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How not to treat your customers

In the past couple of months I have had occasion to order a number of items from various online vendors. Most of these arrived at my doorstep without any delays of other hitches. But two of them got hung up.

I had already been charged for the items and I needed them. And not being a particularly patient person, I began to inquire as to their fate.

Both of these sellers were individuals, not large online resellers and both represent the kind of small, made in America businesses I am so fond of praising. So I was not inclined to be heavy handed with either of them. I simply inquired as to the status of my order and asked for a realistic ETA.

In both cases I was given a laundry list of personal problems ranging from sore backs to deathly ill family members. In addition, one of them told me that he had been at a conference and invested several lengthy paragraphs telling me how poorly his employees had performed during his absence and how that had caused further delays in his being able to ship product.

Don't get me wrong here. It's not that I don't understand that life can throw curves, some of them pretty vicious. And I do realize how difficult finding reliable employees can be. But I think this is one of the worst things you can lay on your customers. For the most part, they don't want to hear all about how difficult your life is. They just want their stuff. In my case, I would have much preferred to be told simply, "Sorry, I'm running behind and will get your order out as soon as I can", maybe accompanied by some token "throw in" to make up for the delay.


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