email makes me feel special

I’m in the market for a refurbished iBook for school next year. And I’ve been weeding through offical Apple dealers comparing prices and deals they offered. I had a lot of questions to ask too, I was impressed when my first question (“will you ship to Canada?”) was answered in 4 minutes from one place. That was great. I was happy, and asked a few more questions, they were pleasant to deal with and helped me out. Then they sold out of the model I wanted (I think it was already sold out, the site just wasn’t updated, they since updated it when I asked).

So I went to the Little Mac Shoppe and talked to the friendly staff (I think his name was Dale), and they let me play with an iBook (and the coolest damn USB-lightbulb I’ve ever seen). I saw on their site that they rented Macs, but it was too expensive for somebody just trying to see if they got along with OS X.

I decided to continue my efforts via the internet, and I was disappointed that when I emailed questions to them, I didn’t get replies within a day, and then in two. I understand if they can’t have somebody sitting there watching the inbox all day, but I would have expected them to check at least once a day. That sort of turned me off as a customer. Even though no malice was intended (as I said, my real-world visit was great) the email cold-shoulder made me and my business feel unwanted. Maybe this is how 8 year olds on ICQ who got my contact feel when I don’t get back to them in the first minute and they begin wondering “why do u hate me rob?? a/s/l?”.

So I’m remaining hopeful that somebody will read my question about whether or not the LMS is able to hook me up with a tasty, factory refurbished G3/600 iBook.

UPDATE: After speaking with the good Mac people, we’ve determined that there is a strange technical issue that is keeping me from getting mail them right now. They tried to be prompt, but the Man had other ideas. Furthermore, they have expanded their ways of being contacted to use some IM methods too. Cheers.


7 thoughts on “email makes me feel special

  1. Okay, I’ve been waiting for the correct forum to voice this complaint and I believe this is it.

    Companies Who Don’t Respond To Email Are Ruining It For Everyone
    and losing valuable customers

    I have had several terrible responses from emailed queries. Here are a few:

    • British Banks
      Question: What do I need to bring with me to setup a British bank account?
      Emails: 8

      Responses: 1 (Lloyds TSB), one more response came 2 months later.
    • Airmiles
      Question: How many airmiles do I have?
      Emails: 4
      Responses: 0
    • Nvidia
      Question: My video card is broken, what is the warranty (don’t tell me to take it back to the dealer as this is impossible)
      Response: Take it back to your dealer.

    The way I interpret these responses is that these companies really don’t care about their customers. Getting no response after posing a legitimate question to a company is just as bad as if they were to snub the customer when they came into the local branch or store. No company would let their customer representatives turn away a customer when put face-to-face with them, but somehow ignoring the customer via email is company “policy”. I wonder if they treat actual written mail the same way (I doubt it).

    I think that large companies should be embracing email as a time and money saver. Most questions could be solved with a quick note or even a chosen form-email dealing with the subject. If these companies had it together, they would compile their frequent questions into a useful FAQ, for instance the banks must get questions about setting up international accounts all the time but none of them have a FAQ dealing with it. A small team of customer service people could deal with hundreds of emails a day.

    These companies that don’t respond to email are ruining corporate email communication for everyone. I can no longer expect a response from a company and am forced to rely on the phone or other methods to get my questions answered. If I have problems with my phone line (which I do) and I want them resolved, I pick up the phone and ring them because I have to assume they won’t get back to me.

    It really seems a case of mistaken customer service. It’s one of those great ideas that only got half-baked. The company sees the great possibilities of email communication, puts an email address on their website, and then forgets to hire anyone to answer.

    Hello! Companies, are you listening?


  2. For most large corporations, the abandonment of customer services is an active part of the plan which has been factored in by the accountants and for which they have bought in voicemail, website FAQ, PR consultancy, and labour redundancy. “Err, when I were a lad…” you went to the bank and the bank teller wrote down your withdrawl in pen in your wee book. Then in around 1979, they got a book updating printer, then they got a wall machine, then they placed wall machines everywhere and then they closed down all the branches or cut back on staffing and/or hours. 23 years later the banks profits are up and the service reduction plan has worked. It is not a function of bad corporate planning where the corporations are big enough, it is – from their point of view – good, money-making management. In a competative market where acquiring client loyalty is required – into which most SME’s fall – good customer relations is a factor that is high up on the list. In markets where regulation and mergers have reduced competition for new customers because customer options have become limited, there is no need to spend the cash. Rest assured that if you were to mail them, it would be equally ignored and if you showed up physically you might be ushered off the premises. Is there an equivalent of a credit union available? Are there any building societies left?

  3. Rob i will pass you email on to dave (Little Mac Shoppe) and will have him email you back ASAP..

    Nick i was checking out your photo gallery.. Looks like you having a good time up there.. hows it all going for you?

  4. dear god, it’s a shoppe-keeper’s worst nightmare. let me say first, we don’t hate you, rob. we just never got the email. or at least we never got an email from you until Saturday last (two days ago). which i reply to on either Saturday or Sunday, if i’m not mistaken. i hope you got them. we try to make ourselves as available as possible but sometimes things happen. all that said, the more experience i have with running a shop, the more i forgive… except for those big corporations they should all roast in the hotplace.

  5. I never assumed any hatred, I’ve never seen a Mac person hate a PC person if they were trying to convert. 🙂 I guess there must be some email troubles going on, since I still haven’t gotten a reply. No biggie. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I don’t need an iBook, I just want one. What I need is a desktop-system. And I have been sizing up one of those fancy new iMacs. I’ll stop by sometime.

    Aw geez, if I don’t get an iBook, I’ll have no need for your cool USB light. Aw well.

  6. This is somewhat off topic too, but it should be mentionned. Dave, we just spoke on the phone. I said something like “Sure I’ll go get him” it was concerning a MIDI-USB device.

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