I have a professional blogger friend who is quite tech proficient.  To stay on top of her game she regularly attends blogging and social media classes.  Our conversations after these workshops are typically a lot of fun.  She excitedly tells me what she learned, and we talk about how we can apply it to our own businesses.  Well…last week was different.  She was pissed.  It turns out that the workshop was good, but the presenter turned her off.  Their email conversation started innocent enough, but then it went sour:

Friend:  Thanks for the presentation.  I was looking over my notes, and I missed step 4.  Could you please re-send it.  Thanks!

Presenter: Hi. Step 4 was X.  Now, let me tell you about the paid series I’m doing next month.  It only costs $XXXX dollars and will teach you a lot.  You can even make money promoting the event.

Friend: Thanks for following up with me, but the event isn’t in my budget right now.

— Okay, the conversation could’ve ended here.  If the presenter really wanted her as a client, he could’ve offered a payment plan or asked her if she wanted to be added to his mailing list to keep her updated on future programs.  Well, that’s not what he did.  Instead he said this —

Presenter: I really think you should attend the event.  Like I said, if you promote the event with the latest social media tools, you can even make money registered other people – but you probably don’t know how to do that because you haven’t taken my course yet.  Maybe you do, but I’m just trying to help you out.

— Huh?  If you didn’t catch the part that made her angry, re-read the last couple of lines from the presenter.  He tried to sell her a workshop, an expensive one at that, by insulting her intelligence.  I don’t know about you, but calling me stupid does NOT make me want to buy your products.  Apparently it doesn’t work on my friend either.  What’s even funnier is that she knows how to use the latest social media tools already and has a large network.  If the presenter approached her correctly, she easily could’ve sold a few registrations for him.

Though names have not been used to protect the guilty, this blog post is evidence that stories of poor customer service can spread quickly.  Keep that in mind during your next customer interaction.  Selling is expected; insults are not.

Has something like this happened to you?  I’d love to hear how you handled it.

Please Don’t Call Your Clients Stupid

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