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.
Imran Maqbool says
If useful information is not available then beginers get disappointed and dicert their attention. I think this is very helpful information for biginers.
Its already completely overwhelming how much research you should make before launching any business online, I think it just drains you altogether when you find out that after all that hard work, it fails.
Maybe its the excitement of actually doing it.
Thank you for the advice, will definitely keep in mind.
Swarovski Strass says
Good article Ros. I always learn a lot from your posts and really appreciate it! I wish you a Happy New Year. Regards, Martin
Hi, I think this is really good that you guys are helping beginners like me.
Nice to know you.
I’m newbie and also wants to learn more about affiliate marketing.I can learn from your experience to handle people.This is very useful input.Thanks.
Jose Anajero says
Patience is a virtue many beginners lack. I can remember when I started in my entrepreneurial journey more than three years ago, I started with my friend. He quit two week after we started. I faced lots of challenges. I pursued too many dead-ends but eventually I found a caring mentor who is now teaching me real internet business. I would not have come this far if I wasn’t patient enough.
But patience alone is not enough. One should also have the wisdom to know when to stop (and go the other way) when clearly it’s already a dead-end.
Thanks Rosalind for this helpful post.
Andrew @ WeBuildYourBlog.com says
There are a lot of scammers online but it’s best not to generalize. And I agree that it’s always best to remember that problems, issues, or conflicts can be resolved through good communication or polite talking. Thanks for sharing.
Dave Ailey says
Well I’d have to admit I thought I was the only slow one being a newbie.
After spending a large sum and trusting a so called computer geek, with sad returns, I bit the bullit and realised as Ros said in her Affiliate Program, learn to do it yourself. Heck its slow for me but it’s the only way. If your stuck for answers, You Tube has helped me a lot with those too.
This was very insightful. I appreciate your honesty. I am fairly new to affiliate mkting and I havent been scammed but I’ve been led astray by some of the so called “gurus” and “coaches” who only want to add u to their list and sell someone’s product without really knowing if it works or not. I like your honesty and your reviews and I also like your SAH. I have recommended it. I’m still taking baby steps and feeling my way through this new venture but I’m sure that I will be one of your many success stories in 2010.
Patience is really a virtue!..We must all be patient is evrything that we do in order to succeed.
silver rings says
Indeed that is true.There are a lot of scammers in this business. You have to believe in what do you think is right, don’t let others rule you.
As a newbie, I guess I have to do my homework first and ask some assistance along the way. You are really detailed in pointing out some flaws on internet marketing that often newbies run into. Great content…
Thanks for a necessary article. Although I have not yet thought of developing my own products yet, I can just imagine what you have to go through with rude people. Hopefully they are in the minority.
I completely agree with Scotts’ comment about “quick fixes” and people not willing to do the work.
Jeffery, you comment sheds some light as well.
Newbies need to understand the steep learning curve. We tend to jump the gun, get confused (due to information overload), and sometimes don’t read all the information properly, probably because we want to earn thousands in less than 3 days. If that doesn’t happen, the next program is bought and the previous program condemned.
I urge everyone fairly new to internet marketing to be patient, with the process, themselves and the product developers. Work through and apply the knowledge with the realization that it will take some time to see the fruit of your labor, that you are working and building a business. Offline businesses take sometime to show profit, same with online business. Business principles do not change, only the medium.
Ros, thanks for a very informative website.
Den Santiez says
thanks for sharing this article it was very informative and helpful for a beginner like me, i need to more careful in this business. i learned a lot from this. cheers
Gail Grannum says
In my former offline life, I managed or handled the customer service issues. Too often people really forget basic manners in seeking resolution.
Yet, this week I needed to remind myself to have patience after making a service purchase online. I became disappointed when the service did not immediately work. But realized the company was reputable, and decided to wait 24-48 hours before submitting a ticket. And indeed the service worked the next day. A federal holiday was involved and could have caused the delay.
You are a great role model with your customer service. You and your team have always provided me with quick responses to any followup questions.
Dont let anyone let you fall. Beleive what you beleive no matter what. Know that evry single journey starts with a single step. So dont give up yet!
drunk girls says
There are a lot of scammers in this business. The new ones must trust themself and not pay for enormous earning recipes and realises that you have to work hard for money and that is not simple.
Scott Tousignant says
I think that every product owner has gone through similar situations as this. I handle all these situations with great integrity even though the vicious and uneducated attack on my integrity has taken place. I absolutely love your response Ros, “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.”
