Believe it or not, this is actually a customer service post, but it took an interesting turn. Let me explain.

On my other blog, I put out a post on a WordPress plugin that, unfortunately, didn’t work for me. I also stated that I couldn’t find any instructions on how to use it. For me, that was that; it was my review and out it went.

Within minutes I got a response on Twitter from the guy who created it. His statement was that I had changed the plugin somehow and that’s why it didn’t work. Thing is, I didn’t change anything; I had no idea, and still don’t, what any of the settings meant, and it would have been pretty stupid of me to go changing things without knowing what could happen.

He insisted I had changed things because he supposedly could see it. I said I hadn’t changed anything because I had no idea what to change, or why. He persisted, I said he was basically saying I was lying about what I’d done, and figured that was that; he even said so. He also stated that he didn’t have instructions, but he sent me a link to another blog where someone else had taken the time to write instructions on how to use his product.

I guess that wasn’t that. He came to my blog to state his case about his plugin. At that point I didn’t care about the plugin as much as his customer service response to me. I wrote this: “If a customer/client tells you they did or didn’t do something, you don’t go telling them they were incorrect; it just makes people mad. Doesn’t matter what you saw, it matters what their perception is, and trust me, sometimes it’s the truth, as is my case.”

He wrote back basically that he was done talking to me about it and at that point I figured I was done with him. Instead, he decided to write me an email, and he called it “The Race Card”, and said he was opening it up because black people are too sensitive about how they wanted to be treated. What the heck was that? Race jumps right into the conversation because I’m black (my image is on my site and on my Twitter profile) and I don’t like how I’m being treated?

We’ve gone back and forth on a few emails, and at this point I’m done for many reasons.

One, he seems to care more about my writing a negative review about his product than in seeing that he crossed a very dangerous line.

Two, he’s never even attempted to apologize for his statement, and said he wouldn’t apologize for his statement because, and I quote, “I will be participating in what I consider the counter-productive behavior (that I wish black people in my family and friends didn’t do as it’s been their undoing).” I don’t really even know what that statement is supposed to mean.

Three, he’s not American, he’s Italian, and he’s calling me out for being black and being sensitive and he doesn’t even live in the country?

And four, he starts telling me about black people he’s talked to that have thanked him for his service and asked him to be their mentor, while at the same time telling me black people are sensitive? At least he didn’t insult me with “I have black friends”, but why would I care about what some other black people may or may not have said to him at this point?

In my opinion, there were four major customer service faux pas’ that I see:

1. You never tell a consumer in public that they did something you have no proof that they did. Once I said I hadn’t changed anything, the conversation should have gone another way, but it didn’t.

2. You never go on the attack first. Unless your customer has done so first it’s not the proper course of action, and even then it might not be the best way to go. Now, if you’re accused of it and you don’t think your words were so harsh, look at them again; you might be missing something.

3. You never, and I mean NEVER, generalize about someone and their race, or something else. Never, and especially to their face. At that point, all discussions end and accusations go flying. Just because you think you’ve beaten me to the punch on the call of “racism” and now want to tell me how many other black people you’ve talked that you’ve had an easier time with and how many black friends you have (no, he didn’t do that) doesn’t get you off the hook for grouping me in with other people. We are all individuals, and we deserve to be treated as such.

4. An apology is always a great way to diffuse things, but of course if you just need to be right for the sake of being right so be it. Was I too sensitive? I don’t think so, but it’s possible. Still, it’s not always up to the consumer to be the one to notice when something’s gone down the wrong road first. Of course, just to add to this, he did state he doesn’t see me as a customer because he’s not making any money off it. Everyone’s a customer; thinking it only has to be about money is incorrect thinking.

Okay, your turn to share. And don’t give me any “black people are sensitive” stuff, or else we’ll have to battle on that one as well. 🙂