Yesterday, I closed my account on Facebook.
Not a reaction to the mass panic about privacy issues, although I was troubled by some of the aspects there, but simply because I don’t actually use the service any more.
It never really appealed to me, being a rather fussy website with far too much bloat, and the groups/fans pages had no (obvious to me) way of informing me when new conversations had started without my manually checking them each day.
I actually thought I closed the account some months ago, but recently realised that it was just suspended, and with the ho-ha about how they change privacy details without users permissions, I decided it was time to dig out the details and close the account completely. Just in case.
The issue is – and it is one that I have with a surprising number of companies – is the loops they make you go through to close an account.
Facebook first needed me to reactivate my account, then I had to find the buried option to close the account – then it will take 14 days for them to run a simple request on their database. To top it all off, if I accidentally click back into the Facebook website over the next couple of weeks, my request to close the account will be cancelled, and I’ll have to go through the whole process again. As a lot of people – stupidly in my opinion – link to 3rd party websites via a link on Facebook, I am now in mortal dread of accidentally clicking on a BIT.LY type cloaked weblink and reactivating my account.
I would like to close my LinkedIn account as well, not because I don’t use the site any more, although I don’t – and I would prefer to keep the account open simply as it could be useful for job hunting in the future. No, I am just sick and tired of the “person you never heard of claims to be a friend” emails that constantly flow my way – and the incredible difficulty in blocking them.
I have a number of email addresses which are set up purely as front-ends to automated systems I run, and these “machines” get invites to link with people.
To get LinkedIn to block invites to each email address is a torturous process – and at the end of it you get a fairly surly email offering dire warnings that once blocked, it will never ever be possible to use that email address again. Ever – until time itself ends!
So, I can’t actually close the account and put a temporary block on invites – as the word “temporary” doesn’t exist in LinkedIn’s dictionary. Neither does the word “spam” either, as any email sent to one of my machine addresses has to be spam, unless the sender actually has had relations with a machine?
Two websites, out of many that make the final moments of a relationship as unpleasant and nasty as it is possible to be.
How different when a company accepts it is going to lose you as a customer, but rather than going into a sulk about it, they decide to make the leaving process as easy and painless as possible.
My final experience of the company is an uplifting and positive one – and they now know that should I be seeking to switch providers in the future, they will not be “blacklisted” as an option.
Wouldn’t it be nice if more companies took the long-term view about customer relations and realised that losing a customer today is not the end of the relationship, but is actually the start of the process where they try to persuade me to rejoin them as a customer.