3 Red-Light Warning Signs of UN-Professional Marketers
Whether you're looking for a merchant to GIVE your business or work with IN your business, dealing with unprofessional merchants can seriously eat away at your time and cash. And now that the holidays are here, you're probably finding that more and more companies are trying to get into your wallet, your partnerships, and even your good graces.
If you don't know how to spot the posers, you're in for one crappy ride.
The word "unprofessional" has been tossed around a lot without any regard for where the darn thing lands or what it MEANS when it gets there. So to be clear, when *I* brand someone as unprofessional in this article, I mean that they're...
"Someone who'll make your life a living Hell in some way, shape, or form all throughout your dealings with them, until you get the good sense to kick 'em to the curb."
That's way too general a description, yes. So let me elaborate.
Here are three common warning signs to watch for when dealing with Internet merchants, so you can protect yourself, your reputation, and good Heavens ... your pocketbook!
STOP SIGN #1: Form letters that DON'T solve the problem.
Here's the scenario:
You ask Joe Company a question. Joe Representative responds back within a few hours/days/weeks with a form letter that tells you to do "x" ... and "x" has *absolutely nothing* to do with what you asked in the first place.
Ever been there? :-/
I have -- and it sure ain't fun.
To clarify, I'm NOT talking about the form letters that are topic-sensitive, and are sent AUTOMATICALLY when contacting a merchant about a specific category of issue.
Those kinds of auto-responses are generally directed toward new prospects/customers who may not yet be familiar with the company's unique policy/procedures. They also usually say that a human will respond to your question in "X" hours/days if the text in the autoreply hasn't answered your question.
These letters can actually HELP you.
I AM talking about the form letters that a HUMAN takes time to send you, on purpose -- seemingly in some type of twisted lottery-based selection process -- without any regard for the fact that the @#$%$ things just don't relate!
Sometimes I think these people look for a keyword in your inquiry (i.e., "login"), and zip off whatever stupid carbon copied reply they can get their mouse on first that has your "keyword" in it. (For instance, you write saying that you logged into your domain manager but weren't able to initiate a transfer, and Clueless Candace then replies telling you how to *look up* your password so that you CAN log in.)
Umm ... "DUH?!"
I give these types of merchants twice. If what I need isn't mission-critical to my cause, I'm outta there faster than you can say, "pass the mousepad."
STOP SIGN #2: "I'm sorry, I..." "Whoops, I apologize, I..." "Sorry, I didn't get to it because..." "Oh. Sorry, I meant to..."
Ever run into a person who promised you the moon ... and seldom if EVER delivered?
Recently I've had the misfortune of working with (stressing over?) several different people who'd say they were going to do one thing by "this" date, the date(s!) would come and go, and the thing never got done.
Heck, some of 'em STILL haven't followed through ... and I choose not to risk asphyxia waiting.
Of course all of us make mistakes, miss deadlines, forget obligations, etc. -- sometimes.
But 9 times out of 10? Heck, 11 times out of 10??
You've *got* to be sh#$^in' me.
Why do people feel the need to say that they'll do something for or with you, only to renege later on when they finally admit to themselves and to you that they just couldn't hang?
NEWSFLASH: You're not doing me any favors by promising something that YOU KNOW from the jump that you're NOT LIKELY to be able to do! Be honest with yourself and with me, and quit wasting my time.
Those are RULES that are made to be broken -- not promises.
If a company/merchant/marketer doesn't respect you enough to keep those promises, off with their heads!
These kinds of people aren't consistently in control of their lives enough to realize what they can and can't do, and they test their strength and accomplishments by testing YOUR limits.
Unreliable people in your life bring you down, and muddy the professional image you work hard to uphold.
Kick 'em to the curb.
STOP SIGN #3: Skipping (ignoring) your questions.
You send a support person, a friend, or a merchant you're thinking of ordering from a few questions about ... whatever.
They respond -- and miss a question.
"Okay. They didn't see it," you conclude. "This is fixable. Here -- when I respond to their response, I'll just quickly stick it in there again!"
They respond again, answer *everything else* -- and *cough* "miss" the question.
One more time.
You respond again, sticking the question in there yet again, this time maybe leaving some extra white space around it, putting a few funky characters before and after, or even shoving it at the beginning of your e-mail or typing part of it in all caps.
They respond again, answer EVERYTHING ELSE...
And SKIP that question.
Sound familiar? :-/
I hope not, but I fear so.
It is SO disrespectful to ignore people's questions because you're too lazy/arrogant/afraid/whatever to answer them. If the answer is "no", be an adult, trust that I'll be one too, and just tell me, "No, Harmony. I'm sorry, but I really don't feel comfortable doing that."
We'll part on good terms, and I'll still respect you because you've respected me.
But dance around my questions or concerns -- repeatedly -- like "The Duke" is shooting at your feet ... and THEN I have a problem.
I mean, was I supposed to "forget" that I asked? :-|
Whenever I encounter a merchant like this, I back off. If they're not mature enough and respectful enough to address my legitimate concerns like professionals, they're not worthy of my business (or time).
What about yours?