I was reading the article “Why Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn don’t offer customer support on phone”. I have been watching the customer support related to payment offered by cloud providers.
Today I make use of broadband internet from a internet service provider at home. I make use of monthly subscription plan and make payment to the internet company at the end of the month. When there are unknown charges in my bill. I call the internet service provider and refute the chargesand there is possibility of them to be removed prior to payment. When I delay payment, I am expected to pay late fees or fine.
- I use the service and pay for the service, with an opportunity to review bill.
- The bill comes to my home through regular post or a document is received in my inbox. I have physical record or digital record in my email inbox.
- The customer understands that there is a minimum payment to be done whether the service is consumed or not.
I also make use of Skype calls. Here i pay $10 in advance that can be used in a specific fashion and needs to completed within a time period. This is nice and I make my calls and the money gets deducted based on the calls made by me.
- I pay for the service and use the service with a confidence that the money that can be spend on the account is limited to what I have paid.
- The invoice is provided me right at the time of payment and have physical record for my purchase or digitla record in my inbox.
- The customer understands that the service needs to be consumed within time period for which the payment done.
Some of the above services provide an option called “Confirm and Pay” in collabration with banks, where customer can reach his bank website and initiate payment process to the provider.
Let me look at the cloud providers like amazon, azure or google app engine. They ask me to provide the credit card details to use of the service. At the end of the subscription period, they charge me first and then send an email.
The email does not have a digial copy of the bill and provide a link with the statement “This e-mail confirms that your latest billing statement is available on the XXX web site. Your account will be charged the following: Ple $money. Please see the Account Activity area of the XXX web site for detailed account information:”
When I click on this link, it goes to account login page where i need to login. Once you login, you need to search for the bill and then you need to search more to understand the nuances of the bill when there is a dipute. It is not easy to find details. Assume that there is a dispute, one needs to write email to support center. There is no phone support and some of them have started to add them now.
- I give credit card details and I have no idea what i need to pay.
- The bill or invoice is not send across to me. Alas! They email with URL link to search bill.
- As consumer there is very less information available for me to understand better with the additional risk of being charged unfairly.