LinkedIn or LinkedOut?

Those of you who read my blog regularly (well, all 5 of you) know that I like to bring up interesting customer service experiences. Do I have more than my fair share? Am I a demanding customer? I tend to think that I am not, just that I expect people to be competent at their jobs. But, please correct if I'm wrong or share your own stories.

The promise of web 2.0 services is great. In general, I absolutely love the way the Internet has leveled the playing field for so many, allowing the world to connect in a way never before seen. Along with the myriad of websites I subscribe to and sites I regularly visit, is a nice MySpace type site for business professionals, called LinkedIn. For contacting colleagues or finding new business opportunities, the site has many nice features. So far as I can tell, they uphold their promise to restrict open access and spamming. So much so, that again I paid for a premium subscription. As I start getting more into the world of online media, access to key contacts is a must. However, over the past 6 months I realized I've only really been using the basic features of the site, not the features I was paying for.

Another nice feature of their website, is that people who are premium subscribers still see messages all over the place to upgrade. Huh? I thought I already did that and I'm paying $19.95 a month for it. That makes it more than a bit confusing. Am I actually getting the services I paid for? If so, why do you keep telling me to "Click here to upgrade?" My credit card certainly knows that I have already paid for premium service.

So imagine my amusement when I recently sent an email to LinkedIn, to cancel my premium subscription. (Of course although you can upgrade automatically online, there is no such option for canceling the account in a similar manner.) The only way to cancel is to contact them through the website - no phone number, even for paid subscribers. According to my status as a premium subscriber, I am entitled to a "1 business day" turnaround time on my customer service requests.

Note the lag of 9 days! 9 days! I'll say it again just in case you didn't get it the first 2 times, 9 days! Just to get a 4 sentence response that doesn't even make sense? Ok, well it makes sense after rereading 4 or 5 times. After this, I asked them why the response took so long. Check out also their lame-o reply. (Emails go from my original cancellation request to their final response.)

On Nov 20, 2006, at 8:17 AM, K********** wrote:

I would like to cancel my premium subscription.

Please cancel my premium subscription. I am not using it all.


Subject: Re: I would like to cancel my premium subscription
Date: November 29, 2006 2:02:29 PM CST
To: k*****@*********.com

Thank you for your email. Your subscription has been canceled and will end on:59:59.0. Would you like to end your subscription now?

Your unused InMail credits will also expire on this day. If you do not use them by this date, please send an email to customer service, requesting they be reinstated.

N**** @
LinkedIn Customer Service

On Nov 30, 2006, at 11:53 AM, K************ wrote:

Dear N*******,

Thanks for your reply, however I do have a minor question. Why did it
take so long to get this message out? I really would have preferred to
cancel my subscription immediately and save myself the $20. I realize
Thanksgiving fell within this time frame. However, as a paying
subscriber, the site says that I am entitled to a one business day
turnaround time on any questions, but this response came 9 days (7
business days) later.

Just wondering if you guys are totally swamped over there....



Thank you for your email. Member feedback is essential to our business and greatly appreciated. Your comments will allow us to build a better product in the future.


B*** S*******
LinkedIn Customer Service