Recently, on Half.com, I ordered a CD by the Swedish group, Rednex. When I got it, the CD had thick, Vaseline-like smears, some fingerprints, and a few minor scratches. I had to clean the CD pretty heavily, but when I got it clean, it played without complaint. Well, I left neutral feedback, stating what happened. I got a very angry letter that said, "IT IS PROFESSIONAL AND COURTEOUS TO CONTACT YOUR SELLERS B4 LEAVING BAD FEEDBACK." Maybe so, but how could she have fixed this? I did get the item and got it to work, so I didn't leave her negative feedback. The CD was $4.00, I didn't think I would get a refund or any satisfying response. So I just left a neutral sort of "buyer beware" kind of thing. Mine sits along with a few other comments she has about her sales of a similar nature. "Not what I expected," and "Took too long and book was mangled." Her responses were always angry and in all-caps, a few of them also stating "why didn't you mail me?" Well... maybe it's because your responses are so full of all caps to begin with? Take it easy, lady, you have a 99.5% rating. I read her feedback, and she leaves a lot of "NEWBIE CAN'T READ DESCRIPTIONS... NEWBIE LEAVES BAD FEEDBACK INSTEAD OF EMAILING ME!" kinds of answers. I can just picture this poor woman, sitting an an overstuffed Lay-Z-Boy, shaking her cane at the TV, shouting, "DAMN NEWBIES!!!"
In customer service, we were always told "for every person that complains about bad service, there are ten who will stay silent." Often, it doesn't seem fair. Especially because when someone has a good experience at a store, they rarely remember it, but if something bad happens? You'll be lucky to see them again. And what's even worse? They'll probably tell ten people who will turn around and tell a few more people. Life is the same way.
A good example is someone with offensive body odor. Maybe not offensive, let's just say you have a coworker that smells a bit odd, but it's only bad if you get close. Over time, people will avoid that coworker, and won't tell them why. "It's not that he smells bad," they might say to another worker, "it's just... well, I don't want to get too close, that's all." And the coworker will never know. It's hard enough to tell someone they smell bad. "Want a mint? No? You sure? Have a mint... please?" Most would rather die than say, "You stink, my brother!" to someone they have to work with. You could say this is unfair; how is the person supposed to better themselves of they don't know? Well, you are right, it's not fair. Life is not fair.
Sara: That's not fair!
Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis of comparison is.
--Sara and Jareth, "Labyrinth"
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000472.html