Monday, June 30th, 2008

Don’t use 4by6.com: How not to handle customer support

in: Communicate

A bit of a rant here. But it’s a great example of how not to do customer service. The bottom line: Don’t tell your customer something like, “my horoscope tells me to move on,” in a format that can be quoted publicly.

4by6.gifThere’s an old saying that it’s a good idea to fire your worst customers, or better yet, refer them to your competition. This is generally true if those customers are costing more than they bring in. But when you clearly fail to deliver the agreed-upon service, it’s a better idea to resolve it than to renege.

The Internet means that a frustrated customer can be very vocal. Sites like Yelp yield gems like “The main reason for my 2 star review is not the quality, rather the customer service (or lack thereof).” Companies need to weigh the cost of that negative press, particularly when the product is being bought on reputation.

Here’s the full history, with some juicy mail thread embarrassment at right.

I had a run-in with 4by6.com recently, which, frankly, surprised me since someone had told me they liked them. I ordered some cards for delivery in Las Vegas, and went through their extensive process for validating layout. I then contacted them to confirm that my Canadian payment information would work.

The cards never showed (and this is back in January.) I contacted them several times by email and got no answer. Then, one day in April (two months later), I got a mail from them saying the shipment was returned by Fedex. The mail exchange that followed astonished me. Ultimately, 4by6.com said that they didn’t know why the order wasn’t delivered, or why they hadn’t responded to my mails, and told me to forget about it.

I’ve heard complaints about 4by6.com’s customer service from a number of online forums. Hopefully the Internet’s ability to self-regulate and communicate problems will weed out companies that adopt this kind of customer disservice. Meanwhile, I’ll use Moo.com, Henley Printing, Ondemand Printing, JMF Printing, or one of the many other alternatives.