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Irritating Sales Calls

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Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
I first want to say that I like A la mode's software. I am very happy with it. I am planning on registering for a class this summer, if my schedule works, because I imagine that there is more I could do with it. I think it is great how often Mr. Biggers reads and posts on this site, and the few times I have called for tech support I have been very satisfied with it. Here is my question: What does it take to get the A la Mode sales staff to stop calling/faxing me. I have, many times, asked to stop the phone calls and faxes, yet I continue to get them. I have e-mail, and I read the ones from A la Mode. I have asked to have this be the only sales pitches I get, yet they continue to come by phone. There was about a six month period when it stopped. However, about a year ago, I received a call to re-up my service contract. I told the operator that it was ok to call about this one item, and the calls and faxes for EVERYTHING returned. I have asked, on more than one occasion since then to have it stop, yet it doesn't.

I apologize for the rant-like nature of this post, but I do not understand why a company with a product I like, and who I pay several hundred dollars a year for support that I hardly ever use, insists on ignoring my requests to stop the phone calls and faxes. There are other vendors, and I am starting to wonder if one of them isn't a possible alternative.
 

Dave Smith

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Michael:
The reason for your "rant" is the exact reason I quit considering WinTotal a few years ago when I was looking for new software. I got so..... many phone calls from them that I finally told them where they could put their software... in a very dark place. ;)
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Dave - I came close to changing this morning. I have changed other, non-appraisal, services based on continual sales calls while being a customer. I cannot figure out why a company would continually pester people who are willing to pay them already. It is a frustrating practice, and if it continues, I will change.
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Michael --

I'm checking into this, because our sales management system does indeed track what methods you've asked to be used to receive sales contacts. If you've asked for e-mail only, then it should work and not add you to telephone or fax contact lists.

However, let me be clear about something that a lot of people don't really think about. It would be very simple if WinTOTAL was all we sold. But since we've got InterFlood, Mercury, Vault, XSites, Pocket TOTAL, etc. -- all things which come from requests from users -- then we do indeed have to let you know about them, and calling and faxing are the most effective.

First and foremost, we are a revenue and profit generating firm -- and that's good for you. That's why the competition's breadth of products and depth of support are a small fraction of what we offer. Free maps, free flood data, free mail servers, free seminars, etc. all get paid from somewhere -- revenues. If we stop "selling", then we'd have to stop offering those things as well. And then what do you have? The same company you switched from.

Now, that's not to say there's no limit. Of course there is, and that's exactly why our system was built to handle the exclusions for people who don't want to be contacted. As I said, I've already asked our IT staff to find out why it's not working right. Your request to be taken off of the list should have been honored.

BTW, it was interesting that at the a la mode user seminar I taught at in San Antonio two weeks ago, people came up to me after I explained some of these products and how they interrelate with WinTOTAL and said "Why didn't you tell us about these before?".... so we're sort of damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Hi Dave. Thanks for responding, that is something I appreciate about A la mode. I understand what you are saying about the different products, and the fact that it is important to let people know about the different products. However, I do not want to get calls from anyone whose product I already pay for. I do read any e-mails your company sends me. In fact, the last call I received was about re-upping my service contract, and I asked to have any information e-mailed to me. I probably was a bit short with the representative, but after I explained my situation, she said (paraphrased here) "ok, but here is why I am calling." I had just explained why I didn't want any calls, and that only slowed her down.

I tried to explain my overall satisfaction with Athena in my first post, but this is something that I am not happy with. I am reasonably certain that stopping the calls to my house will not put you out of business. When I switched to Apex, it was from an e-mail notification, not a phone call.

I appreciate your looking into it.

BTW - I will be re-upping and am planning on signing up for a course. I have the e-mail with the dates still in my inbox. ;)
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Yeah, I understand. But, you also should be aware that someone who actually reads e-mail and responds to it is a rarity. E-mail response rates are a tiny fraction of response rates from sales phone calls. Here's a good way to see for yourself -- next week, tell all of your clients that you will make and take no phone calls and will schedule all appointments and communicate with all Realtors and clients via e-mail only. You'll be making phone calls within a day or two. ;-)

People just tend to set e-mails aside and get to them "later". Sometimes a phone call is the only way to get something acted on right now. Sad but true.

But, in your case, you should only get e-mails if that's what you requested. We'll also be improving web-based interactions with users, so that the program (WinTOTAL, etc.) can let you know what's important to your account instead of just via e-mail (not with annoying popups, either -- I hate those).

Personally, I wish everyone was like you. Then I wouldn't have a million long distance minutes a month and my revenue would be the same!

Dave

P.S. Your example of the contract renewal is a good one too -- do you know how many people call us screaming after they're cut off from maps and flood data after they let their contract expire, even though we called them a half dozen times and sent faxes and e-mails? It's amazing.
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Thanks, Dave. I will be looking for my contract renewal info in my e-mail. It hasn't arrived since I had my conversation, but when it does I will renew. Thanks again,

Michael
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
I don't think there's a way yet to renew your contract completely online from e-mail (part of the problem is that we have lots of people with multiple contracts covering satellite offices, and a web interface needs to handle all that correctly).

So, the e-mail can only say "Call us so we can do it"... Catch 22 I know, but that's just until everything can be done online. Believe me, we've been working on it a long time.

There is a warning that will pop up inside WinTOTAL however, reminding you and letting you renew there. Just do that and you'll be fine.

Dave
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Thanks to Dave Biggers, CEO of Alamode for responding directly to a complaint. Says a lot for the company! I hope Alamode will be having another seminar in Denver soon since I missed the last one due to the USPAP instructor seminar scheduled the same weekend.

I just purchased a HP Jornada 567 on ebay and am looking forward to getting pocket total up and running (another learning curve). Have had the program for a couple of years now and never used it. Still have two Velo 500s sitting in a box that never got used either.

Keep up the good work, Dave, there are may of us who really do appreciate you, your company, and your software.

I had a 2.5 hour conversation with one of your techs last week. He tried really hard to get my network straightened out but it still isn't right. I am using a Belkin 11mps wireless network with two pier to pier computers. It is impossibly slow working in Wintotal. I may have to scrap the whole thing and go back to individual installations of the program on both work stations. Everything else seems to work ok on the network but not Wintotal. In fact, I am using the secretaries computer right now and she is loading appraisals on my computer since it is faster.

Mike Garrett, RAA
Moderator of this Forum Topic :beer:
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Thanks again, Dave. I don't mind making a call to renew. I am not against making a phone call, only receiving phone solicitations. What I was hoping for is if there are any special offers, the kind that might be phoned to a person, if they could be sent out in e-mail.

Thanks again for your assistance.

Michael
 
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