Thursday, May 7, 2009

Does Mint Want Unhappy Customers?

Imagine you go into a cheese shop trying to buy some cheese. You just want some Cheddar. You ask if they have it, but they won't tell you. Instead, they want you to sign up -- give them your name, contact information, bank and credit card accounts, and only then will they answer your question. OK. You do it, you give them all that information and then the answer is, no, they don't have any Cheddar, they've never carried it, and have no idea if they'll ever carry it. But they'll make a note of it as a suggestion.

Sounds preposterous, doesn't it? Well, it's, a site which touts themselves as "the best free way to manage your money." But, if Mint doesn't support your bank, they can't very well help you manage your money, can they? They can't support you as a customer -- they shouldn't want you as a customer. But, they'd rather you go through the bother of signing up to discover you wasted your time because there's no way to find out if your bank is supported before you sign up.

But, wait, it gets worse. Mint seems to think this is a good idea. Their support staff argues that they can still help you with your other financial institutions and that tracking some of your financial institutions is better than tracking none. What?! The number one financial institution that most people have is their bank (or credit union). If they don't support your bank, Mint is probably useless to you. They should realize that. But, even if that wasn't the case, Microsoft Money or Quicken probably does support your bank, so tracking just some of your financial institutions is certainly not better than tracking all of them in Money or Quicken.

Does Mint really want unhappy customers? Apparently so, but it's a bad business practice.

If there are customers you can't make happy, you should send them away and you should send them away as early as you can. Don't spend your time and resources or waste their time if you know you can't make them happy. Send them to a competitor who can make them happy.

The fact is, customers who you cannot service are going to go away sooner or later -- your goal should be to make sure they don't go away mad.


RobertinSeattle said...

There are still way too many sites and businesses that continue to insist on a nasty and arduous registration process just to get a bit of information in return. I think the sooner they realize that not everyone's going to be a customer and the whole objective is to qualify the ones who might be while not annoying everyone in the process. Unfortunately, some sites seem to have hired used car salesmen to develop their marketing strategies! (Guess they had to find work somewhere.)

Marina Martin said...

I never understood how Mint is supposed to work since they don't let me import my own information. They can support every financial institution on the planet, but that will never cover private person-to-person obligations, which are just as important to track. Mint annoyed me when I signed up on day one and every time I take a peek at it again it still annoys me. I heart Quickbooks. (Plus, there is a HUGE psychological benefit to inputting your own information manually. Nothing stops me from eating out everyday faster than having to manually type 20 turkey sandwiches from the coffee shop and realizing I could have bought some freakin' turkey at the grocery store and saved $400.)

Unknown said...

Hey Roy! Ever heard of product iterations through customer feedback? If you knew the behind-the-scene of Mint you would find out how much they care about their user satisfaction.

Roy Leban said...

@M.M. I am sure you are correct that Mint cares a lot about user satisfaction. Caring about it doesn't translate into delivering it.

Case in point: I was interested in Mint. They wouldn't tell me if they supported my bank unless I signed up first. So, I left and I've never gone back.