‘Customer Service’ can be a bit of a misnomer, can’t it?
For example, the company that charges us too much to send out our emails, three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Recently, I had a problem with an Australian ‘Internet service provider’ called Telstra.
If you live in Australia and have an email address with the words ‘big’ and ‘pond’ in it, you’ll know who I mean.
But then, you won’t be reading this, as Telstra’s algorithm suddenly started blocking all hundred and fifty club members from receiving emails like this one.
They didn’t just push them into spam. No, they ‘bounced’ them, which means their servers rejected the whole batch.
When I noticed the problem, I contacted our email people’s ‘Customer Service’ who said, yes, we know about these guys, it’s not just you that’s affected, we have our ‘deliverability team’ working with them to resolve the issue, don’t worry!
And I quote “We’ll reach out to you when we know something more”, which means something like ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
Ever dropped a stone down a well, hoping to hear a splash?
After a few days I noticed that the email people had deleted all 150 ‘bigpond’ address from the club mailing list. That way THEIR reputation isn’t damaged, you see.
Some of the people whose emails were ‘unsubscribed’ (without their knowledge) have been with us since 2012, some are regular buyers of ebooks, some are online students.
That’s pretty scandalous, if you ask me.
But hey, as I said, ‘Customer Service’ can be a misnomer.
So I used my personal email, and wrote an explanation to all of the people affected.
Contact your ISP, I suggested.
Ask what’s going on.
Why are they ‘bouncing’ emails you asked to receive?
Several of them did, the poor innocents.
And of course, they were told ‘No problem at this end’…
Who’s at fault?
But there’s a problem somewhere, and the solution is to switch to a reliable email provider.
Gmail works fine for me, Hotmail seems reliable, too.
And the Apple cloudy thingy seems popular with our members.
Take your pick!
But anyway, not all customer service is bad.
The company that hosts the club website (https://websynthesis.com/) is expensive but worth it.
Their guys and gals ALWAYS respond rapidly, and are usually helpful and effective.
Our ecommerce online shop lives in the server of a different hosting company (https://wpengine.com/).
They’re also expensive, and also worth it.
Got a problem? Tell them what it is, and nine times out of ten, they’ll fix it for you in a couple of mouse clicks.
So there, not everyone is uncaring or incompetent.
Which brings me to, well, me.
I do the customer service for our new shop, at easyreaders.org.
Didn’t get your ebook?
Just write and tell me.
I’ll resend the order, promptly, and with a smile!
It’s no problem. You’re welcome.
Changed your mind about buying something?
Being the boss, as well as the customer service guy, I can do full refunds.
It takes a few seconds.
And U.K. law, where our company is based, gives customers of online shops the right to change their minds within a certain number of days, which is irritating for us, but pretty cool for you guys.
There’s a note about this in the shop FAQ – scroll right down to the bottom, where I hide the small print (only joking…)
So why would I mess around?
If there’s a problem, just email and it will be resolved.
Life becomes serene again.
The mental stress (yours and mine) will soon be but a distant memory…
But then there are the people – I’m mentioning no names here, but you know who you are – who go whining to the teacher, in this case, Paypal.
A payment came in during the night.
Usually, I sleep at night. Probably you do, too.
At breakfast, I read the night’s emails and send out ebook orders.
That’s breakfast time in Italy, where I live.
If you’re a ‘bigpond’ customer (so help you God), that’ll be late afternoon in Australia.
If you’re in the USA, you’ll still be asleep yourself, so who cares what time it is.
Nestled in my email inbox this morning was an email from Paypal, informing me that a payment for an ebook order had been suspended because of ‘suspected fraud’, no details provided.
Joyful tidings on a Friday morning – I have to log in to Paypal and ‘provide evidence’ to support my case.
What case? What am I supposed to have done? I was asleep!
Turns out that this is a lady who did the same thing a year ago. Bought something, changed her mind, pressed the ‘report fraudulent activity’ button.
A mistake, she said tearfully at the the time.
I’ll never try to buy an ebook again, she promised.
Yet, twelve months later, I’ve defrauded her again, it seems.
A couple of weeks ago, someone else didn’t get the email with their ebook attached.
Actually, they did get it, as we later established.
But they hadn’t noticed the email at the time, as I had sent it promptly and efficiently, exactly as promised on the website.
So, rather than emailing me for help, they contacted Paypal, got the payment blocked, and therefore caused me lots of stress over breakfast.
Later that day, after I had replied though Paypal suggesting that they check their emails carefully and promising to resend the ebook if it wasn’t found, they admitted that their complaint was without foundation and the payment was released.
But there was no “Oops, we screwed up. Sorry!”
People who do customer service, even (and I hesitate to concede this) people who work for certain Australian Internet service providers, ARE STILL PEOPLE.
You’ll get a better, faster response if you write a email stating what your problem is and asking politely for help.
If you don’t get a satisfactory reply, then sure, go ahead, push the nuclear button.
Trash someone’s reuptation, ruin their day!
Hopefully that’ll make you feel better.
And you’ll get your €5.99 back, if not your credibility as an adult human who can be trusted with a credit card.
End of rant.
Oh, one final thing?
When you DO get good customer service, why not write a nice ‘thank you’?
You’ll make someone’s day, and feel good about yourself, too.
If you wanted to read ‘Le italiane‘, you’ve probably already bought it. Lots of people have!
But there are always those who intend to buy something while an offer is on but just don’t get around to it.
So this is for them.
‘Le italiane‘ tells the story of eight noteworthy Italian women.
Do me a favour and view the free sample chapter (.pdf).
That way you’ll get an idea of the level and format of this ebook BEFORE you decide to buy it.
Check the price.
It’s currently £5.99.
Yes, those are British pounds.
No, I have no idea how much your credit card company will charge you in real money. But best assume the worst.
So, liked the sample?
O.K. with the price?
Then order the full version.
I’ll email it to you within 24 hours, as I promise on the website.
You’ll like it. It’s good.
And worth the cost.
Go check your local bookshop. You won’t find anything similar.
Amazon has lots of rubbish for $0.99, but there you go. I’m not Jeff Bezos.
Done your order?
Wait until morning, Italian time.
Check all folders in your email – spam, promotions, everywhere.
If you have multiple email accounts, make sure you’re looking in the right one (really, people forget which email they gave me…)
If you still don’t find an email with the ebook attached, email me.
You WILL get a reply and a solution, rapidly.
When hopefully I’ll be in a better mood!