Did I already do a Work Post this week? I’m too lazy to look. Fuck it. It’s go time.
A Tale of Two Shitties
Chapter One: You Want It When?
Tom’s Law #42
Fast shipping to customers is fraught with danger.
A customer visits your ecommerce website and places an order. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Whoo hoo! It’s time to celebrate by rolling around like a pig in shit.
It’s not just any order, either. One with an $800 item and a $20 accessory. Score!
Demotivational Dictionary: customer
An idiot stupid enough to want the meaningless shit you sell. And want it yesterday.
The customer wants fast shipping. Uh oh.
What is fast shipping? It’s a deviation from your normal shipping routine. It requires you to make a different kind of label, possibly using another piece of software or some other change in procedure. And, most likely, it means you have to meet a tighter deadline. Normally the package would take its place at the end of the order queue for the 4:30 shipping pickup. But rush orders have a tighter 2:30 deadline. Stop whatever you are doing and deal with this customer’s shit … now.
If you make an error with regular shipping, that’s not the end of the world. The procedure is simple. Apologize and make it right using your standard shipping method.
But what if that error is made on an order with fast shipping? Let’s say the customer wanted it overnight and paid $25 extra. If you fuck up that order, guess what? The customer is going to want the fix sent overnight, too. After all, that’s what the customer paid for, right?
Back to our example. The customer wanted two day air. The cow orker, who isn’t the mooiest heifer in the herd, forgot to include the $20 accessory. Without the accessory that $800 item is doubly worthless. Oops.
Tom’s Law #42
Any customer phone call that begins with “I just received my package” is not going to turn out well.
Two days later and the customer called in. He had just received his package. He explained there was a missing item. The requisite fake apologies were tendered. The customer was promised that the forgotten item would ship out immediately.
But not until an inventory of that product was conducted to make sure the customer wasn’t lying through his teeth. Of course, the customer wasn’t told this part. Ours is a relationship built on trust.
It turned out we had one extra of the accessory, so this time the customer was to be believed. The boss authorized the replacement to go out. And it was to go out Priority Mail.
Mothafucka! Say what?
Yep. It was our mistake and now we’re going to exacerbate the problem by sending the forgotten item with a method slower than what the customer originally paid for. I guess this is what the boss means when he brags over and over again about how we “take care” of our customers. I guess he means that in a mafioso sort of way. “We’re going to take care of this little problem.”
Chapter Two – Customer Service Will Fuck You Now
It was four business days later. The customer had returned. This was perplexing. Didn’t we already “fix” that problem? Mwuahahahaha!
Our first inkling of trouble was the multiple lengthy voice messages left on our system by the customer. It seemed the customer wanted to discuss the intricacies of the problem in intimate details and in every possible theoretical direction.
The phone system turned over and it was showtime. We were now open for business. Obviously, since the customer had already left multiple messages, he’d no doubt give us time to work the problem and get back to him.
The phone rang.
The boss said, “I’ll handle this.”
There is something you should know about the boss. He treats everyone like children. You see, he’s the only one who knows anything. Everyone else is incapable of wiping their own asses without his genius assistance. He treats everyone like children. That includes his own spouse, his children (which is somewhat understandable), his friends, people who walk in off the street, his employees, and yes, even his customers. It’s his way and it has the subtle effect of making everyone hate him. For being the most intelligent person ever, he sure doesn’t seem to grok that people hate being treated like shit. How odd that anyone would ever balk at the incredible gift of his intelligence.
The story continues…
Now that the customer had an actual person on the phone, he wanted to tell his story, from the beginning, one more time. It seemed that he was absolutely livid and frothing at the mouth that it had been four business days and the promised item still hadn’t arrived.
The boss stomped him and cut him off.
There’s another thing you should know about the boss. He will only interact with anyone when he does 99% of the talking. The only function of the other person is to absorb his wisdom and respond with one-word answers to yes/no questions. Not only is he the smartest person in the whole world, but he’s also the busiest and the most important. If, on the other hand, you try to ask him a yes/no question, he’ll cut you off and then go all verbose and shit. It’s very much a one-way street with the boss.
The boss harshly interrupted the customer and began peppering the customer with his world-famous yes/no questions … while the customer was still talking.
“I just asked you a question,” said the boss. “Can you hear me? Is this phone working? Are you able to hear me?”
Thus began a wonderful circle of communication. The boss would ignore everything the man said until he got a yes or no response. Then, still ignoring everything the man was saying, he’d launch a new yes/no question and begin the process anew.
It was truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Eventually the boss had gotten all the answers he needed, barked, “Thank you for calling” and hung up on the guy, who was still trying to be heard.
Me? I sat watching in silent awe and, on the inside, I was laughing my ass off. This is how you treat a customer who spent over $800 on your website for bullshit products? A customer who is simply trying to get you to fix your own mistake?
Cow orker handled it a bit differently. She tried repeating the bosses name while he was still on the phone, quietly imploring the boss to act with a skosh of human decency. The boss ignored her.
Call my boss. Go ahead. I dare you. Pretend to be interested in our of our expensive items. He’ll be glad to tell you all the bullshit about how we value our customers and our reputation. “We don’t just care about the sale,” he likes to say. “We want happy customers. We want you to come back and buy from us again.” Actually, that’s not true. The salivating fool just wants the money he sees in his immediate future. He’ll say anything to get that. Once it’s over, though, it’s over. He no longer gives a damn. “You can go to hell!” seems to be his motto. His actions are not congruous with his words. (As in every other aspect of his life, too.)
I asked the boss why the missing item had been sent Priority Mail when the customer originally had two-day air. Why hadn’t we done the right thing? “I was being cheap,” said the boss. “I took a gamble.” Yeah, a gamble that didn’t pay off. You did it with a customer who’s life hangs in the balance if he doesn’t get the item on time.
The very next day the customer called again. Another fun time ensued! I need popcorn for my job. Since the Priority Mail gamble had taken four days, the customer just couldn’t wait, and had to go buy the item elsewhere. He was canceling the item that hadn’t arrived yet and would be returning it for refund. The boss said fine.
The customer had another point to make, though. “Yes, I can hear you!” he yelled at the boss repeatedly. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!
The boss hung up the phone and had a perplexed look on his face. “Wow. Some people,” he said. “This guy is still holding a grudge about that. Wow. Some people just don’t get it. This guy has issues.”
If only the boss had been talking to a mirror then we might have had one of the few moments in my career with him where we could have agreed on something.