Some companies still do not understand that customers talk about their experiences

I recently purchased some supplies from a company I have done business with for three years but after this experience I probably will never do business with them again.

They sent me an email promising a 10% discount if the purchase was made in the next three days. I made the purchase the next day and although the website said the 10% discount was being honored, it did not show up in the final charges.

I sent them this email:

I placed an order today after receiving an email with your 72 hour offer. The Order number was  #24452.  While I was putting the items in the cart, the site said that the discount would be shown later. When the order was completed, there was no discount shown.

That is very bad PR and is a definite "bait and switch" tactic.
I expect to see a correction to the total on my order to show the discount.

I received my PayPal charges later that day and the final price showed no discount and the shipping charges were not broken out.

I got this email back from the president of this company:

Our system does not allow us to show the discount in the shopping cart. As for "That is very bad PR and is a definite "bait and switch" tactic." We will apply the discount here when we enter your order. this is not a bait and switch tactic. We have been in business for over 100 years and I do not appreciate attacks of our credibility. You will receive the discount you expect.

I wrote:

Thanks for giving me the discount.Your credibility is suspect when the discount does not appear anywhere, even on the final order. Making customers wrong for questioning your order handling does not bolster your credibility either. All you have to do is to say that the discount will not ever appear until you get the final reckoning and customer expectations will be set properly.

The next day I received an additional PayPal charge instead of a credit for the missing discount. (He never gave me the discount)

This company president's credibility is no longer in question. He has proved beyond a doubt that he does not know what his company is doing. He has also proved that he does not pay attention to customer complaints.

What a pitiful excuse for non-performance: "We have been in business for over 100 years and I do not appreciate attacks of our credibility.

That sounds too much like what we hear from our elected representatives in Washington, DC and elsewhere.

Any company that does not listen to its customers is on a short route to
oblivion because their marketplace is well-connected on the Internet and discusses poor
treatment as well as good treatment.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Shooting yourself in the foot and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Some companies still do not understand that customers talk about their experiences

  1. Mike Brown says:

    David please, who was the company? I may have had similar experiences. Mike Brown

  2. Julie says:

    This reminds me of all the times sales neglected the needs of our new customers and treated them with a total alck of respect. In tech support I went out of my way to ensure that people who’d bought our products were happy that they got the best return for their investment, alas sales simply pocketed their large commissions and move on to the next kill…

    And whenever I complained I was shouted down

    Winning a sale is only the first step, in my opinion, keeping the client is what really matters

    Don’t you think

  3. Mike,

    I sent you the information by email and will share it with any framer who asks.

    I did not include the company president’s name because this situation is more important as an example of really bad business practice rather than an indictment of a particular individual.

    This company is an old time wholesale distributor in the picture framing industry where the president is very set in his ways and is very defensive when anyone complains about their customer experiences.

    I have read other complaints about this company on an industry forum and the president spends a lot of time defending his business practices rather than changing them or even acknowledging that other solutions might be possible.

    One might say that he does not recognize that his way of doing business does not set customer expectations properly.

    In fact, it appears that he has expectations for customer behavior and does not know how to communicate so that his expectations are met.

    For example, the company president emailed me a special three day discount offer because I was a subscriber to his email list. Usually, when you get a discount offer from an online merchant, you get a special code that you enter to show what discount you were offered. This offer included no code and it didn’t even have a special link to the website!

    When I took advantage of the offer, and logged into his company website, it had no provision to apply the discount, even though I was logged in.

    After an extended email exchange with the company president in which I sent him images of every transaction and his original offer, he sent a final email where he said that most customers mention the discount on their order and I had not done that.

    He has his expectations of how customers should do business with him and if you have not done business with his company long enough to figure this out, you are wrong.

    In the well-connected world of the Internet, customer can easily compare notes and will deal with those merchants who want to provide service as opposed to those who want to be right.

    This company president is more interested in being “right” than in doing business.

  4. Julie,

    Your statement is so true:
    “Winning a sale is only the first step, in my opinion, keeping the client is what really matters”

    A business transaction should be a win-win proposition. The company and its employees should benefit and the customer should benefit. Any transaction that benefits some at the expense of others will eventually rebound on the perpetrators.

    Keeping a client is more than just doing what the client wants. It involves setting expectations properly for everyone involved. When certain aspects of the deal are hidden from some of the participants, upset will eventually occur.

    Salesmen compensated to “hit and run” are not motivated to see that customers are supported. They will promise the customer “anything” to get the order and then will split for new opportunities.

    I was in tech support for many years and am quite familiar with cleaning up the mess left by unscrupulous salesmen and avaricious corporate management.

    I have also been in management and had to deal with problems of indifferent or too generous tech support, so I know there can be problems on all sides.

    Estimating the extent of a problem to be solved and charging enough so that the company can profitably do business is an arcane art that has challenged the best minds of all times. Managing the various parts of the organization so that this all occurs and customers will keep coming back is not an easy task.

    When it occurs, it is a wonderful experience for all concerned.

  5. Yvonne says:

    David; I am sorry to hear about this frustrating matter. Clearly, the president of this company is clueless…and defensive.

    I want you to know that I had an excellent experience dealing with your company recently, and two days later, when I described my experience to a colleague, I was asked for your business card — which I enthusiastically gave to her!

  6. Ho says:

    Has a similar experience, I just switched a service provider 🙂

  7. Bill says:

    David, I love your analogy of: “That sounds too much like what we hear from our elected representatives in Washington, DC and elsewhere.”

    Then there are the supposed “customer service“ people with Sprint, Embarq, Adobe, or Linksys, or other software companies whose first impulse is to blame the caller for the problems that the vendor caused, and only after stressful efforts do they realize that the vendors caused the problems, but they rarely acknowledge it, if they can speak English you can understand.

    With bad customer appreciation and top down arrogance, you will vote with your feet as you go elsewhere, and we will vote with our ballot as we try to change the attitude and perspective in Washington.

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