Those are words that I will now live by and I appreciate you sharing them with me.
I’m far from perfect, but 99% of any complaint is usually a result of the customer not following instructions and jumping the gun to attack. All the scammers out there have put customers on the quick defense.
Recently I had a subscriber ask why I’m promoting someone elses fitness program when I have one of my own. They said that they purchased my program a few months ago and haven’t gotten around to using it, but now they were concerned that mine wasn’t good enough because I was recommending others.
I provided a nice response about how I have used my program with great success, but I like to incorporate variety into my program and I encourage others to add variety to their fitness routine. I only recommend programs that I’ve used and have found to be very effective.
They also went on to ask how I could recommend such a program because they had purchased it, used it, and didn’t get results with it.
I gave a few pointers on how they could make the most out of the program and to go back and give it a try. But then this subscriber said that he didn’t see what I was talking about.
So I dug a little deeper and it turns out that he was confused and was thinking of a different program. It also turns out that it wasn’t my program that he had purchased months prior it was someone else named Scott. It sounds like this was someone who purchases a bunch of programs but never applies the information.
I think that leads to a lot of frustration in any niche. People purchase programs looking for a quick fix, yet when their is work involved in the process they quickly move on to purchasing another program without applying the information in the first.
They get frustrated that they’ve been trying to achieve success and haven’t even though they purchased dozens of programs that should produce good or great results.
Instead of looking in the mirror and taking some responsibility they are quick to blame others and often take their frustration out on the product owner.
Another great discussion Ros… Thanks!
80% of the support tickets we get, and we get a lot, are from people who didn’t read the faq, the intro, are using antiquated operating systems (or a broken one like Windows Vista,) don’t know the most basic operating system functions, yada yada.
Since Windows Media player 11 came along, most of the “Need Quicktime” videos no longer do. MOV format was usually the cuprit but Media Player 11 plays them just fine.
People are justifiably suspicious of online purchases but really in the offline world I run into more problem purchases than I do online. For
some reason people don’t hold offline merchants up to the same standards.
Just think of the bad attitude you get from most employees at offline merchants for starters. And if you have a real problem, good luck at a lot of merchants.
The other issue with how-to courses people buy is that some people don’t have the mindset, skills, tools, and time to implement them. You can’t blame the how-to course seller for that. But as a seller you have to be aware of that at all times.
Lisa Zaslow says
There is a HUGE learning curve with all the “techie” stuff…years, it feels like. I think we’ve all felt stupid at first. but your tips are excellent, Ros. We should NEVER assume and we should be civil and patient with each other…I have had enough of the haters and screamers! Be nice or leave…
Barry Desautels says
As a rookie and realizing everday how much I have to learn to make the cyber till rattle,I understand the frustration with trying to learn things from a course with no instructor standing by. It can be painful, and there is no set formula for doing this. Everybody has their own story. Picking out the good from the bad takes a bit of practice. I do know that getting rich in 3 days is not going to happen. And luckily, so far anyway, nobody has “threatened my mortal demise” for being a slow learner.
Emily Jacques says
Those are great takeaways! I think the number one thing for newbies to remember is that–unless they’ve gone to school for web development, etc.–there is a LOT of techie stuff to learn when you’re first starting out.
Also, that there are a lot of veteran internet marketers/product developers out there who are more than willing to help us newbies (oops, did I just admit to being a “newbie”? lol) That’s been my experience, anyway. 🙂
David Walker says
Thank you Rosalind, for the excellent tips. Wise words indeed, and very true. Although I have a habit of reading every manual or instructions that accompany products, I am guilty of that donkey business. Too many hyped-up sales copies whose products under deliver and one starts to get jaded.
Jeffery Wood says
I think all the claims of “Make $xxx in 3 days” or whatever the current flavor is doesn’t help the new people.
The newer you are the longer it should take if for no other reason than you are trying to learn the terminology along with the concepts at the same time you’re trying to implement them.
With so many names out there, it’s hard for new people to know who to trust and who to avoid.
lets be true..things do happen anywhere whether your in the net or on the road..it is in you to be extra careful..if you cant trust someone you meet on the street how much more on the net that you know nothing about the creator.
Xbox mania says
Have to agree with Jeffery.. and it’s not just the newbie we need to blame for. The marketers give false hope that you will make 100$ within a day and sell the book for 37$..
Of course, it doesn’t make much sense but sometimes the guru products aren’t the best. But, I am glad you posted this email and letting us know the problem of paul.. not everyone does that 😉