That time the ClickCease stuffed up, picked up the phone and put things right!

  • UPDATE (+3 days later) – Everything got resolved and we’re happy. Credit where credit is due, a big Bravo Zulu, aka “Well Done!” to ClickCease’s Customer Success Team. Thank you for sorting things out and most importantly getting on the phone.

    What happened? We had a nightmare. 

    The service we paid for seemed to have been downgraded. We couldn’t add clients to our account.

    We contacted the support team and after 20 messages back and forth they told us yes, the plan was limited to 5 domains… bear in mind we have almost 20 already present and we’d pre-paid for “unlimited domains” for a whole year only a few weeks ago, this was a shock.

    I specifically asked the support rep to escalate the issue, but no dice, this was how it worked on our plan. Good grief!

    This echoed a recent problem, exactly the same in nature, with Uptime Robot. They literally took our money for a service, changed their plan structures and removed all the features we pre-paid for. I was very concerned that the (almost) 10x we’d spent on ClickCease for 2023 had gone the same way.

    Thank goodness I turned out to be wrong, in the end.

    Once of the team called me directly on my mobile. When I saw a NYC number appear on my mobile at 7pm while cooking dinner I thought, I wonder if that’s clickcease as I’d just replied to the support email thread.

    I answered and yes, it was the best answer to a bad situation. Make a call, cut past the miscommunication in the chat, and discuss what is and isn’t wrong and give some assurance that things will be put right. Thank you clickcease, this was *the* call I needed.

    Apparently it was a bug in the system, I write software often enough so after a good sleep I replied on Wednesday morning with…

    Software isn’t perfect – we know that.

    I’m more concerned that in the face of our surprise and frustration your software’s mistake/bug was taken as the source of truth by your support staff over a customer asking for an escalation.

    Provided we’re in agreement that that needs attention we’re happy to remain.

    We were all in agreement that the system wasn’t right, and it needed fixing. They fixed it, far more quickly than I expected, and we tested the fix yesterday, Thursday.

    I’m updating this post and leaving the original context to show grandfathered plans *are* a good idea. Even if they do have to be phased out, giving people what they paid for is absolutely essential if you want to maintain trust with your customers.

    Lastly, I’ve often noted (and sometimes said) that the test of a great company really comes when something goes wrong. How do they handle it? Do they refuse to apologise, ignore emails, retreat into a bunker mentality and treat customers like dirt…. I’m looking at you UptimeRobot… or do they get on the phone, provide reassurance and put things back on track.

    At the very bottom of our original post (below) we’d asked for a refund, but now, we really are happy to remain ClickCease customers, especially knowing that their team can fix problems effectively.

    Well done ClickCease, well done.

    Original Post – Tuesday 7th February 2023


    That time the ClickCease Annual Deal Felt Like a Bait & Switch

    It isn’t just naive old pensioners that get duped online. Nope, we digital agency types make mistakes too. How so?

    Background – SaaS & Grandfather Plans

    Well, we buy a lot of Software As A Service (SAAS) products and over time those things change. The great news over the last 15 years of buying this way is that software companies have a lot of flexibility. In general, this means the company concerned just adds new plans/packages and generally they provide a “grandfathered” or “legacy” plan to the existing clients. 

    In a nutshell, early adopters, get a good deal because they carry on getting what they paid for – unless or until they change the plan. In my experience, this is a fairly well-known unwritten rule in the world of SAAS.

    Fast forward to 2022/2023 and things are-a-changing.


    A New Normal?

    Twice in the last few months, I’ve discovered suppliers offering sweet and enticing offer to switch to annual billing, and then they declare that the plan changed so you get less because…. reasons. 

    Their position becomes about the plan change, the plan change that was never mentioned when they offered the annual deal, but because “the plan changed” if you happen to want what you used to get, then now you pay more. 

    Hmmm. I have some strong feelings about this.

    The most egregious example is ClickCease. It is a super service that used to bill based on the number of clicks (in a large pool) that it monitors and because we could add unlimited domains, we could use one large account to manage our portfolio of clients.

    We mentioned to clients that we were paying for this for them and all they needed to do was give us a nod, and we could connect the client’s Google Ads to ClickCease. Once in place, we could easily report on the benefit to their Google Ads campaigns. 

    Win win win.

    It was a win, win, win.

    • It was a win for our clients – less click fraud
    • A win for us, because the clients are happy 
    • And, a win for ClickCease to have us growing our usage and head toward needing a bigger pool of clicks.
    • The only issue was the cost, but as a value add we felt this was fine.

    We loved this pricing structure and the way it worked for us and our clients so much that I (Ben) had a chat with our account manager at our call tracking company. I explained that if they could bill us this way we could roll out call tracking (even trial options) for our small and medium enterprises giving their call tracking a chance to prove it’s worth, and therefore the potential to upsell to more sophisticated options.

    The call tracking company said no, it was a stretch too far away from their pricing model. Okay, we understood. No worries.

    But, meanwhile unbeknownst to us ClickCease must have crunched some numbers and decided they too would no longer offer a pool of clicks across unlimited domains. clearly shows that sometime in late 2022 they removed the “unlimited domains” from their pricing page and in 2023 added “limited to 5 websites” in their pricing page.

    The annual deal.

    We (mistakenly) took them up on their offer to “upgrade” the account to an annual plan, at no point did they explain that the plan changed. They just focused endlessly on money saving.

    Here we are some weeks later to find that our unlimited domains is gone and we can no longer add any new clients.

    What now? 20 emails back and forth with support about why this isn’t an upgrade, this is not, as they still claim “change plans for the better”

    I’ve had enough. Just like a duped pensioner, I want my money back and to put clickcease in my rearview mirror.

    UPDATE – See the top of this post. ClickCease managed to turn what looked like a complete disaster around in just a couple of days… and picked up the phone to boot.