Customer Service

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to good customer service. Without naming any names, I seriously don't get how one of these "big" breeders stays in business. This is the fourth email I have sent (they don't answer the phone) inquiring about buying a gecko and have still not got a return email. I spread these emails out over the last month just to be sure they weren't out of town btw. I personally will never buy from them at this point. If they won't return a call or email about buying a gecko, how do you think they will be after the money is in their pocket? It's scary to think about it.

It's too bad that all breeders aren't like Ray at Designer Geckos or Pat Kline at Luxurious Leopards. Those guys are awesome, they get it! They are available at all hours and actually pick up the phone and return emails when you are trying to get ahold of them. I know there are quite a few others on this site like that too. I have run a few business's in my time and that's how you succeed. Not by ignoring your potential and current customers. I guess some people just get too big for their britches. I would love to call them out, maybe it would open their eyes, but I won't do that here. I'm sure others have quite pleasant experiences with them, but as far as I can tell, they have a lot to learn about truly good customer service.

OK, rant over.
 

LZRDGRL

New Member
Messages
2,790
Location
Southern Illinois
What I dislike even more is when big breeders' websites are not updated for months :p

Chrissy
(I'm two weeks behind since the Repticon, arghhh.... *culprit* But at least I answer emails every day and send out lots of updated photos :main_laugh:)
 

Desdemona

New Member
Messages
653
Location
Bay Area, CA
I think I might know who you are talking about, and I won't be a return customer. I didn't know about the lack until after I had made my purchase and I didn't want to give up my pretty geckos, hehe. But, yea.. not returning. I asked about lineage multiple times and even in a reply to a e-mail they sent me. She just ignored my question, not even a, "we don't give out that info." Really peeved me
 

robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to good customer service. Without naming any names, I seriously don't get how one of these "big" breeders stays in business. This is the fourth email I have sent (they don't answer the phone) inquiring about buying a gecko and have still not got a return email. I spread these emails out over the last month just to be sure they weren't out of town btw. I personally will never buy from them at this point. If they won't return a call or email about buying a gecko, how do you think they will be after the money is in their pocket? It's scary to think about it.

It's too bad that all breeders aren't like Ray at Designer Geckos or Pat Kline at Luxurious Leopards. Those guys are awesome, they get it! They are available at all hours and actually pick up the phone and return emails when you are trying to get ahold of them. I know there are quite a few others on this site like that too. I have run a few business's in my time and that's how you succeed. Not by ignoring your potential and current customers. I guess some people just get too big for their britches. I would love to call them out, maybe it would open their eyes, but I won't do that here. I'm sure others have quite pleasant experiences with them, but as far as I can tell, they have a lot to learn about truly good customer service.

OK, rant over.
i completely understand but you also have to realize they have families also. i know of a big breeder posted on FB that they had a family emergency and would not be around.

i do think some big breeders have gotten too big for their britches but some just have other stuff going on as well, like family and taking care of animals.

also remember the amount of emails these guys get a day can be overwhelming and may take a while to get to.

i do understand your rant but you have to realize there are other variables in some circumstances.
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
I understand that they have families and receive lots of emails and have animals to take care of but SO WHAT! I know plenty of other breeders who have families and lots of animals and they answer the phone or get back to me at least.

Let me explain this another way..., I have tried multiple times to purchase an animal from them over the course of 5 weeks and they won't even let me know if the animal is even available! Not even a courtesy "were very busy but well get back to you". It's not like I'm asking.."could you tell me how much it weighs or could you take some more pictures of it because I might buy it someday". I straight up told them I WANT to purchase the animal so please get back to me to arrange payment and shipping!

How long do you think most online business would las if they didn't answer emails, phone calls or even just return a call because they are "too busy" or have too many animals to take care of?? Even if it was a family emergency, there's others working there who could get back to us, so I'm not buying that. It's simple courtesy and business 101!! If you don't respond to your potential customers FOR ANY REASON, your a moron and don't deserve the business. Period. There is no excuse you can give me that justifies no response ever.

Like I said...every single breeder I have dealt with has some sort of family, usually with little kids and LOTS of animals and emails...not to mention they're making videos and posting Facebook updates and they STILL have time to answer questions.

I refuse to spend one dime with a business who has zero knowledge of good customer service. Sorry, but in my mind if you want to take on the responsibility of owning a business that deals with customers personally, there's no excuse in the world for this.
 
