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How would you react to this??

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  • How would you react to this??

    A customer ordered a couple of items, and after I emailed him that one of the items is out of stock, he sent me this:

    To whom it may concern,

    It's very troubling to me that I just received the below email. I am planning a trip that I was going to use this specific tent for in 3 weeks so I was hoping to get the tent next week that I believed was going to be the case from my order details in order to inspect it, and actually assemble it before I go. So this inconvenience isn't very welcomed at the moment, and I don't really understand how I can order an item on your website with it being out of stock in your warehouse. I am a first time customer with this site and if I knew this was going to be the case with no availability known for the product I need, I probably would not have ordered through you. Please fix this for your future customers so that your business will not look as bad as does to me at this moment, and let me know as soon as this product is back in stock and ready to be shipped out. Also let me know if there is anything that your company would like to do for me in order to put my mind at ease with my purchase with your company, and prevent me from looking at this purchase in the negative light I presently do.

    Your reaction??

  • #2
    Well, based on similar emails that I've received in the past from my brides, I'd say he's a pretty nice guy! At least he didn't accuse you of ruining his wedding--the most special day of his life, blah, blah, blah. :)

    This is exactly why we had custom programming done so that for every product the customer can see exactly how many of that item are in stock--specific to the options chosen. If in stock, the shipping message states that it will ship right away. If not in stock, it says "please allow 2-3 weeks for shipment", or "on back order until approx. September 2009". We still get an occasional customer who doesn't read and expects their product right away, but it solved 99% of the problems that we had.

    Let us know how it plays out with him :)


    • #3
      Bah. I am not saying that we ever want to not satisfy our customers, but think about your experiences purchasing from a lot of big companies online. They are horrible for not shipping right away, not having stock, etc. Our small stores are 10000000000 times better than them.

      I don't think there is anything you can do except lay out exactly when the item will be off backorder and let him cancel if needed. Don't engage in his theatrics...

      Life goes on.



      • #4

        We've ran into plenty of situations like this in the past. We sell on multiple channels (multiple websites, ebay, amazon, etc. etc.), which means it's very difficult to have all channels have the exact inventory levels at all times. We update the quantities at least once per day across the different channels, but there are times where we will have 5 in stock of an item, and the item just blows up. Two sell on ebay, 3 sells on amazon, and 2 sell on the website. All the sudden, we have an out of stock issue.

        We typically handle it by immediately sending them an email stating the expected in stock date. With this email, it specifically states how there can be an out of stock item. Most customers understand that when you have many selling channels, it's not always possible to keep 100% accurate inventory levels on all channels at the same time. We've given discounts on the products in the past if there is a nice size margin on the product. In other cases, we'll offer expedited shipping once the item is in stock, or we give them a coupon to use on their next purchase - or a combination of all. I guess it really depends what you feel this customers value is to your company. Do you think they will become a life long customer - or is this a one and done. Needless to say, if they fit the profile of a life long customer, I would do everything to keep them happy - even possibly losing money on the sale. If you do - let them know it! Say "You know, we really want to make sure you are taking care of. We want you to shop with us in the future. Because of this, we will give you 20% off this sale, and expedite your shipping when it comes in stock. We'll be losing $10 on this sale, but we hope in the future to make this up by you shopping with us for all your tent needs." Most rational customers will remember this, and as long as you keep in touch with them - they will remember the great service and come back.


        • #5
          Sounds like someone is trying to get something for free or super cheap. I have a friend who does this crap and sometimes succeeds.


          • #6
            I have to agree that we have experienced far worse cases (in fact, we had one just last week) and that this customer is at least trying to communicate a valid issue to you, though I also agree it's a little dramatic. In this type of case, we always apologize for the inconvenience, and just try to let the customer know as much information as possible--we're a small company, we sometimes have computer/database errors, and then let them know exactly when they might expect the product to be available. I find that, so much of the time, people are frustrated by the seeming lack of response from the other end of a problem and most really appreciate just hearing a sincere apology and a detailed, personalized, honest reply. For some, the internet feels like a big scary void where scammers and credit card thieves are lurking to harm them. Receiving a little reassurance from your end will probably help a great deal. Of course, there are those people who are, as Wookie said, professionals at finding the chinks in a company's armor and exploiting them in an attempt to get something for free, but I think that those people are the exception and you can usually spot them because they will accept no resolution you offer and keep holding out for something for nothing.

            Also, I'd take this valid complaint and see if there's anything that can be done to mitigate future repeats, as this customer said.

            Good luck, and please let us know what happens.


            • #7
              We changed our "In Stock" message to read "Usually ships out in 2-3 days".
              We use this as a response to similar emails.
              Agreed they are fishing for freebies.
              They wouldn't send a similar email to Walmart.
              We would offer to cancel their order in entirety or just the missing item, we will do so immediately. Usually they say go ahead and keep the order! :cool:


              • #8
                An update

                Thanks for the responses.

                In order to be helpful I offered this person a larger tent for the same price and we could ship it to him right away.

                This is what he wrote back:

                Again, I ordered the three-person tent instead of the five-person tent because I actually did want the three-person tent. Don't you think that if I wanted the five-person tent I would have ordered that instead of the three-person tent? I really feel that your company is completely inept to carry out an order and your customer service is probably the worst that I've ever had to deal with. If not for your unbeatable prices I would have completely revoked my order and never shopped with you again. Please do not send me any more emails unless you have the three-person chinook whirlwind tent ready to be shipped to me because that is what I Ordered and Want, nothing else.

                So how would you respond now??
                Last edited by GoldenEagleOutdoors; 07-23-2009, 04:57 PM.


                • #9
                  Cancel their order immediately. You are looking at nothing but trouble.


                  • #10
                    Yup, I felt that way about this. No matter what I did, this person would not be happy. This is the most baffling case I have ever experienced in my business experience. Wow, where do these people come from??


                    • #11
                      I'm afraid I'd have to agree - cancel the order and issue a refund. Then block their IP address from accessing your site.

                      Dear Mr. Whackjob,

                      We apologize that we were unable to complete this transaction to your satisfaction. We have cancelled your order and issued a refund to your account. Please let us know if the credit does not appear on your next credit card statement.

                      Please feel free to contact us if you should have any questions.



                      • #12
                        I agree also--he's probably just waiting for you to send an irate email back so he can post it somewhere. Some people just cannot be reasoned with. Have you charged his card already? If so, beware the chargeback from a customer like this.


                        • #13
                          No. Sorry Fr*k,
                          Don't give ANY indication that a refund may not appear on their account.
                          You should word it as: Your order has been cancelled and a full credit will be issued to your card within 3 business days.
                          And, possibly expect a chargeback so, keep all transactions and credit memos.


                          • #14
                            Well, fortunately their was only an authorization done on this persons card rather than a full charge. I check to make sure its in stock before charging their card. I thought about mentioning it, but I decided not to say anything in my final response to this person. I just said that you have insulted me and my company, in response we have cancelled your order and we ask you not to visit our website in the future.


                            • #15
                              Good job.
                              What credit processor do you use?
                              We are not able to process an authorize only transaction. Our processor (Elavon) is not fully integrated with 3dcart.