Monday, November 14, 2011
There's no pleasing Ms. Brody
Funny thing is I had deleted her first email after responding but then received this near duplicate even after I had asked for additional information and why her address in Ireland did not have a house number or street. This is almost the exact email she had originally sent me--there were no responses to the questions I had asked in two previous emails. Is this how most people inquire about their order? I would stick my neck out and say...no way! Having no record of any prior emails sent from my Gmail account, I told her that and expressed my concern about her address seeming incomplete.
Getting no where with her, things escalated where my response to Marion included phrases like, "Stop being rude and act like an adult" and "Calm down...I am trying to work with you." She analyzed the phrases and responded back to me, "I must say its no wonder nobody is buying from your site, you have no customer service skills and you seem to be running a one man shop answering your e-mails through your Blackberry!! Have a read back over your reply again - my god you are the rudest, most arrogant, patronising man I have ever come across. How dare you tell me to 'act like an adult' - is that what you are doing by speaking to a customer like that? You are a joke!!!"
Emails are a very imperfect means of communication and I have to admit, this is not the first time someone has misinterpreted my email. Three is no misinterpreting Marion's email--it was pretty clear. Phone calls are always the best methods for communicating between a buyer and a seller--but a phone call to Ireland was not in the budget for this $10.38 purchase for 3 decals (not patches).
So, after checking the paypal database for her order, I found it was actually made under someone other than herself. But it was filled and sent to Ireland within 24 hours. Why it didn't get there, no one really knows. Had I actually heard from her sooner, I would have bent over backwards to please her because that's how I feel about all customers. Occasionally an order does not find its mark and I will re send. In this case, I got frustrated and refunded her friends account because she never answered my requests. Before this email came today, I even sent another order to the same address (she insisted it was where she received mail the past 3 years) just to see if there was any way to make this lady happy.
So the last part of her latest email read, "I work in a company and had an order for 78 of your decals from my staff, but because of the way you treated me I won't be placing that order now - so its your loss for being so arrogant. I will be highlighting your web page to all my contacts and telling them not to order from you. Now you 'calm down' and try and be nice to people in the future."
Lessons learned: The customer is not always right. I do have to take responsibility for the statements I made out of frustration but I am human and like customers, my buttons can be pushed as well. I am a one man show but take pride in making the happiness of my customers the most important part of what I do. The reputation of the 9/11 Patch Project the past 10 years is impeccable--there should be hundreds of you out there willing to come forward to speak to that.
In the end, I have lost a customer but I am convinced that there is nothing more I can do. Emails are not the best means of communication and this case history is a testament to that. If Ms Brody wants to make her ambition bad mouthing the 9/11 Patch Project, there is nothing I can do. After serving over 15,000 customers these past 10 years, losing one is something I can get over. There is nothing that I said that called for the demeaning response I got from her. I have run this project the past 10 years to help folks remember the heroes of 9/11 and raise funds. This is what I do and the support I get from 99.9% of folks out there is what fuels me.
Brett Hill- Founder
9/11 Patch Project