Review: GrooveHQ’s ‘Free Forever’ Plan, not free forever

Update Aug 20th 2016: You can read similar experiences by other users in the comments section below.

List of free forever and paid help desk software worth a try:
Freshdesk*, DeskHelp Scout*, HappyFox, JitbitKayako, Deskero*, EnchantZendeskSupportBeeMojo Help Desk*, Zoho*, Helprace*, ReamazeKeepingBorneviaFirehose Help DeskBrimir*.

*Truly Free Forever plan offered.

If you are looking for a Help Desk solution, GrooveHQ works. But so does HelpScout and the others listed above for that matter. This is a brief review specifically about GrooveHQ’s “free forever” plan.

For the past week I’ve been testing help desk software. As such, I signed up for GrooveHQ’s “Free forever for 2 Users and 1 Mailbox” plan and after testing decided that the free forever offering would be useful, if only not to miss certain emails. There are a few companies out there confident enough about their services to offer a “Free forever” plan as a loss leader/freebie marketing. When I visited groovehq.net’s pricing page (screenshot at the end of article) they claimed to offer a free forever plan.

GrooveHQ - not so free forever plan

However, when I asked about falling back to the free forever plan the response was:

“Thanks for your note! Right now we have those details on the pricing page with a Free Plan and Paid Plan but we actually haven’t implemented the backend :) Testing to see if it’s gonna help with conversions first.

Meantime, I just gave you another 60 days free until we have the limits coded in. Hope this helps!”

To which I responded:

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“That sounds a bit misleading, no? What happens when it expires? So there’s no “Groove Free” as advertised? Just free as long as you extend the trial? Mailchimp has a similar setup but it’s actually free without hassle. Although it took me months to eventually subscribe I would have never tried Mailchimp or GrooveHQ for that matter if I’m not able to use the service as advertised for as long as I care to. That’s the bases for most free-to-use offers, it reflects great confidence in the value of your paid service.

At which point I was told thanks for checking them out and pointed in the direction of a competitor:

“Really sorry about being misleading here Hayden. We’re actually leaning towards not providing a free account, to be completely honest with you.

Knowing that, I’d say it’s probably best you look else where. I’d suggest HelpScout.net, as they have a free plan.

Thanks for checking us out though.

Best,
Alex”

From my understanding free for 60 days, isn’t free forever. When companies are marketing for user signups, is it really acceptable to offer a free forever plan and then after you’ve captured a signup, inform the user that they have to upgrade or try a competitor instead? Companies are in business to make money, yes, as such the “free forever” offer is made with the realistic understanding that there will be some users that will make use of this free plan for a very long time and some indefinitely. But as a result of word of mouth, the value of the paid plans, branding, etc. these’s free accounts will pay for themselves and even drive more signups.

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I made my disappointment clear when I replied to that email with:

“Very disappointing and unethical approach towards capturing signups. I signed up to save time and GrooveHQ has wasted it.

I will be reviewing this on my blog… (included a link to the homepage).”

I figured this was the end of it as I was already told to check out their competitor. But 30 mins later while writing this, I received the following email:

“Excuse me, Hayden. I actually was trying to make up for this with you. In software dev, sometimes a test without writing weeks and months of code is worth it. We’ve had this test going for 3 months and haven’t had anyone complain.

Is there a reason you have to threaten us with writing a post? Maybe it would be best if you and I had a little chat so that you can really understand our approach here. More than willing if you are.

Are you available today?”

A review isn’t a threat, it’s a review of my personal experience. In reality, this post is free advertising because the bulk of Groove’s users won’t fit into the free plan anyway. For those who can fit, hopefully this post helps them avoid this issue, or at least inquire before signup. If only I had a heads-up before signing up.

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It was already admitted by Groove that this was “misleading”. So why was it ok to essentially guide me to the exit and to a competitor. Shouldn’t a customer’s expectation – based on what was advertised – be enough on it’s own merit to reach out and discuss? If you enjoy giving new services a try at your own pace and feel comfortable with “Free Forever” plans, then as of writing this (and still almost a year later Aug 20th 2016), GrooveHQ is not free forever. You’ll receive a 30 day trial with no option to continue without paying for an upgrade.

 

GrooveHQ - not free forever

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