Friday, April 4, 2008

Why is it that I always seem to post on Friday? It’s probably because as I stand in the shower on Friday mornings, running the list of things I did and didn’t get accomplished for the week, blog guilt sets in. I think of 100 things every morning that I want to post, but somewhere between the shower and the computer life’s little details get in the way.

I’ve spent far too many hours this week dealing with email. Our name, web address, email, phone, etc is on every one of our publications. It’s easy for our customers to contact us. I like that. If you have a problem, we are here to help.

In the “no good deed goes unpunished” department: We had a person order a pattern from California. She needed it for class on a specific date. My mostly Catholic staff sent it to her “regular” mail, assuming the post office would perform in a reasonable way and deliver it in a timely fashion. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a slam on Catholics. It is just that I’ve learned that people that were raised by parents of the depression and schooled by nuns are absolutely incapable of waste. They will save you money at every opportunity (regular mail vs. priority mail). They will write on BOTH sides of the paper and never use a sheet that is larger than needed (I think that’s why 3M makes the tiny Post-It’s!). In an effort to save the customer the few dollars of extra postage, the package took longer than expected and set the customer into a tizzy on Sunday afternoon.

As part of our “customer service” I took the time to email the customer a detailed list of cutting instructions and options so that she could prepare for class. Her package arrived Monday afternoon in time for her Tuesday class. I can only assume that she was pleased with our service and told everyone about my email. I’m assuming that is true because by Wednesday I started to receive messages that read “Please email me the -------- instructions, I’m taking a class”. Hmmmmm? We SELL those patterns. It’s is part of what helps pay the electric company, the phone company, etc around here. The only reason I emailed instructions to the first customer is that she had PURCHASED the pattern and we had delayed the delivery by trying to save her $ on postage. That took several emails each to explain.

Then there are the people that ask 1 sentence questions and only sign their name or initials. That may seem reasonable to you, but it is delivered to me via the WORLD WIDE WEB. Your message is mixed in with requests from Australia, Japan, Canada, etc. and it is often difficult to tell the difference. “What will it cost to send me a yard of fabric?” is not a question that can be answered in one sentence; although I have to admit that I am often tempted to respond “A lot”. If you live in the greater Pittsburgh area the price is much less than if you live in Europe! “Do you have this?” messages with no attachment are another of my favorites. Have what? An then there are the people that you respond to, in detail, only to have your message bounce back because you are not on their approved list of recipients. They usually write back to berate you for not responding. If you happen to be Kathy T. with a blackkat email address, yes I did respond. You will need 9 additional blocks.

I’m afraid that as the gasoline prices continue to rise, so will the email requests. Not a problem. We’re here to help, but do me a favor help me out and give me all the details in your first request!


Anonymous said...

Amen! Amen! I work in an industry that deals not only in e-mail but in voice mail messages. People call up literally screaming into the voice mail message, reciting a litany of complaints and glimpses of information and then slam the phone down, not leaving their name or a phone number or any references that would help us back track. Often their parting statement is that unless they hear back from us within "x" amount of time they will be in touch with their lawyer. {{sigh}} I feel your pain, Karen ... thanks to both you and all your staff for the great work that you do, all with patience and humor!

Lynne in Hawaii said...

Before some of the customers rant about you not replying to their e-mail they need to learn to check their SPAM box to see if you have been blocked. Your patience and good humor are truly refreshing! Thanks!

Sister Dela said...

Thank you for your honesty and humor. Just think of all the people whom you inspire with your creativity, passion and dedication. May Quilting connect us all.