Customer Service

Some areas of business cannot be automated…

Customer service is one of them. Over the weekend, I had an interesting and frustrating event. I registered for a new email management system that allows me to send video emails easily. I spent about 6 hours setting up my imported list, adding missing content, creating a Newsletter template, and creating my first autoresponder message for new people added through the web form.

The next morning, I logged on to create an email to go out on Monday and WHAM! My account had been terminated.

What happened?  All that time and effort wasted…to say I was unhappy was an understatement.

Guess what I did on Sunday?

I redid everything I had done the day before in MailChimp.  MailChimp now allows YouTube videos to be embedded into email Newsletters. (update – 2024 – most email marketing systems now allow videos to be sent via email).

This morning (Monday), I contacted the original company to request a refund and find out what happened. I assumed someone had reported my account as spam (the company sent out the autoresponder meant for the web form registrations to my entire list—not what I had planned). They said there were no complaints but that the account was suspended for content.

WHAT…There was no questionable content in my email. However, they confused my account with someone else and apologized for the inconvenience. UNBELIEVABLE!

They could have called…they could have emailed…they could have done several things.  They chose to terminate me for someone else’s indiscretions.

They lost a paying customer. They had terrible customer service!

Had they handled it differently and not made me redo everything with another company, they might have been able to salvage the business relationship.

Customer service cannot be automated…it just can’t.  Period.

Treat your customers right, and they will treat you right.

Update May 30, 2024—With AI and Chatbots readily available, some customer service functions are now automated. Chatbots can be programmed with common questions your customers ask. This will help them find the answer via your website and the chatbot.

However, it does not replace customer interactions. When a customer calls with questions, this is your time to cement the relationship or create a new customer. Most of us are solopreneurs or small business owners. We have the time to talk to our clients and potential clients. I will never automate this because it would be detrimental to my business.