How to lose a customer in a single email

by Ashvini on April 5, 2012 · 9 comments

in Business

When you have a business, often the customer interacts with you at various touch points. These touch points are your phones, email, social media accounts and your sales reps. The customer often expects an answer in not more than beyond one day. A lot of companies acknowledge the first call from the customer by confirming that they would call back or reply to their email as soon as possible. Then they call a little later to address the query of the customer.

It is simple process that has been made easier by the use of auto responders. Recently I had a chance to interact with an entrepreneurial company. This company offered something unique which was not offered by anyone else in my part of city. I was interested about their service and  before signing up wanted to clarify a query with them.

I sent a simple email asking for a response about my query from the company. I was promptly greeted by auto responder. Here it is.


Satisfied with the auto reply, I went about doing other work . It has been almost a day since I heard from them. It seems they are not monitoring their most advertised customer touch point, their email. It makes me wonder how would they treat me once I become their customer.

I am not reading much into this. Maybe it is just an oversight, I cannot say for sure. But as an entrepreneurial company, it is a big mistake on their part. Customer experience starts right from the time customer sees something about you at first. If a customer has decided to send a mail or call up your number, it is because they are interested in your product/service and they probably will buy from you.

If you are found lacking in your response to the customer first time, you have already lost a part of the goodwill. You have lost customer trust. Repeat it often and you will find your reputation lost even before your make your first dollar.

It is really easy to lose customer like this , hard to gain them back especially if you are a young entrepreneur. First interaction is very important. Do not let it go as unattended, lost email.

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Sabrina Sabino May 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

This reminds me of an incident that I encountered about 2 weeks ago. I bought a software from a company and I wasn’t entirely satisfied (because it didn’t work) so I asked for the possibility of a refund. Now, I also do business online so I understand how much it can bug someone to hear “can I have a refund”. But it’s something many of us have heard before. The best way to react would be to see if you can resolve the issue to avoid the refund (most customers would prefer to have the issue resolved). Immediately, the company called me a fraudster! They accused me of stealing their software I was shocked! How can someone who purchased their software (and the money was still in their possession) accuse the customer of such nonsense? That’s their idea of customer service…

Richard April 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Email response time is absolutely crucial and something I try to cut down on as much as possible after a few bad experiences like you mentioned above. One such experience actually happened a few weeks ago. A company in India did a product launch with a new WordPress plugin on a Wednesday. After I purchased it and had a lot of trouble installing it (I tried everything a number of times before contacting them) I decided to email their tech support on Thursday. I didn’t receive a response until the next Monday when the customer service rep said I should have known they took Friday off for a National Holiday and that they also don’t work weekends. He supported this by sending me wikipedia posts but could not provide any links to the actual company website where this was conveyed. Needless to say, I requested a refund and they lost a customer all due to very poor response time.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hi Richard,

Welcome to my blog.
Really sorry to hear about your experience. I am sure they will be regretting this in future. It was totally unprofessional.

Aswani April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Hi Ashvini…I couldn’t have agree more. These thing must be taken seriously. Email is a vital form of communication and lots of issues can arise out of it if not handled well. Few cases have happened here in the past where we did lose some of the clients because of delayed followup through mails. I literally had a tough time handling these issues but the good thing was that I was quick to learn from all these. It shouldn’t get repeated again hopefully..!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Hi Aswani,

I have not received a response yet. It shows how much they care about individual customers. I hope you were able to resolve your issues quickly.

Daria Steigman April 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Hi Ashvini,

They still haven’t responded? Think of it this way: they’ve gone you a favor and saved you a lot of aggravation by “telling” you upfront what kind of service to expect.

Have a great weekend,

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Hey Daria,

Its almost one week now. I wonder they just wanted to get the word out. I think though that it has, in a unfavorable way.
You are true, they have saved me a lot of trouble( they wanted a refundable deposit for their services).
You too have a great day . Thanks :)

Lori Gosselin April 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Hi Ashvini,
So true: “Customer experience starts right from the time customer sees something about you at first.” Does it seem presumptuous to you that the salutation says “Dear CUSTOMER”? :o
I don’t know why more businesses don’t invest in an extra operator (or 10) to just say hello when the phone rings or to answer an email personally right away. Do you think they just don’t consider it important to the bottom line?

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi Lori,

It is hilarious. This is now third day and I am still waiting to hear from them. I feel I was not dear to them at all;). I have a strong reason to believe that they started advertising their stuff before their processes are defined.
One reason could be that a single person ordering food will not add much to their bottom line ( you said it ). They have lost at least one customer and also will now have to bear opportunity cost because I would not be telling my friends about their awesome service ;).

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