Note: I’m no longer pretending that this blog is anything other than a collection of the letters I write to customer service (and CC the executive board on, if I can locate their e-mail addresses, which I almost always can.)

Here’s my latest, to MindBody Online, purveyor of the most mindbogglingly backward “client management” (? “yoga studio management”? “gym management”? “nail salon management”? I’m honestly not completely sure.) software I ever did see.

Dear MindBody,

To answer your questions regarding my cancellation request.

1. I don’t wish to be contacted by telephone. Your insistence on constantly spending hours on the phone is one of the worst things about the MBO experience. Just cancel it. Don’t cancel the merchant account (if you can even do that without my say-so, which I greatly hope you can’t.) I’m still using it.

2. A myriad of reasons, really. Mostly for my own satisfaction, since from what I’ve seen so far you will never actually do the kind of complete overhaul that would be necessary to fix any of this, let me elaborate.

User Interface. The website is clunky and has pretty much the worst user interface I’ve ever experienced (topped only by an incredibly shitty in-house application I once had to deal with which was designed by someone who could charitably be described as retarded.)

Clients are constantly confused and unable to easily manage pretty much anything about their account by themselves. The online retail sales interface is a joke. E-commerce is a solved problem: copy a site that works. The back button is reasonably frequently broken (a cardinal sin of usability in case you’re not familiar.) I can’t link directly to anything without viewing the source of the webpage and doing some advanced hacking, or maybe delving deep into the documentation. Frames used like this are absolutely not okay in this day and age.

More recently, half the website has morphed into a new UI while the other half is stuck in the old UI. Actually not sure if the new UI is an improvement since it appears to be basically just a paint job, but regardless going halvsies is no bueno.

I’m pretty sure you don’t actually have a UI person on staff, but if you do I hope they’re severely depressed by the current situation. If they aren’t, you need to fire them and find someone halfway competent. If you don’t have someone, seriously, what decade are you in?

There is absolutely no reason that I should ever have to do any kind of “training” in order to use a website like this. Sure, maybe nice to offer it for those who are less than computer literate, but a reasonably intelligent person (never mind one who programs websites for a living) should be able to figure it out with zero phone calls and minimal reference to documentation. I use accounting software that’s more intuitive than your website, and that’s really saying something.

Quit with the featuritis. You actually don’t have to be everything to everyone. Simplify that shit. Or at worst, hide the stuff that applies to 1% of your audience for everyone else. Only don’t do it with the kind of 20 page list of checkboxes that you’re currently using. That is way too many options. Trying to please everyone will ultimately please no one.

Downtime. Get rid of it, seriously. Add multiple layers of redundancy. A technology company like yours should not be sending out multiple heartfelt apology e-mails per year. You really get one pass on this…. pretty much ever. After that you fix it. Period.

Fire your entire “tech support” staff… if the e-mail I received 6/16/11 regarding “Steps to access your MINDBODY site” was not intended as a joke. Did you seriously just send out a 37-step guide to ACCESSING YOUR SERVICE that includes OPENING THE TERMINAL and RUNNING TRACEROUTE?? These are not “tips from MBO tech support.” These are “please bend over and relax, this will only take MBO tech support a minute.” However you got into that situation was a fuck-up on a level that should have resulted in terminations.

Stop prettifying and make some real changes. I don’t need my button edges rounded. I need something that works. Beautification can wait until after you’ve tossed out the interface you have now and made something that’s usable.

Back end. This is a complete guess, but based on what I can see from the front end, I’m going to assume that you probably have some serious back end problems as well. Again, really, suck up the cost and hire some people who know what they’re doing. Here’s a hint: most likely they will not be familiar with ASP or really any Microsoft development product. If they tell you to rebuild it from the ground, do it.

3. I don’t need it ever again, effective immediately. Burn it to the ground.

4. See above.

Best wishes,

On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 12:28 PM, ClientCare wrote:

Dear Samantha,

I’ve received information that you want to cancel your software subscription with MINDBODY. We are disappointed to hear that things are not going well or as expected. I’ll be coordinating everything for you throughout this process, so if you have any questions I’m the person who can help.

Before we get started, there are things you can provide us to help speed the process along:

· The best number on which to reach you
· Reason for the cancellation
· The last date you need the software
· Feedback for where we failed to meet your needs

I’ve documented your request and date that it came through on and will assign it to a Client Care Specialist to follow up on as soon as I receive your response.

Our Client Care Specialists are unbiased team members who will listen to anything and everything you have to say regardless of where problems have arisen with a humble and helpful attitude so we can proceed down the right path whether it’s parting ways or righting wrongs. We certainly hope for the latter.

Depending on all the things that need to happen with your unique situation (e.g. if you have a merchant account, how long you need your software, requests for refunds, etc.) cancellation requests may take up to 30 days to process.

We appreciate your candid and helpful feedback- please let me know if you have any questions or concerns along the way.

Best Wishes,

Client Care Coordinator
Direct Line: <redacted>
Toll Free: <redacted>