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robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
I understand that they have families and receive lots of emails and have animals to take care of but SO WHAT! I know plenty of other breeders who have families and lots of animals and they answer the phone or get back to me at least.

Let me explain this another way..., I have tried multiple times to purchase an animal from them over the course of 5 weeks and they won't even let me know if the animal is even available! Not even a courtesy "were very busy but well get back to you". It's not like I'm asking.."could you tell me how much it weighs or could you take some more pictures of it because I might buy it someday". I straight up told them I WANT to purchase the animal so please get back to me to arrange payment and shipping!

How long do you think most online business would las if they didn't answer emails, phone calls or even just return a call because they are "too busy" or have too many animals to take care of?? Even if it was a family emergency, there's others working there who could get back to us, so I'm not buying that. It's simple courtesy and business 101!! If you don't respond to your potential customers FOR ANY REASON, your a moron and don't deserve the business. Period. There is no excuse you can give me that justifies no response ever.

Like I said...every single breeder I have dealt with has some sort of family, usually with little kids and LOTS of animals and emails...not to mention they're making videos and posting Facebook updates and they STILL have time to answer questions.

I refuse to spend one dime with a business who has zero knowledge of good customer service. Sorry, but in my mind if you want to take on the responsibility of owning a business that deals with customers personally, there's no excuse in the world for this.
just because you want to buy it doesn't obligate them to sell it to you or even answer your emails for that fact. believe it or not many of the larger breeders do not have people that work for them (only the big BIG breeders do). a few travel around the world to shows and some are constantly doing shows.
your first post was well written but this last post makes you look like you are now throwing a tantrum. calm down.
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
Doesnt "obligate" them to sell it to me?? LOL! Im sorry but, thats the most ridiculous statement ive ever heard. This is a BIG BIG breeder and I know for a fact that they have several employees. I honestly don't care. They won't get my business. I'm not throwing a tantrum. I've already bought the animal I need from another breeder who gets it. If you honestly can defend this type of breeder, that's sad. Thanks for understanding.
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
And btw....this is my rant. If you don't agree, that's tough luck. I posted this in the rants section days ago. If someone doesn't come out and defend horrible customer service then I would have never even thought of it again. Maybe you should start another thread about how breeders don't need to respond to customers because they are too busy and don't care if they make sales. Explain how we shouldn't bother them and obligate them to sell us animals because it's inconvenient because they have families and lots of animals. I'm not sure where you'd post it though.
 

robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
Doesnt "obligate" them to sell it to me?? LOL! Im sorry but, thats the most ridiculous statement ive ever heard. This is a BIG BIG breeder and I know for a fact that they have several employees. I honestly don't care. They won't get my business. I'm not throwing a tantrum. I've already bought the animal I need from another breeder who gets it. If you honestly can defend this type of breeder, that's sad. Thanks for understanding.
no i do understand. i am sorry you have been treated like this but you have to realize that things come up. period. and to be honest, yeah they aren't obligated to do business with you just because you want something and have the money to buy it. i have had *potential* customers before that wanted to buy from me and i didn't want to do business with them. so yes i did actually email them and tell them they needed to look elsewhere but by no means was i obligated to to do so if i did not choose.
whoever this is maybe have some stuff going on maybe not. at the end of the day they are loosing your business. will it hurt them? does possibly bad customer service hurt them? most likely not. does it bother them? who knows. we have no idea what is going on. crying about a situation isnt going to help it.

i think you are more likely to get better customer service from a smaller breeder than the BIG BIG breeders anyhow.

p.s. defining a big big breeder from a smaller breeder is kinda hard since we can not mention any names. plus, my opinion on what a big, big breeder is and yours may differ.
 
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robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
And btw....this is my rant. If you don't agree, that's tough luck. I posted this in the rants section days ago. If someone doesn't come out and defend horrible customer service then I would have never even thought of it again. Maybe you should start another thread about how breeders don't need to respond to customers because they are too busy and don't care if they make sales. Explain how we shouldn't bother them and obligate them to sell us animals because it's inconvenient because they have families and lots of animals. I'm not sure where you'd post it though.
i am not saying bad customer service is ok. i am all for having great customer service. i am saying that things happen and people have other things like families, animals to take care of etc. sometimes shit just happens.
this is your rant and you have every right to do it but i do not think it is fair unless you know if there was anything malicious in not answering your calls and/or emails or not. however this is still you rant and your thread and this is just my opinion.
 

