The customer isn’t always right

(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘the customer is always right’.

Some say it was coined by Marshall Field who owned a famous store called Chicago (later re-named Macy’s). Others suggest that the phrase may have been invented by Harry Gordon Selfridge (from Selfridges store in London). Selfridge worked for Field at the end of the 19th century, so one of them was certainly responsible for it, even if we don’t know which one.

Some businesses take the phrase literally. It was never meant to be taken literally. The phrase was originally used to train sales people and was intended to be a reminder to the sales people to give customers good service.

So what’s this got to do with backing tracks I hear you ask?

Well, from time to time we get a disgruntled customer. It doesn’t happen very often and it’s no reflection on the high quality of the products or excellent services we supply to our customers. On the contrary, we have an enviable reputation in the industry for supplying first-class products and recording services, and for creating quality products that are the envy of our competitors.

It just happens to be a fact of life that when you supply backing track downloads and other services to tens of thousands of customers, from time to time you will get a customer who can’t figure out how to get their download, or have trouble making a payment, or didn’t read the instructions properly, mis-typed their email address on the order form, or their PC won’t behave the way it should etc.

When any of our customers experiences a problem and gets in contact with us, most times they simply want us to help them sort out whatever problem they’re experiencing.

But sometimes we get another type of customer – the type of customer who, instead of asking for help, immediately gets on their high horse, jumps to conclusions, and decides that whatever is wrong, it must be our fault. We can always spot these types of customers very easily by their attitude.

Instead of asking for help, they usually say things like “You’ve taken my money, where are my purchases…” or “…I’ve never had problems downloading from other companies, so it must be your fault…” etc.

Disgruntled maybe isn’t the best word to describe these types of customers – frustrated is maybe a kinder and sometimes more accurate description. Let’s face it, there’s nothing more frustrating than making a purchase then not receiving those purchases or having some sort of problem, no matter the circumstances which caused it. No-one likes to feel “ripped-off” and the internet is awash with shady websites and unscrupulous individuals who’s sole purpose in life these days seems to be to defraud you and part you from your hard earned cash.

It’s no wonder fevers run high and frustration sets in very quickly when whatever you expected to happen when you bought something doesn’t happen.

So if you’re one of those customers who is having problems and feeling a bit frustrated, don’t worry, help is at hand. Here’s what to do…

First of all, please don’t just jump to conclusions about what’s wrong. If there’s a technical fault here at our end you can bet we’ll know about it, even if it’s 3 a.m. in the morning. Remember, we regularly supply tens of thousands of customers with instant downloads so you’re not the only person who has been on our website today. If something isn’t right with our web server or our mail system, then rest assured hundreds of our other customers will be experiencing the exact same problem, so believe me, we’ll know about it!

We have very comprehensive server warning alerts in place that immediately tell us if or when there is a problem with our server plus we usually get a flood of emails and support tickets from customers within seconds of any problems occurring. As soon as you contact us to report that you are experiencing difficulties, the first things we do immediately are:

  1. Check that our system is up and running
  2. Check that all orders are submitting properly
  3. Check that emails are being sent out to you properly
  4. Check that our servers download area is functioning as it should

Once we have checked everything at our end and ruled out any server-side problems here, we then look in to possible things that could have gone wrong from the users end. We help you troubleshoot exactly what’s gone wrong and then help you fix it.

All computers – and that includes your PC too – operate in their own unique “environment” and this can cause problems for some users. In simpler terms, your computer, my computer, the next guys computer, will each handle things like emails, ordering, and downloading files in a completely different way. The way that your computer makes an order or handles an email or a file download is entirely dependant on the other programs your computer has installed on it.

Everyone’s computer has different programs and tools installed which all interact with each other in different ways…making your computers “environment” unique to you and your computer. Have you ever used someone elses computer and noticed that it behaves slightly differently to your PC? Now you know why…

For example, some people may use their internet service providers webmail, others may use programs like Eudora, Outlook Express, Incredimail, while others will use free services like Googlemail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc. These various email providers all run very different types of spam filters and they all handle incoming emails in very different ways.

