A Webinar Mistake You Shouldn’t Make

Talk about a major webinar mistake

I originally wrote this webinar mistake article as a paper for a marketing class I am currently taking at Thomas Edison State College. The paper had to answer the follow question between 250 and 500 words.

Consider a customer-service experience you have had in the last month or so. Was it positive or negative? Describe your experience and then point out specific ways in which the firm might strengthen its customer service.

Although I am removing the company’s name and slogan from the article, for my class I left it in for the reference section. They will be referred to as The Company.

Thanks for reading,


I had a very interesting customer service experience recently form a company that considers themselves “Training & Professional Development Solutions…Executives and Marketers”.  The webinar I was attending was teaching the attendees about ways of using LinkedIn.com for business-to-business networking and marketing. The company I work for invested in the webinar as a marketing expense.

The paid webinar was one hour long, and it started off with major technical difficulties. As it turned out, the event continued having technical difficulties throughout the entire presentation. The company hosted the event using Cisco’s WebEx, which is one of the most powerful and flexible online meeting platforms on the market. The company made the decision to disable viewer questions during the presentation. That made it so people did not have the ability to inform the hosts about the technical issues.

After the one hour of jumbled, digitized voice and frozen screens the hosts opened the event up to questions. However, they decided to un-mute any attendee with a question instead of accepting text-based questions. This meant that all attendees could hear another ask a question. Of course, everyone was not un-muted at once. This was done on an individual bases so there was no audio overlap. (which does make sense)

What came next did not surprise me, and did bring a laugh out of an annoying situation. The first three attendees to ask a question all asked when they were receiving their refunds. The hosts were shocked because they had no idea that for the entire hour there were technical difficulties.

I immediately called the customer services department to ask for a refund and was told that they will be rescheduling the event. I asked not to be rescheduled because it was very unprofessional, and for a full refund to be issued. One week after the event, an email was sent out to all of the attendees informing about the rescheduled event. Again, I called customer service (not slightly more frustrated) and mentioned my previous call about the refund and how disappointed I was and that I did not want to attend the event again. It is now three weeks later and the refund has yet to arrive. Legally a refund can take up to thirty days, which comes soon.

When hosting an event that is as social as this one was, my recommendation would be to allow for comments from the attendees. Whether the event is a paid webinar or a free one, a company should always listen to their customers as to not waste their time. In addition to the enabling comments during the event, I would have handled the refund in a proactive manor. Instead of putting the refund off for the full legal thirty days, I would issue it right away and remove the customer from the reschedule list as requested. To end on a positive note, I did receive an apology.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I have attended a webinar just like this, but thankfully it was free. It is very frustrating when technical issues plague something such as this. Not only do the presenters look bad for ignoring their audience, but it feels like such a waste of time on the participants side. Fantastic write up Scott!

    1. Totally! I was mad that my time was wasted but felt really bad for the presenter cause it wasn’t her fault.

  2. You’d think the organizers of a paid webinar would make it their number one priority to take care of all the technical issues well in advance. Poor planning I guess.

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