Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Company,

Have you ever emailed a company?  I have.

I emailed Charmin yesterday in fact.  Recently every roll of toilet paper we've tried to start has given us problems.  The seal is so strong that it either shreds the first layer of TP or pulls up half the ply on the 2-ply beneath it (leaving you with one round of 3 ply and one round of 1 ply to get it back to where things match up correctly.  It's annoying).

I wanted to let them know about the issues we were having- even Tim had commented on it being a bit of a pain.  In less than 6 hours, I had a response- the technician was going to pass on the comments to her team (maybe she will, maybe she won't) and she was going to send me a coupon for a 12-pack.


This isn't the first time I've gotten really good coupons in response to complaints.  Hershey once (several years ago) sent me a check because I had an allergic reaction to those little Hershey Drop candies.  I emailed them to let them know of the problem and they called me.  In the course of talking, I disclosed that I used a coupon to get the candy for free and really had just contacted them wanting to let them know, since I'm not allergic to very much.  I thought perhaps others had had a similar experience.  A week later, a check in the mail came for the full value of the candy plus the allergy medicine I had to buy (which I never told them what I spent, they just picked a high number).

Tim complained to me that Birds Eye Voila was a bit freezer burnt and he had a few ideas how to improve it, so I passed that on to the company- next thing I know, we receive a coupon for a free product in the mail.

Now before I finish this post, I want to tell you something important.  I am not advocating that you make up complaints to send to companies for free products.  If you have a legitimate concern, please contact the company, otherwise, just email them and beg for coupons (I've never had good luck with this, though some people swear by it).

However- when I do email companies, I follow certain rules.

  • Never swear you are never using their product/service again.  What incentive is there to help out a customer who refuses to ever be a customer again?
  • Don't be rude.  You're not getting the person who made the product, you're getting an office worker.  If someone is rude to me, I know I am less inclined to help and less inclined to take their concerns seriously.
  • Share that you are a loyal customer. In the case of Charmin, I said "We love the Ultra Soft and it's all we use- I tried to switch once to use a coupon and my husband got extremely grumpy with me.  I've never tried that again!" or something similiar.  It establishes loyalty without saying "Hey!  I'm like a super loyal customer, so you better suck up to me."
  • Don't expect anything.  When I contacted Charmin, Birds Eye and Hershey, I did so because I wanted to share ideas and concerns.  I wasn't expecting any kind of reimbursement, free coupons or anything else.  If you don't get something and you are expecting it, you may end up grumpy towards the company.  This way, if they do send you something, HEY isn't that nice? What a great surprise! It improves your whole day.
  • Don't be trivial.  Ok, I know, it being hard to start a roll isn't life shattering- but the product is toilet paper.  It should be easy to start, easy to unroll and comfortable to use.  I wouldn't email if the seal was stamped a little sideways or if the packaging had a slight printing error on it.   I wouldn't email a candy company if there was a crushed M&M in my package of M&Ms- I would email if I bought peanut M&Ms and there were no peanuts! 
  • Describe the problem fully.  This cuts down on how much they have to talk to you and how much you have to talk to them.  Win-Win.
  • Include your information.  I often don't give my phone number unless is required, but I do put in my address.  This way, should they want to send me a coupon, they don't have to ask for my information and they can do it right then, as they mood strikes them.
I have contacted companies just to tell them I appreciate the good job they do and the quality of products they put out.   I recently emailed Coke Rewards to give them some support during a mess around the Holiday Season- people were being very rude, swearing to never use their products again, etc. because they didn't get to renew their points for as many free coupons as they wanted (thereby cutting down the available coupons for everyone else.  IE, they didn't get if I got one, as long as they got 15.)  I expected nothing back and got nothing back- I just wanted to encourage Coke not to pull their program because of the negative people blasting them on Facebook.

So there you have it!  How to email companies if there is a problem with your product or service- and encouragement to email them to give out a little praise if everything is great.


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