What about unzipping files? Some people may have Winzip installed on their PC while others have Freezip or 7zip. Even Windows XP’s built-in zip program behaves differently to the Windows Vista and Windows 7 built-in zip programs. Surprising as it may sound, there are even some people out there who don’t know that they have to unzip downloaded files before they can open and use them. No wonder they can’t get them to work after they’ve downloaded them!

How about firewalls and anti-virus – there’s hundreds of different types – they often “jump in” and hijack a file while downloading to scan it and decide what they want to let you do with it. You may use the Windows firewall while the next guy may have Norton or McAffee or PC Tools or AVG installed on his computer – the list goes on. Different AntiVirus and firewall programs will treat your downloaded file in a different way.

Then what happens when you want to actually PLAY your downloaded file? Well, this all depends on what the default mp3 player is on your PC. If you have iTunes installed, you may have to drag the unzipped file in to the iTunes window before it will play or your particular set up may require you to unzip it and add it to the iTunes library and it will play. If you have Windows Media Player set as your default player you may only need to double-click the unzipped file and it’ll play. If you have Real player or Winamp or any other of the thousand or so mp3 player softwares out there installed on your PC it may just confuse Windows completely. Windows won’t know which one to use and it could cause a conflict which crashes your computer or gives you a corrupt file message.

All these problems can happen because EVERY computer is working in a different “environment” with different programs installed. All the programs on your computer interact with each other making each and every computer configuration different, therefore making each and every computer behave differently. Don’t believe me? Just click on your Start menu and go to “Accessories > Run”, then type msconfig in to the little box, click ok, and then click on the “services” tab and take a look at all the stuff that’s running on your PC right now. See! And you thought the only thing running on your PC right now was your internet browser!

All that stuff is running on your PC right now and interacting and from time to time may be interfering with what you’re doing *NOTE by the way, when you’re in there please don’t untick or change any of the settings you see unless you know what you’re doing because there’s all sorts of stuff like essential system files etc that your PC needs running at all times

So, as you can see, there are literaly millions of combinations of program interactions happening on your PC at any one time and any one of them can cause you problems. However help is at hand…

Fortunately the team here at MP3 Backing Trax are VERY experienced at troubleshooting all types of downloading, ordering, and emailing problems you may have. We’ve been in the download business longer than any other company out there, even longer than iTunes and Amazon. We were the first commercial backing track music download company in the world so there’s not much that can go wrong that we haven’t already seen a hundred times before, believe me.

So whatever your problem, if you let us know the symptoms, we can help you fix it. No matter whether it’s your email provider blocking, filtering or refusing to deliver download emails we send you, or a firewall on your PC not allowing you to access the download, or you don’t know how to unzip a track after you’ve downloaded it, or you’ve mis-typed your email address or your card address or card number, or you have an expired password problem, we’ll find out what’s wrong and we’ll help you fix it.

Computers are temperamental beasts at the best of times so when problems occur a customer who tries to solve the problem on his own can often feel like he’s looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s easy to see why the customer can become frustrated.

But a good customer, no matter how frustrated, will send us a polite email or open a support ticket at our helpdesk saying something to the effect ‘I’m having a problem, can you help please‘?

Sadly, the customer who is NOT so easily helped, is the other type of customer…the type of customer who immediately get’s on his or her high-horse and feels the urge to start a blame game (it’s called ‘contempt prior to investigation’).