Pinky81

New Member
Messages
1,100
Location
Wisconsin
Completely agree with Wild West. If your buisness is to sell a product and something in our life happens that you are going to be occupied with then as a responsible buisness owner you should atleast post a notice to the site that you will be out of touch for so and such time please be patient...etc etc. There is NO excuse for not answering emails or inquires. The difference between a good buisness owner and a bad...is that no matter how big things get you remember how you got there in the first place the Individual Customer! PERIOD!
 

M_surinamensis

Shillelagh Law
Messages
1,166
If your buisness is to sell a product and something in our life happens that you are going to be occupied with then as a responsible buisness owner you should atleast post a notice to the site that you will be out of touch for so and such time please be patient...etc etc. There is NO excuse for not answering emails or inquires. The difference between a good buisness owner and a bad...is that no matter how big things get you remember how you got there in the first place the Individual Customer! PERIOD!

There are infinite variations of scenarios which might cause a business owner to prioritize their time and attention elsewhere. They aren't excuses, they are reasons. Events, some beyond the direct control of the individual, which are simply more important than answering emails from prospective customers. Please note that prospective customers are different than existing customers with ongoing/unresolved sales. Ignoring an inquiry is different than ignoring the email from the person who has already paid and is wondering why their new pet hasn't arrived on the agreed timetable.

This is what Robin meant about obligation. A business owner doesn't have to answer your email. They don't have to do business in the exact way a prospective customer wants. They don't even have to make every sale every time. They can choose when, how and with who they do business. If they decide that they have something more important than dealing with you and taking your money, that is their decision.

Customers have the same degree of power. They don't have to deal with any given business owner if they don't want to. Don't like someone's policies, or communication? Don't do business with them. Sucks when you run into only one source for the thing you wanted to buy, but it's not like we're talking about necessities such as food or medicine being held by monopolies.

It's always a question of two people seeking to determine if they have compatible interests. One of them wanting to sell, the other buy. One who has something, the other who wants it. One with money, one who is trying to make money. They don't always match; for lots of different reasons.

Strictly as an opinion, there are plenty of scenarios where I'll forgive and understand slow or even indefinitely delayed communication, at least prior to the moment of sale. People doing the show circuits are often delayed, someone who's computer becomes inoperable may only be able to get access a couple times a week and may need some time to replace it, anyone experiencing a personal tragedy or dealing with health issues has my sympathy and my patience (even beyond my understanding), even someone who has just gotten in over their heads and who's having trouble keeping up with the volume of communication they are receiving causes me to just shrug and look elsewhere.

Someone who finds time to repost the ad I was inquiring about, write long blog or facebook posts, hang around on forums or who's talking about their epic x-box gaming marathon doesn't qualify and rapidly becomes someone who I won't support with my custom.

I definitely don't think it's a binary choice though; absolute and immediate compliance with my demands or permanent and total rejection. That's a bit harsh considering all the possible things people, even business owners, may find themselves unexpectedly dealing with. Things far more important than my money.


Edit: someone's business may fail as a result of an accumulation of such issues. The market, eventually, corrects itself if enough customers have enough reason to stop doing business with a given company/individual. Without knowing who was being discussed initially, I can't offer an opinion on the history of the individual who started this by not responding.

Also, yes... it's a rant subforum. No doubt it's annoying as hell when it happens. The discussion just kind of went sideways from there.

I kind of want to find a quote, a few years old, from a friend of mine about the topic of business hours and his availability as an owner. I could paraphrase it, but the original was perfectly worded.
 
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Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
I found this written on a very large reptile breeders website. It was in their personal blog. This is exactly the point I was trying to make. I know it's hard being a large breeder, but goddamn, make some effort if that's the path you have chosen. Without your customers, no matter how much they spend, your NOTHING. Flat out fact. It's the same in any business. You treat EVERY SINGLE ONE of your customers, current and potential with respect. If you don't they will go somewhere else to spend their hard earned money and you will fail. Anyone who disagrees with this, I guarantee will or has already failed in their attempt to own or run a successful business. Anyhow, here's the quote.......

