I had to deal with two incidents the other day that make me wonder about a) our educational system in the United States, and b) the business skills of the next generation.
One of my radio stations ran a fundraising campaign using Piryx.com. Piryx is a company that provides you with a campaign platform for 5.75% of the gross.
It wasn’t a big campaign. In fact, it raised a little over $600. We were testing a concept.
So they said they sent us the first $207 on August 13. It was NOT in our bank account on August 16. I called, and a very nice young lady told me that it would take three to six business days but that she was sure it would be in my account on the 19th.
It wasn’t. I called back. But, as she pointed out, that was only five business days, so she was REALLY sure it would be in our account on the 20th.
It wasn’t. I called back. This time, I got a nice young man who said that it really wasn’t six business days until the 21st.
Each time I talked with them, I pointed out that this was the same bank account that we take credit card receipts from Square, and they manage to make the transfer in ONE day at HALF the price.
Both people who answered the phone told me that they have had many similar phone calls but that there is nothing they could do.
My response is that if they couldn’t get the money from a $600 campaign to the customer in a timely manner, did they seriously think I would entrust a $200,000 campaign to them? Or a million dollar campaign?
As it turned out, our bank had sent the deposits back because we use a business savings account for incoming deposits and, for a reason that nobody at Piryx could explain, they will only send the money to a checking account, something they specified when they sent the money. The bank, following those instructions, returned the money.
The kids, who run the company, all have a standard line: “That’s the process and we cannot change it.”
So I logged in to my account there to see what it would cost to renew the URL; and low and behold, they want $39.95. A YEAR!
I have purchased other URLs from Godaddy for $9.95. When I pointed it out to their sales department, what I got over the phone was a yawn and a shrug.
How stupid do these guys think the general public is?
A registrar like enom takes your money and processes an electronic form. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery. It’s not even rocket surgery.
Godaddy, at least, sponsors Danica Patrick. And they charge about a third of what enom wants. So you CAN sponsor a racing team, sell the same product for much less, and still make money.
What do they teach these kids in public schools? That screwing your customers leads to repeat business?
Here’s a bit of wisdom from the real world.
Sooner or later, money gets tight. It always does because this isn’t the post World War Two 1950s.
When it does, the people who are your best customers start looking at everything they spend money on.
If Acer makes as good a laptop in China as does Hewlett Packard, and it’s $200 cheaper at WalMart, then guess what? Acer it is. If WalMart sells a 2-litre bottle of diet Seven Up for $1 and Whole Foods gets $2.18, then hello Sam Walton.
If you charge twice as much for a product as the other guy, there better be a compelling reason to use your product.
Some years ago, former WalMart CEO Lee Scott commissioned a study. He wanted to know what happened when someone got so mad that they said they would never come back to a WalMart store again.
The number his researchers arrived at was well over a quarter of a million dollars.
Imagine how much it costs a company much newer than WalMart.
If I were Tom Serres, the CEO of Piryx (which is rebranding itself as Rally.org), or Richard Rosenblatt, The CEO of enom, no matter how successful I have been in the past (and they have been), I would be thinking of what the kids who answer the phones could do to my business today. It’s not pretty.
It happens that I found Serres’ private email (being a lifelong journalist has its privileges) and sent him a note. I got an immediate phone call from these very nice kids apologizing and seeking to fix things. Which they did. But the point is that you don’t build a company by telling people what can’t be done. You find a way to do what it is your customers want done.
I applaud Serres for taking some action. As for Rosenblatt? I’m moving pennypresslv.com to Godaddy.
It’s possible that at age 61, I’m just getting cranky. Or, it’s possible that a public education was simply more rigorous when I was growing up, and our expectations of customer service are higher than today’s consumers.
I’ll bet on the latter.
Photo Credit: kjarrett (Creative Commons)