Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sometimes You Gotta Play Hardball

Yesterday I ran 3 miles... at 3:30pm... outside... in 93 degree weather. Why? Well, because I like the hard road. Ok, not really... it started that I hadn't shaved my legs and I figured less people would notice if I ran on the trail instead of at the gym. But I really don't care THAT much, so the bigger reason was that I wanted to calibrate my sports watch and needed to do it on a marked path so I could get it right.

People, I used to run every day at that time during this time of year when I was on the cross country team in highschool. I don't know how I did it!! I felt like trash by the time I finished 3 miles. I think I got the watch configured correctly, so I suppose it was worth it.

After I cleaned up, I headed to the Boro to meet up with some of the girls in my diamond family from my ADPi days (think big sister/little sister). We had such a great time talking and laughing and catching up. I definitely enjoyed having a girls' night and hope to have more in the future. It certainly brought back some memories from my college days. Then, when I was driving home I realized it's been ages since I'd done the ADPi rally. I seriously had to think about it for a second and make sure I remembered all the words! My little diamond and I talked briefly about trying to get an Alumnae Association going... it'd definitely be awesome to get that up and running!

So today has been on of those days when I've had to get a little rough and tough. I think anyone who knows me at least a little bit (whether in person or via this blog) knows that I have a generally happy disposition. It doesn't take a lot to get me truly upset, and I rarely flip my lid over something small.

However, I've learned over the past 2 years in my current job that sometimes you really have to change gears and play hardball. It seems like that's all I've been doing today.

Example 1 - I got an email this morning saying this:

"Well, I never got a response to my question. So I consider this order attempt failed, and I do not expect my credit card to be charged, nor for the items to be shipped. I will order from another supplier. Thanks anyway."

When I scrolled down (because I was confused and had NO idea what this guy was talking about) I found this that he supposedly had emailed earlier (but that is nowhere to be found in my inbox):

"I tried to submit an order this evening, but got an error. I do not have a lot of patience for Web sites that do not work. If you want to sell on the Internet, you need to invest in decent software. So, did my order go though or not? Please let me know. Here is the text of the error for your tech people, or the people you have hired to do the technical work (by the way, a Null Pointer Exception is an indication of very amateur programming and testing)"

Um, hello... first of all, if you don't have patience for websites that don't work, then why even bother to email me and try to place the order when you think it didn't work the first time? Second, who do you think you're helping by calling us amateur? If you call us names the first time you have any kind of problem, we probably don't want to deal with you anyways. And third, did you ever think to wonder why you didn't get a response to your first email... like maybe that you didn't actually send one?

I of course was very polite and wrote back that I didn't receive his first email or I would have responded and that our phone number is on the website so he could call if he'd prefer and that I have been receiving orders all week so I don't think there's anything wrong with the website.

It hasn't hurt my feelings he didn't respond again. We won't be crying any rivers over losing his business. Name callers are not accepted here.

Example 2 - UPS has been giving me grief for months. Normally, they're easy to deal with, but after they wouldn't pay for a package they damaged because they determined it was "insufficient packaging" they've been a pain in my butt. I've been calling for weeks about getting someone to come out here and look at what we do and tell us why the packaging isn't sufficient so that we can then go to the vendor and tell THEM why their packaging is crap and insist they change it.. and pay us for that damaged item.

Anyways, I had been talking with this one guy and he kept saying he'd come and then he quit calling back. So I called UPS to ask them to get me back in touch with him (because of course he never would give me his direct number) and they have a system of emailing your rep and asking them to call you. I asked them to do that, yet again, and the woman starts asking me a million gazillion questions about how many packages we ship and how much they each weigh. I was annoyed to say the least because they HAVE all of that information. It's how they send me an invoice every month.

I finally had to stop answering her questions and tell her that none of it is relevant and that I just need her to email this guy and tell him he better call me because my boss is threatening to switch to FedEx.

Example 3 - My boss ordered an iMac as a surprise for his wife. (I think he saw mine and was sooo impressed with it.) It came on Monday, but he called me from home to tell me it didn't have a power cord, mouse, keyboard or software. He was heading out of town, so I had to call and let them know. They apologized profusely and shipped the stuff Next Day Air.

I took everything over to their house today to hook it up for her and show her how to use it. When it came on, it went to a main screen and was like "Welcome Carlos!" Carlos? Who's Carlos?

It turns out it was a refurbished computer (and the boss ordered a NEW one) and they hadn't even cleaned off the hard drive. When we connected to the internet to go to her email page, all sorts of spam pop-ups cluttered the screen. I said it first: "The Bob is NOT going to be happy."

Before letting Bob know of this drama, I've called the company (who is not Apple, it's just a certified reseller, who clearly needs to be uncertified) to let them know and insist on them sending an UPS pick-up slip to take it back and reshipping a NEW computer Next Day Air. It crushes the blow to the Bob a bit when the situation is resolved before I email him in Atlanta and tell him what happened.

Example 4 - And this one is directly related to my blog. I didn't realize until yesterday that my blog accepted anonymous comments. This has already been corrected.

With my journalism degree came the opinion that anoynmous comments/letters to the editor are not valid, especially when they are in disagreement with what has been written. Don't get me wrong - I welcome disagreement. It does not bother me as long as nothing inappropriate is said. However, if you want to disagree with me, you have to tell me who you are..

To the person who left the anonymous comment yesterday (that has now been deleted): I do hope you'll continue to come back and read, and please know that you are welcome to comment. I will insist that you not be anonymous. I have deleted your comment only because of my policy that anonymous commenters are not appropriate and I didn't realize my blog was accepting them.

I would also like to say that I continue to disagree with you on your opinion of Dean Karnazes. I do not believe he is a self-promoter. I think anyone who runs the crazy kinds of things he does SHOULD write books and things of the like because other runners (and probably some non-runners, too) want to know how someone does such things. Nothing about him strikes me as being egotistical... he has never once come across to me like he's doing these things for recognition. He's doing them to see what he can do. And he has his reasons that fuel his passion for running, just like the rest of us do. More power to him. And if anyone else does these sort of things, I'd want to read how they do it, too. We need more positive role models like that in this world... people who are encouraging people to go after their dreams, believe that anything is possible, and never give up.

Example 5 - When I call you and ask for an updated item and price list, send it. When I call a second time a few days later and ask again, send it. If I have to call a third time, I won't be happy.

I think this gets all of the ranting out of my system. My regular readers know it doesn't happen often, but today is just one of those days. I definitely am a little proud of how I've learned to handle situations with other customer service people... maybe because I work on the other end of customer service and know how easy it is to take care of the customer. I've learned how to boldly assert myself and demand what I deserve as a customer without crossing the line of being a b*tch. I suppose that's a good thing to be able to do.

Going for a run today to get it all out of my system. Back to my normal happy-go-lucky self tomorrow.


*aron* said...

oh geeeeez... dean is so incredibly humble and just wants to insprire other people to find their passion, push their limits and be active!! what is wrong with that??

The Davis Family said...

Hey Mel,
How do you fix it so it doesn't allow anonymous comments?