"Don’t forget all the emails keep coming, the phone never stops, 100 text messages a day, you have to keep trying to care for you clients as if you are not pulling your hair out, which you are. I have to keep reminding myself that EACH EMAIL, CALL, TEXT HAS TO BE AS IMPORTANT AS THE LAST."

It's not that they have to respond or have to sell something to everyone, but it's common courtesy. Some people have it and some people don't. I know who I like to do business with.
 

Designer Geckos

Contributor
Messages
964
Location
Boulder, CO
Thanks for your kind comments Chris. I see both sides. I know how busy some breeders are, and let's face it....keeping large numbers of leos is extremely labor intensive and very time consuming. It is also VERY hard to find good help these days that will uphold the high standards of husbandry that we diehard leo folks maintain....thus, we usually end up doing the bulk of the work ourselves so it gets done right.

I work 14 hours most days and work THREE jobs! Yikes. But when I got into this I swore I would try to be responsive to our customers...even if exhausted at the end of the day. I too have tried to buy leos from breeders that never got back to me. My feeling is, if you are going to have a biz like this, and post geckos for sale, you should respond in a "reasonable" amount of time, knowing how excited people get about purchasing a specific animal.

I have also found that sometimes a phone call is more effective if you cannot reach a breeder via email. Some people just are not big on email, but will reply to a phone call, so try that. For the budding gecko folks out there who may want to sell geckos someday, try to remember to use the golden rule when dealing with your customers. And if you just don't have time to have good customer service, maybe this isn't the right thing for you to get involved in....or you might just get into that 14 hour a day work routine yourselves!
 

Dimidiata

New Member
Messages
1,955
Location
palmetto FL
Hmm, i can relate. Back when i was breeding my Dwarf Gourami(with help of course) i was just selling them via forum. My parents hit a financial rut and our internet was shut off, i didnt get back on until 2 months later. It wasnt pretty. I actually got banned for ignoring PMs from mods..-__-'' and was yelled at for not responding on my sale inquireys. Im no longer in the business of selling jack online. However, it is very annoying when people dont respond to emails you cant do a thing, you know what i mean. This is a rant, you not directly yelling at said person your just blowing off steam. I just wanted to say give em some more time, its all you can do. If they get back to you with a viable exscuse then great. If not then screw em.
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
I work 14 hours most days and work THREE jobs! Yikes. But when I got into this I swore I would try to be responsive to our customers...even if exhausted at the end of the day.
Now your really making the others look bad! LOL!

My feeling is, if you are going to have a biz like this, and post geckos for sale, you should respond in a "reasonable" amount of time, knowing how excited people get about purchasing a specific animal.
Exactly.

And if you just don't have time to have good customer service, maybe this isn't the right thing for you to get involved in....or you might just get into that 14 hour a day work routine yourselves!
Couldn't agree more. Remember the first time someone emailed you or called you about purchasing a gecko? I bet they answered right away then! Some people just get too big for their britches in business and in the long run it will hurt them. All those missed sales add up at the end of the day.
 

UnicornSpirit

Graphic Designer
Messages
399
Location
Woodbine, MD
Part of being a responsible business owner would be communication between the company and the clients/customer, it's called "people skills" . If the business owner has had a problem in their lives that may effect business they could possibly state so on their website (not needing to give out personal information), but simply to tell the clients that they may be down for a month or so.
Even if this person's "business" is more like a hobby to them, it should still be treated in the correct manner and taken seriously. Just because it's a hobby, many people are still looking up towards you as a true businessman, so you have to dish out the service and not shrug things off.

If I experienced what Chris just went through I wouldn't stick with that breeder either. It's too easy to just go and find someone else with the same product who cares about their business and clients- someone who is eager to make a sale yet leave the client smiling out the door.

I can see possibly not getting an e-mail returned if asking some silly question but if someone is interesting in buying really now... that should be in the business owner's best interest to respond and make the sale.

I too give props to Pat at Luxurious Leopards... I feel as if he goes above and beyond what is expected to run a business and will even answer questions about your leo long after you've bought it- because he wants to hold customers for life.

7 tips on how to keep customers for life: http://www.microsoft.com/business/en-us/resources/management/customer-relations/7-tips-on-keeping-customers-for-life.aspx?fbid=uu6BTdgpst7
 
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