FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION…a request from a service provider
I consider myself very lucky to be associated with E-commerce leaders such as Chris Green, Duane Malek, Cordelia Blake, John Groleau, Andy Slamans, Sam Cohen, Jason T Smith, John Lawson, Cynthia Stine, Nate McAlister…and so many more.
I am sure that most of you would agree that these reputable FBA community leaders are extremely generous with their time and efforts. They go above and beyond when providing value and make the FBA world a better place for all sellers. Many of them spend a great deal of time researching ways to help you run your business more efficiently and add dollars to your bottom line. In return they receive a fair amount of revenue for their products and services, AND sometimes they get kudos from satisfied customers.
However, one of the most disappointing things I have seen is when someone leaves really bad feedback OR even accuses the service provider of being unethical in a public forum without giving them the opportunity to rectify the situation privately. I’m not trying to stifle freedom of speech here, but I would like to offer alternatives to address any issues that you, as a customer, may have with a product or service.
When contemplating criticism of someone’s product or service in a public forum, I would politely request that you consider doing the following instead…or at least beforehand:
1) Reach out to the service provider and give them the opportunity to address your grievances and see if they have any solutions for you. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are that they may not even be aware of an issue with a product or service. Even with thorough beta testing there can still be kinks that need to be worked out after a product is released.
2) Adjust your expectations to mirror the real world. Example: if you’ve purchased an online sourcing or BOLO list from a reputable provider you still shouldn’t expect that EVERY single item will be a grand slam. I don’t care how good the list is (and I’m including my CyberMonkeyDeals.com list too), that is rarely the case. The best career batting average in baseball is .366…and that is equivalent to approximately 1 base hit per 3 times at bat. Secondly, don’t base your expectations on only one or two days of use. Give the product / service /extension some time to show favorable results before writing it off as an inferior product. I always tell new subscribers to evaluate Scanner Monkey for 30 days before deciding whether or not it is not for them….and that is with a 60 day money back guarantee (we’ll get to that in #10).
3) Think about what you want to accomplish when providing feedback. Is it a major bug in the software that needs to be fixed, OR is the product not as advertised? Clearly explain the situation with the provider along with how you expect them to address it. A simple “your product stinks” will not help them help you.
4) If the product doesn’t live up to your expectations, is there additional training available to help you get better results? Sometimes it’s a simple matter of watching a few YouTube tutorials to help you get the most out of a product. Most of the time the providers will include demo videos on their website or on YouTube to help you get the most out of their software.
5) Consider the track record and reputation of the provider. Do they have a history of providing valuable resources and tools? If so, chances are they will continue to do so moving forward. I can’t imagine an E-commerce leader jeopardizing their reputation in order to make $__ /unit on an extension that doesn’t work well as well as advertised.
6) CONSTRUCTIVE feedback can be very helpful when offered in the spirit of assisting the provider on making improvements to the product. Personally, we have made several improvements to Scanner Monkey and Cyber Monkey Deals based upon constructive feedback offered to us privately or in a survey. A good way to offer constructive feedback would be to use terms like: “I really liked ____, but to improve you might ____”. Or, “have you considered ______?”. If you don’t make it personal…then the service provider shouldn’t take it personally and will be more receptive to spending time making adjustments to enhance the product.
7) How will your criticism make YOU look in a public forum? If you are just “flaming” someone or their service it may come across as sour grapes. It might even look like you have a personal vendetta against that provider. Plus, if you do this repeatedly in multiple forums, you may find that people will not take your feedback seriously, and you may be labeled as a chronic complainer. If you feel compelled to discuss issues you have with a product, then see #6 for ways to provide CONSTRUCTIVE feedback.
8) Make sure you are reaching out to the RIGHT person when registering a complaint about a product. If it’s a widely distributed product or app that hundreds of users have access to, then their customer service department is a good place to start. IF they cannot resolve your issues then take your issue to the top brass. If it’s an extension or service that is relatively small scale and is being marketed by the individual then reach out directly to them to see if they can assist you with your issue.
9) Some people have told me “Jay, I lodge my complaints in a public forum because that is the best way to get the attention of the service provider”. It may be quicker, but it is NOT the best way to get the provider to work with you on resolving your issues with the product or service. Customer service should always be the goal of the provider, but it can be difficult to provide good customer service if the customer turns it into an adversarial situation (and the provider should not do this either). Complaining about someone’s product in a public forum should be a last resort AFTER you have filed a formal complaint via PM, email, or even a phone call.
10) Lastly, if you’ve done your due diligence and still feel like you have not gotten your money’s worth, then you should definitely ASK FOR A REFUND. All reputable product and service providers should offer a money back guarantee AND they should stand behind it…no questions asked.
I would like to ask one more favor. If you LIKE a service or product please leave a testimonial, even if it is in the form of a private message to the service provider. Why? A) Because it lets the product creator know that they are on the right track and the time and effort that went into the product was worth it. B) When you leave good feedback you are making it easier for others to make the decision on whether or not to purchase the product.
Service providers are fully aware that they can’t possibly please EVERYONE, and they have systems and guarantees in place to address those individuals that are unsatisfied with their products. However, it’s a two-way street, and it’s appreciated when the customer gives them the opportunity to make things right instead of posting their grievances in a public forum. Think about it….whenever you got a bad grade on a test in school, did you want the teacher announcing it to the rest of the class?
On behalf of FBA service providers everywhere, we thank you for considering these options to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution for everyone involved.
~ Jay Bayne