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Monday, December 17, 2007

Customer Service: Can I Help You?

Mind if I rant a little?

Most of the time I really enjoy my work. But some days it just gets me down. It's not the long hours or the stress of the usual things that can go wrong in any business.

I've been in the mail order business, selling natural baby products - cloth diapers, etc. for 22+ years. And most of my dealings with my customers has been wonderful and so gratifying! It is great to know I am helping the environment and tons of moms and babies!

It's the constant questions and demands. I honestly love to help and often go out of my way to help wherever I can. Everyone who has ever dealt with me knows that.

But some days, I start to feel like the Know-It-All Answer Lady - on any subject in the world! Sadly, the following are all real questions! And yes, I did answer each and every one, kindly and carefully, to the best of my ability....

The following is what people have actually written and called me to ask... and what I wished I could have answered!

(None of these questions came from anyone I knew!)

Question - What is the current exchange rate? (Not buying from me - he was buying software from someone else and was angry when I said I hadn't checked that day.)

What I wish I could have answered - Well, sir, it seems that the Canadian dollar has made a drastic turn-around today, and it is now paying out $1.22 on every US dollar!

Question - My wife and I are going on holiday. Where do you suggest we go?

What I wish I could have answered - Have you considered Timbuktu? I heard it is beautiful this time of year!

Question - I love (some Canadian chocolate). Could you go and buy a box of it and send it to me? I will send you a cheque when it arrives here.

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! Don't bother sending a cheque, just know that we love our customers enough to do these little things for them!

Question - We are building a new house - would slate floors be safe for our 9 month old baby girl?

What I wish I could have answered - Yes, of course it will be fine! I am sure that after she splits her head open a few times, she will learn not to fall down.

Question - We want to buy (something I don't carry, like a brand of stroller). Would you search the Net for us and find one for the best price?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! It's been a slow day here anyway, and I was wondering what to do with my spare time.

Question - My husband is a teacher. it's the end of May and he doesn't get paid again till September. Could you send me 36 diapers and an assortment of covers now, and I promise to send you payment in Sept?

What I wish I could have answered - Of course! And can you tell all your friends that we are giving away merchandise?

Question - My husband and I only make $60,000 a year with one child, and we are having a terrible time making ends meet. Could you send us free diapers? Name brand, top-of-the-line only please!

What I wish I could have answered - Oh, you poor thing!? Have you applied for WIC yet?

Question - I am writing a paper for school. Will you write out all the reasons why, costs and concerns, etc. on using cloth diapers. I need the paper in by tomorrow morning and don't have time to do the research myself.

What I wish I could have answered - Would you like that single or double spaced?

Question - Do you believe in using cloth diapers? Would you use them on your own child?

What I wish I could have answered - Excuse me??? I sell cloth diapers! Of course I believe in them and use them on my own babies!

Question - My child has (some uncommon medical problem). Could you research the situation and get back to me with articles, references and medical practitioners who can help?

What I wish I could have answered - Finally - something to do besides sit and answer this phone all day long!

Question - My friend doesn't have Internet access. Will you print off your entire site and mail it to her? (I currently have nearly 1,100 pages!)

What I wish I could have answered - Would you like me to send that by Same-Day Courier, or deliver it personally?

Question - My 12 year old son wants to buy (some software program). Could you let me know who carries it?

What I wish I could have answered - I'm sure our company must sell it, it would probably be in with the diapers somewhere?

Question - I can't figure out how to wash these diapers. Will you come to my house and do it for me?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! I will jump into my private jet and get right over there!

Question - We're having a baby! Can you send us a free sample of each one of your products (I have hundreds of products!) and we will let you know if we are interested in making a purchase.

What I wish I could have answered - Of course! And don't bother making a purchase - just let us know if there is anything else you need after we send you all your diapering supplies!

Question - I am calling (long distance!) to tell you I found your product for $0.50 cheaper. Why are you ripping people off that way???

What I wish I could have answered - And exactly how much did you spend to call me long distance to tell me that??

Question - We bought our diapers at (some other company, I don't carry the product). Could you tell us more about this particular diaper, how to wash them, etc?

What I wish I could have answered - Why don't you call the company you bought them from? Why call me???

Question - Can you tell us where we can buy all of your products cheaper? An itemized list will be fine.

What I wish I could have answered - Would you prefer that alphabetically, or arranged by price?

Question - We bought your diapers a year ago, used them and they no longer fit (or we have decided we don't really like them). Can we return them for a full refund, and will you pay the shipping to send them back?

What I wish I could have answered: - Of course we will! And don't bother washing them either before you ship them back. We like old, poopy diapers. It gives us something to do in our off-hours!

Question - We bought our diapers from somewhere else. Can we return them to you for a refund?

What I wish I could have answered - Sure - it gives us a jump on the competition if we take back their products. And this is our double your refund week, if you return a product from one of our competitors!

Question - I have a Canadian friend in Surrey, BC. Could you call her and tell her I am coming to visit?

What I wish I could have answered: - Do you think she would mind if I call her collect? Things have been a bit tight lately, with all the merchandise we've had to give away, free boxes of chocolate we've shipped to the US and refunds we've had to make for competitor's product and year-old used returns.

Question - Why don't you carry disposable diapers???

What I wish I could have answered - Umm... Because we are a cloth diaper company and you can buy disposable diapers anywhere?

Question - We live in Small Town, USA, and can't find a Diaper Service. Will you make arrangements to set one up for us?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly - right away! What time would you like your diapers picked up?

Question - I live in Hawaii - why can't you get an order to me by 9 AM tomorrow? (from Canada!)

What I wish I could have answered - My private jet is broken down - sorry...

Question - Send me a complete list of all your suppliers - with phone, email and fax numbers please - as I am starting a competing business.

What I wish I could have answered - I actually get a call like this at least once a week! Do people really call up Sears and ask for a list of their suppliers?

Question - Go through your list of diaper companies on the World-wide Diapering Resource listings and send me all the contact info for the manufacturers only. I looked at your site, but don't have time to do it myself.

What I wish I could have answered - It's not enough that I gave in and provided a list of all the diaper companies for easy access to new business starting out??? Do you want me to run your business for you too!?

Question - I've taken some of your (copyrighted!) ideas off your web page and put them on mine. Can I use your pictures too? I don't have time to take my own.

What I wish I could have answered - Why did she even bother to ask permission for using the pictures - after admitting that she had stolen my ideas and was using them as her own???

And my all-time favourite...

Question - I like to wear diapers and use them. Could you call me long distance so we can discuss my fetish at length?

What I wish I could have answered - Eeeeewwwww!?!?!

I hope I don't offend anyone with this bit of humour, but it is wearying and time-consuming to constantly have to answer all these questions. I have to laugh about it...

But I still love my job!!
~*~ Catherine, owner of , all your baby needs, naturally!

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