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May 04, 2009

Adobe: Our Products Are Expensive - And Don't Buy the Downloads

Last night I told you that Adobe failed my expectations for an instant download experience of their Creative Suite, looking like the company preferred to review every single software download manually. Now more than 15 hours later, I'm no closer to having access to the product I purchased, and if their support infrastructure is any indication, it might be some time before this gets resolved.

Along the way, I learned the company still has a long way to go before embracing true e-commerce and satisfying savvy customers.

Support Experience #1

Having seen my order still labeled as "Pending" in the Adobe Online Store, I called their "Purchase by Phone" toll-free number listed on the site, to see if I could push the order forward. After exchanging pleasantries with the support personnel on the line, I explained this morning...
Me: "I ordered the download version of Creative Suite last night, and the order shows as Pending. Can you see if it can be fulfilled or canceled, or what I have to do to get it moving forward?"

Them: "Has it been more than 2 hours?"

Me: "Yes. I ordered it last night, and it still shows pending."

Them: "Then the order is dead. I've seen that a few times today."

Me: "Dead? So what do you recommend?"

Them: "Well, first I would recommend never buying the download version. Always get the disks. You get an authentication code, can install on two computers, and can uninstall from the disk. I would never get the download."

Me: "But the disks and the box take up a lot of space."

Them: "No they don't."

Me: "Well, I would prefer the download version. What should I do?"

Them: "I don't deal with the online store. Let me transfer you."
Support Experience #2

I get transferred to a main customer service line. The quality of the call noticeably decreases, and a man named "Jerry", with a clear Indian accent, picks up.
Me: "I made an order on the Adobe Online Store last night, and it is showing as pending. I can give you the order number."

Them: (takes number... puts me on hold)

Them: "Your bank probably stopped the order. It was a big order - more than $1,000."

Me: "That's what your products cost. And I don't think it's the bank. I used my credit card."

Them: "Let me check while it is still pending." (puts me on hold again)

(Hold music warbles in with more static than notes)

Them: "Sir, it is your bank. We have released it. You should call your bank."

Me: "That doesn't make any sense."

Them: "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Me: "No."
According to Adobe Online, my order is still pending. In theory, it could resolve this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week. I can't cancel it. I can't move it forward. I can maybe call the credit card company, but I expect to get nowhere. But what I have learned (again) is that big companies that let bureaucracy get in the way of their customers will never win the customer service game.

Hey Adobe, I have the money. If you think this order is too big, lower your prices. If you think I shouldn't download your product, don't offer it. And if your phone sales team can't see the online side, you should find a way to get them talking.