Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Official, Customer Service is Dead

A co-worker came across this website today while researching a potential supplier and sent me the link for laughs. But, I didn't laugh. OK, I laughed a little, but I was slightly appalled by the blatantly terrible customer service, direct from a business owners mouth. I was probably more offended as a business owner than I was as a customer. I cut the website name out, you never heard of them anyway. They do appear to be a semi-successful small business. I felt the need to write her a letter, which is available for your reading pleasure at the bottom of this page.

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(this is a cutting from her 'about me' page. Glad to see she used some of this space to explain to her customers what annoys her most).

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Am I changing the world with my letter writing? No. Did it make me feel better to get it off my chest? Yes. That's what it is all about.

I apologize in advance for the unsolicited opinion, but you really come off a bit abrasive on your website. You clearly state that your own customers annoy you. I myself am a small business owner, so I can appreciate the sentiment. People can be difficult and unreasonable. However, I try hard not to let my customers know that they are annoying me. It is this new concept called customer service. I think that you believe if you state your opinion while hiding behind humor, it makes it OK. It doesn’t.

I get it. You don’t want your customers calling you. Then simply don’t put your phone number on your site. As a potential customer of yours, it did not bother me you didn’t have a phone number, I’d prefer to communicate by e-mail as well. What did bother me was your long explanation of why you didn’t want people to call you (thinly veiled in humor). It really turned me off to doing business with you. I’m sorry your customers are annoying to you. To me, my customers pay the bills. I try to oblique them whenever possible (yes, even the annoying ones. And for the record, I don’t answer my business phone at 3am).


It seemed to me it would take longer to write up that entire explanation on why you don’t take calls, than it would just to just take the measly 7 calls a day you said you received during your trial. If your customers are keeping you on the phone for 45 minutes at a time, you must be really engaging. Most of the people I encounter these days are as tight on time as I am.


I also found it unfair and judgmental for you to make the assumption that a young person with dyed hair and a piercing is likely a credit card thief. Please don’t generalize. A young entrepreneur fitting this description could be a potential client. Yes, sometimes they have blue or purple hair. You can’t determine a person’s character by their hair color. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or at the very least you shouldn’t do it publicly, on your business website). But, I digress.


I think it is safe to assume that you probably aren’t open to suggestions from (formerly) potential clients. Clearly, you are doing fine without my unsolicited comments. Clearly, you don’t need me as a customer. I just have to tell you that I was so taken aback by the tone of your website, I felt drawn to tell you about it. It is NOT about having a sense of humor, it’s more about demonstrating professionalism and showing respect to your customers (deserving or not).


To be fair, I must tell you that I actually DID find you funny. I did even laugh out loud at some of your comments. It seems you would be better served expressing your frustrations in a humor blog (in your spare time – sarcasm font needed here), rather than directly to the customers who annoy you.


I leave you with these closing remarks. Not all paying customers are smart, not all paying customers are nice, not all paying customers are reasonable. However, ALL paying customers are PAYING customers. I try not to bite the hands that feeds me.

As sure as I am that you are not losing sleep over my little letter, I’m sure that you are losing customers.

I would leave you my e-mail address to respond but it is a @SBCGLOBAL account, so I probably wouldn’t get your response anyway.


Another gem from her 'FAQ' Page

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