This type of customer is always easy to spot. They are typically pompous, cheeky types of individuals, usually people who are a little bit full of their own self importance. Amazing as it may sound, these stupid individuals seem to actually believe that communicating with us in a pompous or confrontational way will make us sit up and take notice of them. Little do the poor souls know that the only attention their confrontational communications ever get from us is when our staff pass their emails around the office so everyone can have a good laugh at them. I don’t need to say any more…you know who you are 😉

So, here’s a question for you…

Which type of customer do you think gets our attention, gets our help, and gets their problem resolved? Is it: Customer A…The respectful, good customer who politely asks for help? Or is it… Customer B…The pompous idiot who just blows off at the mouth?

Ta da da ra (drum roll please)….and the answer is…yes, you’ve guessed…it’s Customer A who gets our attention, our help, and their problem resolved!

You see most problems are easily and quickly resolved. Even when they’re not so easily fixed, I’ve still seen us spending hours communicating with a customer, even in to the wee small hours, until we finally manage to successfully help him troubleshoot what’s wrong. To us, it doesn’t matter if the customer has spent one pound or a hundred pounds. We’ll take as long as it takes to get his problem sorted. When a customer describes a problem to us, we’ve usually come across that same problem before so we know exactly what to do to solve it (by the way, 99% of problems are usually down to your PC’s firewall settings, your antivirus settings or your email providers spam filters, although there are a few other things that can upset the apple cart).

Remember the phrase I quoted at the beginning of this article…’The customer is always right’? Well, what if the customer is wrong?

The answer is…we don’t treat the customer who is wrong any different. To us here at MP3 Backing Trax we make no distinction between customers who are right or wrong. It doesn’t matter if the customer is right or wrong. We still strive to help him in every way we can to resolve any problems he may be experiencing whether it be with his email, his firewall, his browsers download configuration, mistakes he may have inadvertently made on the order form like typos in his email address or card details etc.

We only want one thing for our customers – that they get their purchases as quickly and efficiently as possible. We don’t care who or what is to blame for whatever problem he may be experiencing. We just want to resolve it for him as quickly and efficiently as possible. So no matter whether your PC is acting up and won’t download properly, or your email providers filters are eating the download links we send you, or the payment processor doesn’t like your card, or you mis-typed some details, or you didn’t read the instructions correctly, our only concern is getting you a solution to whatever is causing you the problem as quickly as we can. If the customer happens to be wrong, we help him get right. No problem!

But what if the customer is the pompous type, an arrogant blowhard, or just a bit of an idiot?

If we get a customer who is the pompous type, an arrogant blowhard or just a bit of an idiot, we simply get rid of him.

Yes, you read that correctly…we get rid of him!

You see some businesses think that the more customers they have, the better. This just isn’t true. Some customers are quite simply bad for business. It’s a well known fact that it is 1% of your customers who will cause you 95% of the trouble. So we get rid of the 1%.

It doesn’t matter how much these customers spend with us or claim they were going to spend with us (by the way, that’s just one of a number of tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with an idiot – the idiot always loves to tell you how much he or she was going to spend, if only you had treated them differently )!

Time is wasted communicating with an idiot because the idiot will already have decided that you’re a bad guy. They are only really interested in whining, complaining, and shouting loudly about it to let you know. We don’t waste time on these types of customers. It’s just not worth our time sending numerous emails back and forth communicating with an idiot, trying to help or appease him or her. This is taking up valuable time that can otherwise be spent communicating with our good customers and further cementing our relationships with them.

At MP3 Backing Trax we don’t just sell backing tracks – we give away a lot of free stuff to our customers too. We write industry related articles and send our customers and mailing list subscribers free reports, free eBooks, free pieces of software, advice, and guidance to help them with every aspect of working in the entertainment industry. Read our blog and you’ll see just how many questions we’ve answered, many of them are completely unrelated to backing tracks, yet we still take the time to reply and help.

We want to help our customers be successful in the entertainment industry, that’s what makes our customers the loyal customers they are rather than just customers. We’re fortunate enough to have loyal customers numbering in the tens of thousands. We’ve got all the time in the world for customers who are polite and appreciate our efforts and the help we give.

