How Not to Delight a Customer

According to an article in Forbes, delighting the customer is not just profitable, but hugely profitable. It’s a win-win situation, both for the companies who pursue ways to delight the customer, and for the customers themselves.

I’ve just been on the receiving end of the opposite experience: disappointing the customer; and the company who provided this experience was Microsoft.

When the Surface 3 was announced, I wrote that it promised to be a good machine. It would suit me very well indeed. As a result, I pre-ordered a Surface 3, and it duly arrived on the release date of the 7th May.

It is indeed a very nice machine, so where’s my disappointment? Well, Microsoft advertise the machine as including a one year subscription to Office 365 Personal. The fine print advises that the subscription is:

Available on Surface 3 with Windows 8.1 purchased prior to December 31, 2015. While supplies last. Office activation required within 6 months of Windows activation date.

As it happens, I had already purchased a one year subscription to Office 365 Personal back in February. The subscription allows Office to be installed on two machines, a PC and a Tablet (which can also be a Windows Tablet, such as the Surface 3).

On the Office site, there’s a section where you can enter a product code key to renew/extend your Office 365 Subscription. So I tried that, and entered the Office product key that the Surface 3 told me it had. Nothing happened once I clicked the “Continue” button. The expiry date of my subscription remains as February 2016.

I had a chat with Office Support, and was told that the Surface 3 Office 365 Personal subscription cannot be used to extend a current subscription; it can only be used by creating a new Microsoft Account specifically for my Surface 3.

That seems particularly pointless – I don’t want to create a new Microsoft Account for my Surface 3 – I want to use my existing Microsoft Account on all my devices, and access all my documents in my OneDrive space. The subscription offer is thus worthless to me, and seems to me to skirt close to false advertising on Microsoft’s part. 

And what is really annoying is that apparently the other way round works without problems. That is, had I first set up my Office 365 Personal account using a Surface 3 product key, and then purchased a year’s subscription, the purchase would have extended my subscription by a year.

Thanks a bunch, Microsoft. Consider me very disappointed.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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