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  Post #1 (permalink)   11-23-2010, 11:44 PM
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Hey guys,

So to start off my new business, I offered a coupon for six months free of service to the first five people. Naturally, more than five people used the coupon, but the majority of them who did and found out the coupon was used up left the site. A few either didn't realize or still haven't paid yet. I sent a few invoices already, but is their any better way to get these customers to pay. I'm not sure if they actually will pay because they probably only signed up for free service, but any tips?

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Old
  Post #2 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 07:17 AM
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The usual/ethical way around this is the reverse of your offer, such that "Pay for 6 months hosting and get 6 free - use coupon code: xyz Limited time offer!" and restrict the amount and or duration.

Tackling the offer as you have, will mean that you should suspend their service at the end of their free period and email through an offer (rather than an invoice) for the continuation of the service.

There are two approaches to this, ether cut the service off at the end date without notification of the impending cut-off to the user (essentially holding data to ransom) which can be considered unethical or warn the user through notification that their service is coming to an end and propose an offer which can be considered an ethical approach.

The first of the two approaches I would hazard to be more effective, however the long term effects on the client as a result of the experience may impede further relation.

Hope that helps
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  Post #3 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 08:47 AM
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If you are considering to inform them earlier, they will get time to backup things and later they won't renew your services as they won't need you.

You can cut off the services without any prior notification. Let them contact you and you can force them to pay to get an access to the data
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  Post #4 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 01:32 PM
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So you're suggesting a hostage situation? That's not going to encourage a customer to pay - and if they did pay, it would likely result in a chargeback as soon as they have their data.

If you're giving someone away for free with NO strings attached, then you're pretty much SOL. As CSN suggested, a Pay then get "X" free is a better solution. If you're just giving things away you're opening the door for hackers, spammers and headaches - and you're right, nobody will want to then pay for something they've been receiving for free for the past 6 months.

Free is a dangerous word - it's as bad as 50% off. It can devalue the services that you offer in the first place.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James-A View Post
If you are considering to inform them earlier, they will get time to backup things and later they won't renew your services as they won't need you.

You can cut off the services without any prior notification. Let them contact you and you can force them to pay to get an access to the data

That would be a very sleazy way of doing business.

If a host offers free services with no commitment for continued service they should at least be responsible enough to inform clients well ahead of time of their options as the free period expires.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 03:19 PM
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Thanks for all the tips everyone. Just to be clear, they aren't utilizing the services. THey have an account created, but they never finished payment. I think this may change some answers.

But I will definitely try some 6 months free for 6 months paid offers. Hopefully that will help.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   11-24-2010, 03:45 PM
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I'm not sure I'm clear on what you are saying.
You say you issued a coupon and more people used the offer than coupons were offered.
How is this possible?
How did they access your services without paying or by using an invalid coupon?
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   11-26-2010, 09:23 AM
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dont go behind customers who are not willing to pay your services, learn from mistake to plan better next time
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   11-26-2010, 03:03 PM
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What I'm sating is that they went through the entire process, the cart and such, but when they got to the checkout part, and the coupon didn't work, they left the page. My WHMCS was incorrectly recording this as a customer that signed up but didn't pay, (which is somewhat true because they got an account for themselves,) but i resolved the main problem.

Basically, these people were just signing up, almost using us as storage space because they wouldn't actually host the sites for us., It's almost as if they were using the coupons just to take it away from someone else who is more legitimate. We're transferring hosts and domains due to various complications (unrelated) and basically will be canceling those people's accounts and email them saying they are welcome to sign up at newsite.com, where their coupons will still be honored.
 
 
 


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  Post #10 (permalink)   11-27-2010, 08:45 AM
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That sounds like a pretty unstable business plan.
What you are describing still doesn't make very much sense unless you are allowing instant account creation without verification.
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   11-27-2010, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiest View Post
What I'm sating is that they went through the entire process, the cart and such, but when they got to the checkout part, and the coupon didn't work, they left the page. My WHMCS was incorrectly recording this as a customer that signed up but didn't pay, (which is somewhat true because they got an account for themselves,) but i resolved the main problem.
Basically, these people were just signing up, almost using us as storage space because they wouldn't actually host the sites for us., It's almost as if they were using the coupons just to take it away from someone else who is more legitimate. We're transferring hosts and domains due to various complications (unrelated) and basically will be canceling those people's accounts and email them saying they are welcome to sign up at newsite.com, where their coupons will still be honored.
In WHMCS, are you confusing "Clients" with "Orders" as far as new accounts are concerned?. Anyone can register and be a "Client", but that doesn't mean they are using any products or services and therefore can't really be considered a new account. Only when a client successfully places an order for a service should they be considered a new account and will be listed in "Orders".

Or am I misunderstanding you?
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  Post #12 (permalink)   12-20-2010, 06:51 AM
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I agree with HostMantis. How can they use the service if they haven't paid? WHMCS will only say it is a "ORDER" even though you use automatic set up it is still possible because auto set up will not work with out the payment being received knowing that the coupon that some of your clients use is already invalid.
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  Post #13 (permalink)   12-20-2010, 09:14 AM
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Another solution would be to offer a free trial period, but with a one time set up fee. Making them pay something (anything) normally filters out the people who never intend to remain as clients.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   12-24-2010, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csn-uk View Post
The usual/ethical way around this is the reverse of your offer, such that "Pay for 6 months hosting and get 6 free - use coupon code: xyz Limited time offer!" and restrict the amount and or duration.

Tackling the offer as you have, will mean that you should suspend their service at the end of their free period and email through an offer (rather than an invoice) for the continuation of the service.

There are two approaches to this, ether cut the service off at the end date without notification of the impending cut-off to the user (essentially holding data to ransom) which can be considered unethical or warn the user through notification that their service is coming to an end and propose an offer which can be considered an ethical approach.

The first of the two approaches I would hazard to be more effective, however the long term effects on the client as a result of the experience may impede further relation.

Hope that helps
Great tip there and really useful for many over here.
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  Post #15 (permalink)   12-24-2010, 09:28 PM
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The trial period with the set up fee would also work I think. That way you don't lose money, people can test your services, and they will be required to either renew the service or have it deleted after the trial period.

The most important thing is to warn your customers, no matter what suggestion you use. Websites build up very bad reputations if they suddenly cut off hosting without a word. And let's be honest - People don't tend to keep track of trials or dates to pay. If they didn't read your mail with clear warning before deleting them then it is their fault, not yours.
 
 
 
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