Monday, November 14, 2011

There's no pleasing Ms. Brody

WHERE IS MY ORDER??????????? This was the exact title of an email sent to me yesterday along with the exact amount of question marks. Upon opening it, the body of the email went on to say she had ordered 3 patches on September 26th, the money was out of her account, she sent three emails and she was tired of getting my stupid newsletters. She ended with "and I still have not got them - WHY NOT???????????" 

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 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


  1. There are times like these that the customer is not always right if they continue to cost you money.

    Furthermore, if she was attempting to be sympathetic or empathetic to our country's worst horror and the horror of what people had seen 911, she would have been patient and professional.

    I am the daughter of a retired firefighter from the Midwest. There has yet to be a day that goes by that I don't think about September 11, 2001. She has no clue as to the pain felt in many peoples hearts.

  2. Hey, thanks for what you do and for how you do it. I'd say you went above and beyond with that lady. I ordered and had my patch within a few days of my purchase. It rides with me on my armor every day on patrol and I get tons of questions in regards to it. Thanks again.

  3. good on you!! she is just rude dont worry about her she is just one person
    keep doing what your doing

  4. There's always someone out there who's going to complain about the way things are being done. Statistically speaking, there's bound to be an order that gets mixed up and doesn't quite make it to where it needs to be, taking into consideration the customer actually gives you an address that exists...street numbers and all. The efforts you, Mr. Hill, have put in for the 9/11 patch project are immense and the end result is the spreading of awareness and remembrance that has spanned nearly every part of the globe. This is truly nothing to shake a stick at. Especially a stick being wave around wildly by Ms. Brody. She's just a minute drop in the vast ocean customers and supporters. I was quite shocked when I read that you still sent her order despite her appauling behavior and demeanor shown through her emails. The fact that you continued to go out of your way to try and make a customer, who will never be happy, says a lot. You're a good man, business owner, foundation and project founder, and a true American Patriot. Keep stitching the patches and filling the orders, because unlike Ms. Brody, we haven't forgotten. 9/11/01. Always remember.

  5. Thanks to all of you for your kind words of support! It really makes a bad day end on a great note(s)!

  6. I work in customer service and I know how it is to deal with very difficult people like her. I try to be very patient, but there are days when I lose my cool a little bit. I have a feeling that she may be a person who is nearly impossible to please. Shake it off and move on, I say! :) Keep up the good work.