I was going to skip the writing thing today because I am at the point of cutting for most of the day and I won’t have anything new to show for a day or two, but then last night something came up that I thought I would talk about today and get your opinions on. I think you are starting to get to know me a little bit and I am beginning to get to know some of you too from your responses to my posts and I would really like your honest opinion if you feel so inclined regarding my reaction to something yesterday.
As you may have read in past posts, over the weekend I sent out a bulk email to my clients informing them that new stuff was posted on the site and there were some new sales and free things for them to read and take advantage of. I usually send out notices to these customers about once a month – sometimes a little more, sometimes less – in order to inform them of things like this.
Each and every customer on my list of approximately 800 names opted in and signed up to this list. It is not hooked to when they order. It is not me hunting down names of people that I thought would be interested. It is something totally separate from the ordering process where they had to physically add in their email address and click a box. No strings and no trick. Simple. Right?
I also want to mention that on the bottom of every message I send, I include what you may call a ‘disclaimer’ which tells them that I use their information only to notify them of said information and that I never sell, share or give their emails to anyone. I also tell them very plainly that if they wish to be removed from the list, click on the web address and it will be done immediately – and it is.
Now it seems that sometimes when I send these emails, I get one, maybe two requests for the name to be removed from the list. I don’t take this personally, as circumstances change. I see in my files that many of have been on the list for several years and I realize that people’s interests change, etc. Also, when I first started the site, I also had much more geared toward decorative painting on the site, as I use to teach more of that and designs some patterns as well. So everything is cool. If you don’t want to be on the list, I certainly don’t want to send you anything. I see no advantage whatsoever in pestering people with no interest and I don’t for a minute think that by doing so I will gain a new client. It just isn’t my style. (I said I am not a great business person all along, and although I am trying to do better, harassment is one avenue I choose to not follow).
So after the mass mailing finished going out, I received one email from a customer. All it said was “Remove”. Being the sometimes smart cookie that I am, I figured they didn’t want to be on the list and thought, OK. I went to the site and removed the name. I wasn’t hurt, angry or sad. Things happen and that’s OK with me. On I went with my day.
Now I am getting ready to shut things down for the night and I do one final email check before I go to bed last night. There was an email from a (different) customer. I opened it so that if it were a quick question that I could answer, I would do so before turning in. It was pretty upsetting to me because it turned out to be a scathing, nasty email asking me why I kept sending him “crap” like this all the time (my email to him was attached) and why would I waste his time with the “crap” and usually there was an unsubscribe button on the bottom and why should he have to write me an email to stop this and blah, blah, blah . . . . you get the point.
I felt like I was hit in the head with a hammer. Maybe it was because I was tired, but this really got to me. In my mind, I immediately rose to my own defense. I looked up his email on my list and it seemed he signed up in the middle of February. I had sent only one other email since that date. I couldn’t understand why he was so MAD at me when he was the one that requested the information. I reread the email that I sent to over 800 people, second guessing myself and wondering if I said anything offensive and I also checked to see if I had forgotten to include the ‘unsubscribe’ paragraph. It was there and I did not – so what the heck?
I almost started writing him an apology to him (after I took him off the list) and then my own anger kind of kicked in. (Don’t worry – it wasn’t the maniacal type of anger that horror movies are made of – I guess I just got a little PO’ed)
I was going to wait until morning to reply to him to assure him that his name was removed from the list, but I did something that I don’t do often in cases like this – reacted. I wrote him a terse email that sounded something (exactly) like this:
The “crap” was sent to you because you signed up on the list. I don’t send “crap” to people who don’t request it. On the bottom of the email, there is an address to notify me to remove you from the list YOU signed up for. I did that. Maybe someone has your email and signed up for you.
You could have asked POLITELY and would have had the same result.
Have a good evening. Sheila
I hit the ‘send’ button and off I went to bed. My emotions were mixed. On one hand, I don’t like being harsh with people. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt because I don’t know if they are having a bad day or what is going on in their lives. On the other hand, it really felt GOOD to stand my ground and not let this guy talk to me with such disrespect for doing what he signed up for. I don’t know. I think I am good with accepting (constructive) criticism about my work – I have to be to be in this job so long – but do I have to let people be rude to me just because he is a ‘customer’ (By the way – he never ordered anything from me – I checked my database) or potential customer? If so, I don’t know what to say. I know times are difficult, but I really don’t want to deal with a person like that. I do everything I can for my customers. If I know they are new or if there was even a slight hiccup in their order (Canada Post is terrible and sometimes the mail ones have been delayed) I usually send them something additional like an extra pattern of the type of scrolling they like (like birds or fish, etc. I can tell from their order usually what appeals to them) I have received more positive responses from them from doing this than I can tell you. I also like to donate to shows I can’t attend and sites to give free patterns not only because it promotes my business, but it promotes scroll sawing in general. If someone is looking for a type of pattern I don’t have, I happily send them to my fellow designers who I know carries it (Yes, my competition). We are just like that in our group.
So was I wrong to stand up and say what I did? Obviously it bothers me or I wouldn’t spend so much mind-space and writing time on it. It is funny how we can receive 100 compliments and one complaint and the complaint is what sticks in our minds most.
If anyone has any insights as to how they would have handled it, I would be interested in hearing them. Be blunt. Tell me I was wrong if you think so. I know many of you deal with the public with your work too and I just want to know if I was that out of line or if I should have handled it better or let it go. My gut says I probably should have let it go, but for some reason I felt that SOMEONE had to call this guy on his bad attitude. It probably didnt sink anyway. :( I just didn’t like being treated the way he did.
I guess I am human after all.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"