This article was inspired by Paul Calabrese, an NPT reader new to the world of Internet marketing, who contacted me about a problem he was having with a product I'd recommended.
The following is Paul's first note to me about the problem.
I purchased this program after reading your review in the NPT newsletter.
I downloaded the product and the first movie causes a playtime error in my windows media player. The second movie plays but without volume and freezes up.
I have not purchased the super affiliate handbook yet. I purchased this first due to time sensitive nature. I am now concerned when i go to purchase your product I will have the same issues. Please Give me peace of mind.
I have contacted [product developer] for a refund and am very disappointed.
Please restore my faith. Feeling taken advantage of with an inferior product.
I was mortified.
OK, maybe not so much mortified, but like Paul, very disappointed.
After thoroughly testing and writing a glowing endorsement for the product (developed by someone I completely trust to deliver great quality) a complaint was the last thing I expected to receive.
Not only that, but because of his problem, I had just lost a potential customer.
I was ready to tear a good strip off my developer friend.
“Hold the boat“, I thought to myself. “The videos worked well for me, so they should also work for Paul — especially considering I'm THE expert when it comes to breaking software” — if it can be broken, I will break it.
I responded to Paul right after reading his note, and assured him that I personally had no difficulties accessing any of the videos or I wouldn't have recommended them; and that I would contact the product developer immediately to have him help sort out Paul's problem.
That was on Friday.
On Sunday, I received the following reply from Paul (most of the glowing self-serving complimentary material removed) 🙂 :
Thanks again for your prompt response.
I was unable to get through to [product developer], but I did get his videos to work.
Paul also left this comment on the blog further explaining what had happened (glowy self-serving compliment stuff removed again):
I purchased Jeremy’s program based on Rosalind’s recommendation. I had issues downloading the video’s and contacted Rosalind with my concern. Rosalind followed up with me in less than ten hours and assured me the program was one of quality.
I went back and realized I made an error.
You MUST download Quicktime to assure proper viewing of the video. I HIGHLY recommend [the product] as it is a wonderfully informative and insightful product from a highly accomplished professional.
In an email exchange, Paul later said:
I also sent a long apology email to [product developer] as well.
I also think this would make for a good post topic for beginners in your blog. This was a good learning experience for me to be patient as a beginner.
How generous! I admire and adore those who acknowledge their foibles and are willing to share to help others learn… so here we are.
Paul's story isn't uncommon.
Although he jumped the gun and assumed the worst, at least he was very polite in his communications.
Side Note: I've received support tickets from customers (and non-customers) who have called me all manner of vicious names and even threatened my mortal demise, simply because they failed to read and/or follow instructions.
It's a good thing that my kind and compassionate assistant, Joel, gets to the nasty tickets before I do, as I have no time for abuse.
On the few occasions I've answered those tickets, I've issued (completely unnecessary) refunds and included proof of their screw-up with some brass-tacks commentary about proper business etiquette.
Those that see the error and ask to cancel the refund, are told that I'm not interested in doing business with those who attack without mercy and ask questions later — a characteristic that I think is unsuited to attaining success in business, online and off. (It doesn't do much for world peace, either.)
Why are newbie affiliate marketers so quick to jump to the worst conclusions?
I can think of 2 reasons:
They are hyper-aware of all the scams about doing business online. So, when someone who has done a fair amount of research finally chooses to buy a tutorial and something goes wrong, their first inclination is to assume they've been scammed.
Too, they are so excited and eager to start building their affiliate marketing business, that they probably skip past the “Read me first” and other critical instructions pertaining to the product.
Does that sound like you? Then, here are your takeaways.
- Don't assume. (Ass-u-me. It makes an ass, out of u and me). For all the horror stories you've heard about online marketers who are out to steal your money; there as many (and more) coaches who are honest and really do want to help you succeed.
- If you experience a problem with a download or getting some software to work, go back and re-read the instructions to see if you've overlooked some important point. Most of the time, this will correct the issue.
- If you are unable to solve the problem on your own, contact the vendor and ask for assistance – politely.
- Give the merchant 24 – 48 hours to respond, factoring in more time for weekends, holidays and time zone differences. Keep in mind that they are human too — not automatons who sit at their computers 24/7 just waiting for the next support ticket to arrive. In many cases, the vendor is a sole proprietor who will be the one to respond to your ticket.
- If your problem isn't resolved to your satisfaction within a reasonable timeframe and you would like to get your money back, consult your receipt for refund instructions. Follow that process.
Yes, software does occasionally snag, but based on my experience, problems can most often be fixed and you won't need (or want) to request a refund.
In other words… CHILL!
And just in case you're curious, here's the full comment that Paul left on the blog.