Value the Relationship – And the Money Will Follow

Value the Relationship – And the Money Will Follow

Saturday morning.  Long weekend.  Getting ready to go to the cottage.  Bags packed.  Windows closed.  One final task…

Send email to subscribers.

Seems harmless enough.  Performed the routine hundreds of times.  No big deal, right?


My first inkling of something amiss came when I checked my emails Sunday morning at my parents place.  Lots of sales from my promotional email sent on Saturday, but also a few emails saying they could not download the product files they just purchased.

Oh, oh…

So I fired off a support email to the person responsible for the download files.  They’ll figure it out, so…

…off I went back to the cottage, blue skies, blue waters, fishing, barbecuing and sharing good times with family and friends.

A great weekend, or so I thought.

When I returned to my office on Monday morning, I planned on a light schedule – it was, after all, a holiday Monday here in Canada.

Then I started checking sales and reading emails.

Something is wrong here, really wrong.

More sales, but also many more frantic emails about not being able to download files.  And, amongst all those emails – a reply from my support person:

“Those files got corrupt…We are still updating them now.  We will upload the new product in a few days.”

Boink!  A slap to the head!

What to do – what to do?

Here are the six steps I followed, in order of sequence:

1) I didn’t read anymore emails, I didn’t go to the bathroom, I didn’t look in the fridge to see what groceries I needed for the upcoming week, no siree…I signed into my PayPal account and refunded – manually – every single person who sent me money for my Saturday promotion – every single dime;

2) I sent a personal email to all who purchased an explanation of what happened, along with my apologies.  I offered them a free report – a valuable report, not just some lame, dumb-ass thing – to compensate them for their troubles;

3) I sent out a broadcast message to those subscribers who received my initial Saturday email, informing them of the problem – and, therefore, not to buy until further notice;

4) Removed my advertising pages out of rotation;

5) Cancelled all other advertising campaigns associated with this product; and,

6) Wrote to the company offering the promotional package asking for an explanation.  I suggested a few hints for improvement…

Talk about being embarrassed!

Why do I tell you this story?

Well, I don’t tell it to suggest these steps represent exactly what you should do in a similar situation.  And I’m not here to brag or anything like that.

Rather, despite my embarrassment, this became a great learning moment.  Here me out…

As a seller, this is the first such occurrence for me.  But as a buyer, is has occurred a few times in the past.  The last time, the seller of a book I wanted to buy took over four days to respond to my support emails.

When he finally responded – no apology, no mention of a refund, just a “holier-than-thou” attitude, like “don’t you know how to download files?”  So…

…in those brief seconds I took determining my course of action, it became clear to me – Don’t Be Like That Guy!

Folks, it’s about relationships.  It’s about being honest.  It’s about being responsible.  It’s not about who’s to blame.  And, it’s not about the money.

Let’s focus on what’s right about the Internet and its awesome potential.  I encourage us to learn from my mistakes, my learning moments – in fact, make them your own – and let’s, together, establish trust, openness, and honesty as relationship-building benchmarks for us to follow in all we do in our online ventures.

Be the best!

Darrell Dean


P.S. — Let me know what you think!

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