customer service on the internet answering customer feedback

Answering Customer Feedback – Bizarre exchanges

As some people know I run a social networking website called TidalFish.com. As of tonight the site has 56,386 registered fishermen and fisher-women. I have help from some people who help moderate the message boards, approve accounts and in some cases answer customer support emails. Most of the problems can easily be answered in our FAQ message board where we post answers to questions that get asked about how to use the board, change account options etc… It works well and makes customer service a self serve deal. Sometimes I do get some bizarre emails. Tonight I could not do anything but laugh when it came from a “John Doe” who claimed to be an IT professional. The feedback was good and helped us improve our service, but having been running social networking sites and message boards since the early 90’s I can normally sniff out “gamers”, I think we have a winner on this one, but I think my response caught him/her so off guard that he/she is not sure what to do. I share it with you since apparently it is anonymous and simply make me laugh when I wrote back. Below is a stringed email, so you will need to read from the bottom up.

———

We do not consider registrations on TidalFish.com as a “random web account” and we do require personal details. We do that for a reason, we want accountability with users who interact in our online community.

As a side note, it is a bit condescending to be talking with an owner of a business who took the time to write you back and suggest that this email correspondence/exchange is not in an “official capacity”.

I would also point out that you again did not sign your name to your email, which is not only rude given my response to you, but also bad net etiquette. It’s actually disappointing to me that an IT person who is acquainted with the net and represents professionals like myself would interact in this way.

Brandon


From: John Doe
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 09:15:59 +0800
To: Brandon
Subject: Re: Account removed at Fishing Message Boards

Wow, I have to say I didn’t expect to get such a nice and professional email back. Acctually I didn’t expect any email back. Thank you for addressing all my concerns.

And about my email address, it’s anonymous for a reason. Since this would be a random web account I feel the need to use a few personal details as possible. And honestly, I never expected to communicate with people through this address. It’s just your “rejection” email came to this address and it was convenient when I went to reply. Had this email been in an official capacity, it would have been different. This is the first time this email has ever been scrutinized as there is usually never a live person on the other end.

Thanks again!

 

—– Original Message —–
From: “Brandon White”
To: “John Doe”
Subject: Re: Account removed at Fishing Message Boards
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 2009 08:46:59 -0400

Hi

Thanks for the feedback, we always appreciate help improving our service on TidalFish.com.
Let me address your concerns and let you know how we have improved things:

  1. The text about free email accounts was in caps, however your suggestion about it being in bold is an excellent one. We made the text bold and it is above the fold in the screen describing our rules which appear on the first page of the sign up.
  2. We apologize that you feel offended by the email that you received saying you were notified twice. We are going to change that email as to sound less offending.
  3. The ‘Optional” word you refer to I looked into and I can understand why you might have been confused. The text read “Additional Required Information (option)” The fact that it said “Additional Required Information” I would take to mean it is required. However, I understand how the “option” could confuse some people. The option referred to a back end option. The word option has been removed to eliminate any confusion.


As an I/T manager who deals with spam you would understand that I received your email with a lot of caution.

  1. Your user name in your email is John Doe which sets off all sorts of red flags
  2. Your email is coming from a free email account which sets off red flags
  3. You did not sign your email with your name which sets off red flags


I have been running websites on the internet since 1992 and have seen about all there is to see in the way of the evolution electronic communication. Your feedback was excellent an we appreciate it, it helped make our service better. My suggestion to you if that if you are going to communicate on the internet and be considered legitimate is to use a paid/company/professional email address and sign your name to your email so the recipient knows who he/she is talking to.

Thank you again for the feedback!

Brandon

_________________________________________________________
Brandon C. White | Chief Angler
TidalFish.com | All fishing, all the time!

 


From: John Doe
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 11:42:19 +0800
To: Brandon
Subject: Re: Account removed at Fishing Message Boards

Brandon,

First off I’m not angry that you have added this hurdle to obtaining an account at TidalFish. As I know all to well how much spam you have to deal with when running a website or domain for a company. What I am perturbed about is that I don’t feel I was adequately notified of this requirement when I registered. I’m a I/T manager and know the value of keeping your users informed. I am sure that you had some kind of note to this effect on the first screen as you said, but if you have filled out as many forum, web, email, etc, registration forms as I have, you’d know that most people just plow through them. If you’re going to setup something special that requires an extra step on the part of the user, you need to use BOLD type and Large Font, maybe a blinking red sign (overkill I know but you get my point). Furthermore I feel offended that you say in your first paragraph, “it was explained to you” twice, as if you’re chastising the user. Very bad form.

Also, on another note, what I do remember of your registration page, you had two drop downs that were described as “Optional” dealing with Shirt and Pant sizes. Leaving them blank gets you an error that you haven’t filled out the form completely. Don’t know if you want to rectify that but it’s kind of confusing when you call it optional.

Well I’ll keep this brief.

Thanks

> —– Original Message —–
> From: “Fishing Message Boards
> To: John Doe
> Subject: Account removed at Fishing Message Boards
> Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 19:29:39 -0400
>
>
> Dear Orkinman,
>
> Unfortunately your registration at Fishing Message Boards,
> Saltwater Fishing Reports, Freshwater Fishing Reports did not meet
> our requirements for registration. If you registered with a free
> email account such as a YAHOO, GMAIL, HOTMAIL OR OTHER FREE EMAIL
> ACCOUNT it was explained on the first screen during registration
> that we require you to send an email to register at TidalFish.com
> with: 1) YOUR REAL NAME , 2) MAILING ADDRESS, and 3) EMAIL ADDRESS
> YOU REGISTERED. The information requested would have only be used
> to verify your account.  It was also explained that if we did not
> receive the above information in 24 hours from the time you
> registered your account, your registration would be treated as spam
> and be deleted, which your account has been.
>
>   We apologize for the inconvenience.  This procedure has become
> necessary because of the amount of spam accounts we have been
> receiving from free email accounts which has been polluting The
> TidalFish.com forums/message boards with spam messages which we
> then have to go in, find, and then delete. This whole process
> disrupts the fishing conversations and fishing reports that take
> place on the message boards.  If you just missed seeing this
> procedure and still wish to be a part of TidalFish.com please feel
> free to re-register. We welcome other anglers and understand that
> it is at times necessary to use free email accounts so you do not
> have to use your work or home email. Should you choose to use your
> work or home email, rest assured that we do not sell, lend or
> distribute your information nor does any spammer have access to
> it,in fact all emails are hidden and people must use a form if they
> want to email another member, which you can even opt out of that
> feature should you choo
>   se. At most you will receive two newsletters a month, usually
> one, from us letting you know about what is happening on
> TidalFish.com. You may even opt out of receiving these newsletters.
>
> Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you understand
> our desire to keep our site spam free. We hope that you will
> re-register and become a part of TidalFish.com, we are sure as a
> fellow angler you will enjoy it.
>
> Brandon
> Chief Angler
> TidalFish.com

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