But for those 1% of customers who are pompous, impolite, unreasonable, or who DON’T appreciate our efforts, we don’t want you, not as a customer, not as a mailing list subscriber, not as a visitor to our website. I’m sorry to be so blunt about this, but our business is solid, our products are excellent, our loyal customers are fantastic, and we invest a lot of time and effort helping our customers in every way and creating all the extras that we give out free every month to customers and subscribers. We simply don’t have the time to take on any dead-wood.

Finally, I have a question…

How did you find this article?

Perhaps you just stumbled upon it while browsing our website, or maybe found it through a search engine link? If so this article has a purpose for you. By reading this, you will know what to expect should you choose to do business with MP3 Backing Trax. Our aim at MP3 Backing Trax is not to get as many customers as possible or to sell as many products as possible. On the contrary, our aim is to work with only a very select group of good customers and supply those good customers with products that are of the highest quality and will help them further their careers in the entertainment industry.

We care passionately for our loyal customers and subscribers and we give all the help and assistance you could ever want for. All you have to do is simply communicate with us in a courteous manner. Just let us know if you have any problems and then let us help you wherever possible and I personally promise you that you will benefit greatly from any relationship you enter in to with MP3 Backing Trax, whether or not you purchase backing tracks from us or just sign up to our mailing list and sit back and take all the free advice and stuff we send out. Either way, you are very welcome and we’d love to have you on board with us.

But maybe you reached this page through a link that I or one of our staff emailed you…

If so, then why not contact us again…with a different attitude. If we detect a more curteous or less pompous attitude from you, then we might just be willing to forgive your previous ignorant communications or accusations and decide to offer you a ‘clean slate’ in order to move forward and get on with the job of helping you with whatever difficulties you are experiencing. I know from my many years experience of regularly working with tens of thousands of customers that some customers don’t really mean any harm. They just get a little bit carried away when they are not directly face to face with the other person and will often say things, especially in emails or phone conversations, that they wouldn’t normally say if they were in a face to face situation.

Add to this the frustration you are perhaps feeling right now because you are experiencing some problem and don’t know how to resolve it, and we can completely understand why an otherwise nice customer may over-react a little.

So which type of customer are you? Are you the nice customer who just got a bit hot under the collar out of frustration and could use a little help? If so, contact us now. We’ll help you.

But if you’re the pompous type, an arrogant blowhard, a whiner, a complainer, a “blamer”, or just a bit of an idiot, then I’m sure you can understand now why we need to get rid of you and drop you from our customer database or mailing list. We don’t mind at all if you decide to go to our biggest competitor and buy from them – in fact we would encourage it. We’re more than happy for our competitor to have you. The biggest damage we can do to any competitor is send them our dead-wood. So we’re happy to send them our 1% of troublesome customers and let them have the all the trouble you cause! Also feel free to bad-mouth our company to all your friends – we don’t mind, because if they’re friends of yours, then they’ll probably be similar like-minded people (i.e they’ll be pompous idiots too) so we don’t want your friends’ business either.

We choose our customers carefully. It’s widely known and accepted that customers who shop online will usually surf around the internet and check out a few different websites before choosing which company they want to do business with. But customers rarely realise that companies like us do exactly the same thing when it comes to choosing the customers we want to do business with. We will only do business with those customers we believe to be good customers for us. Bad customers cost us time, they cost us effort, and they are particularly bad for the morale of our hard-working staff. So no amount of money a bad customer spends (or claims they were “going to spend..blah blah blah”) is ever worth the trouble they end up costing us.

So if you have contacted us recently and we’ve replied sending you to this page, please have a little think about what you said to us in your earlier communication(s). If you were in any way pompous, discourteous, accusational in tone, or less than flattering towards any of our staff or our company, then that’s why you’ve been sent to this page.

And that’s why you’ve been discarded from our customer list and flagged as no longer being of any use to us as a customer or a subscriber.