Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How NOT to Handle Complaints

*There will be some unprofessional language in the links provided below.

Ocean Marketing took every single wrong turn possible in handling a complaint from a justly dissatisfied customer. Ocean Marketing has never had a complaint to the BBB, but the way they handled this single issue, not even filed with us, has caused an incredible amount of grief for the company.

A customer dissatisfied with delayed shipping of product, coupled with rude and vague communication from Ocean Marketing, forwarded his email chain with PR Rep Paul Christoforo to internet traffic magnet, Penny Arcade. Penny Arcade published the entire chain. Read the details here. The rep from the company patronizes the customer for his valid complaint, then berates Penny Arcade's founder Mike Krahulik.  On the occasions that people have insulted Penny Arcade, and as soon as Penny Arcade fans heard about it, it fanned internet flame wars with unparalleled intensity.

Apparently Mr. Christoforo wasn't finished torching his reputation, because he begins trashing other industry professionals for refuting his shameless namedropping. Gaming site Kotaku's Editor and Chief also refuted Mr. Christoforo's claims of his support. Another industry powerhouse, IGN, weighed in as well, condemning the actions of Ocean Marketing.  Other sites are also coming forward with their stories of poor customer service from Paul Christoforo. *Special thanks to this guy for compiling most of the links above.

In addition to the general customer service no-noes this Chistoforo guy engaged in, he tragically misunderstands his customer base. The customer in this story, Dave, accurately sums them up:

"You Show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who's quite established, AND a lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers. We're demanding, vocal customers but the flip side is we're loyal and eager to spend."

Hardcore gamers are just about the only group that can activate an effective boycott. They're tight knit and back each other up. If one of them is wronged, they all feel wronged. They also know that if something happens to one person, it can happen to another. The customer only asked to be kept informed, which is a mild request, and typical of hardcore gamers. More than most any other customers, they're extremely well-informed about their purchases and know what to expect. What could Paul Christoforo have been thinking?

Needless to say, business owners, use this as a lesson on how NOT to handle a complaint.

No comments:

Post a Comment