, they’ve been with us for like…8 years? Hashtag “stunner.” I just met with them last week.

Dale: That’s not good…for you. Did they seem unhappy?

Don: I don’t think so.

Dale: Well, they either did or did not seem happy.

Don: They didn’t seem unhappy, ok?

Dale: What did you guys talk about?

Don: I walked them through our latest version–you know, the feature updates and patches.

Dale: OK.

Don: And um…I told them about our Customer Success Summit in September.

Dale: Uh huh.

Don: We also talked about our vacations. He’s going to Bali.

Dale: OK. So he didn’t seem unhappy.

Don: He was happy about going to Bali.

Dale: OK… Did he say what Amalfi is up to?

Don: I don’t think so. Does Grant know they’re leaving?

Dale: I don’t know. Wait, here’s the letter from Amalfi.

Don: What’s it say?

Dale: Are you listening?

Don: Yes.

Dale: No, Don, the subject line says, ‘Are you listening?’ That’s not good…for you. OK, here goes.

After 9 years of largely very positive experiences with your product, we are switching to your competitor, effective immediately. Your product continues to function well, and the support team is generally responsive. The pricing has been reasonable. The product documentation is clear and useful. 

So is theirs.

Here’s the issue:

In the last three years I have received from your company, like clockwork, a semi-annual series of carefully scripted and rather one-way visits. Strangely you refer to these as “Customer Check-Ins,” which implies you are interested in my perspective on what’s happening. It seems “Customer Check-In” actually means you are there to update me and my team on what your company is doing and then ask if we have any vacation plans.

After the first two meetings (or Vendor Monologues, as we sarcastically call them) I started counting how many questions you ask us. Questions such as, “How’s business at Amalfi Global? Are you guys hiring? What are the firm’s 12-24 month business priorities? How is your team expected to contribute to those goals?” Those would have been helpful to us but mainly to you. The total number of questions you asked us in the last four meetings, counting the vacation questions? Three. Less than one question per meeting.

So let me land this plane.

If you had asked even the most basic questions or done the simplest homework, you would have known that we recently acquired our largest competitor. This has two implications: First, we will be adding about 500 additional users. Second, we are moving to a cloud-first approach across our enterprise, which will reduce capex and help offset the integration expenses.

What’s that you say? You have a SaaS offering as well? Yes, I know. I got a call from your inside sales rep about that. Too bad he couldn’t answer my questions. And I guess those questions never made their way back to you.

Meantime, here’s what your competitor did: They asked us a few basic questions about our business—not our technical requirements but our actual business, listened to our answers and challenged a few of our assumptions. Then they helped us identify 6 or 7 new use cases where we can leverage their product (which, again, is basically the same as yours) and helped us build a business case for each one. They didn’t ask about my vacation, but I’ll give them a pass on that.

You also might be interested in how we came to engage with your competitor. Of course they’ve been trying to meet with us for years but we had no real incentive to take action. About four months ago they sent over a very comprehensive piece of research they’d done—not one of those awful, faux white papers companies produce these days—that happened to be extremely relevant and useful—with only a minimum of vendor bias. So we met with them.

Even though you don’t seem to like to ask questions, I assume someone there would ask why we left. So there it is.

P.S. Thank you for the invitation to the Customer Success Summit, but I will not be attending.

Dale: Harsh.

Don: Is anyone cc:d?

Dale: Grant.

Don: (sigh) Hashtag “time to update the old resumé.”

 

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