Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Customer Service

Do you have a customer service policy for your business??? Or do you just handle things as they come up? I fall into the latter, usually with the attitude of doing my level best to make my customers happy.

And yes, there are times when I don't feel I even come close. A lady ordered a fondant smoother from me (my food safe rubber stamp biz). I shipped it in the sealed container it came in from from the manufacturer along with her other items. When it arrived, she called to tell me the smoother was "soiled."

Now seriously, it could not have picked up more "soil" in the USPS provided box than could have easily been washed off. But nothing doing... she had to have a new one.

This presented two issues for me... a new vendor. 1) That was my last one and I would have to place an order for $100 more of them to satisfy a $10 customer. Not to mention wait two weeks for them to arrive. 2) The whole ordeal just felt "wrong." Like she was looking for something for free.

I would gladly have cleaned that smoother and used it in my classes... but then I would have to refund her and pay to ship the thing back. UGH!

In the end, I was right. I offered a free stamp for her "trouble" - washing a new item to be used on food which any cake professional in their right mind would do anyway. She left happy and yes, she did return. And from that day on, I package fondant smoothers in a way that would survive an apocalypse!

Customer service is on my mind because I had a transaction with a vendor go wrong and I'm still not sure what to think about it. I ordered some items knowing I would have time to play over the long Easter weekend. I ordered on the 26th, knowing that the priority mail I paid for would surely have them here by the 2nd.

Sure the vendor was having a sale... but there was no notice of a shipping delay on the website.

Days go by. Another item I ordered the same day arrived. And more days. I wrote the vendor last Wednesday. No reply. (WTH???) I wrote them again on Thursday. I waited a few hours and put a message on their fan page: "Does anyone know how long it takes to receive a package?"*

I finally heard from the vendor and then they did something unconscionable - They LIED. They told me my package should arrive in time for my play session the next day. It didn't. It came Monday. It was shipped on Wednesday... no way for it to arrive by Friday.

Had the vendor used Paypal shipping or even typed in my email to the USPS shipping module, I would have known this. I would have known my order was on the way. Yes, I would have been disappointed but, the communication would have helped.

But then the package arrived and... my order was not right. I had ordered a large amount of two items and instead got a few samples. I was ready to get out my scale to see if the sample measured up to a full size when I finally looked at my invoice. Scribbled across it was this:

"Holly, I ran out of X & Y so I'm sending you our last little bit. I will send the balance of your order ASAP!! Thanks, V"

WTH??? You know... this is getting into gray territory here. As a vendor, you are not allowed to take money UNTIL you ship. Paypal states no more than three days. The fact that they didn't even give me the option of a refund or replacement items is beyond me!

The fact that they have MY money for product I haven't received is astounding. I now have to sit here and be sure the 45 day refund period allowed with paypal does not pass before I get my items.

Had this vendor simply communicated with me - about when my package was REALLY shipped and the fact that they were out of product - the whole thing wouldn't have left such a bad taste in my mouth. But they did not. And even if I get my product, they have lost a customer.

*After receiving the deceitful email, I left a friendly note on the fan page, "It's on it's way! I'm so excited to play with this product!!" Both comments were deleted by the vendor.

1 comment:

Createology said...

Extremely frustrating and unfortunately I feel customer service is a dying art. Communication and common sense can make a world of difference. I hope you get resolve and quickly.