Apology for Christmas Delivery Problem

Customer

Dear Sir.

I placed an order on Dec. 19 for one router bit. I called today Dec. 28 to ask about my order to find out that even though you have already charged my credit card, the bit has not been shipped yet plus charging me over 12.00 dollars  shipping for one router bit. I know it’s a very small order. But do I deserve less customer service than the big guys, I don’t think so. I hope this was just a simple mistake and not the way you do business. Next time I think I’ll look elsewhere for my needs.

Sincerely,

Customer

Reply

Dear Mr. Customer:

Thank you very much for your well-written and gentlemanly letter.

Please accept my apologies for the way we have handled your order. With your permission, I would like to refund the shipping as well as the cost of your router bit.  

I am going to copy my customer service manager, Emily, and my e-commerce manager, Renée on this message. They will see that the refund is issued the first thing tomorrow morning, Thursday, December 29. It usually takes at least a day to appear on your statement. This time of year it may be two days.

We will still get you your router bit as soon as possible and without charge.

There is no excuse for the way we treated you but I would like to offer the following explanation. The Christmas season is a horrible time of year for us to do business. It is a wonderful time of year for families but, unfortunately, it is a time of year when many of our suppliers close. Some close for nine days and some close for as much as seventeen days.  This means that suppliers, who ordinarily ship the day we order merchandise, may take as long as three weeks to fill an order at this time a year.

Merchandise that does get shipped is mixed in with everybody else’s Christmas shipping.   Delivery times were extended by about a week to a week and a half this year.

I am not at all happy with our shipping rates. Unfortunately we are limited in this area by several things. The root cause is the fact that we are a relatively small business in a world that has Amazon in it.  Many of our orders are small and our suppliers will add an extra charge of as much as five dollars an item because of the size of our orders.  Our website is successful and is growing so we are able to order in larger quantities. We are scheduled to re-examine our shipping charges in January and hope to be able to lower them.

As hard as it may be to believe after your recent experience, our business is designed to be preferential for the small, sophisticated user. If you are a large manufacturing company then tool people will call on you regularly with industrial quality tools sold at discount. If you are a smaller business you may be stuck buying at a big box store or, even worse, a department store.

I started my business in 1981 in the middle of a recession.  I started in my garage with my last $500. It has been 30 years but I still remember people telling me that I was too small to bother with. I made a promise that I would never tell anyone that.

When I set up the store I decided to carry full product lines.  We routinely make sales between one dollar and two dollars.  We do a fair amount of business with people who want a single hex key, for example.  The most extreme example was an order for a $1.35 hex key with $50 worth of shipping on it.  The customer wanted and paid for overnight shipping with a special early morning delivery. I have been in the same position where I really needed something badly and I have paid large amounts in shipping to get it there.  I’ve always been grateful for a company that was willing to go out of their way to do this for me.

I believe this was your first order with us and I would certainly understand if we never heard from you again. I would appreciate it if we did hear from you again. In any case, I would really like you to think that we made a mistake.

Every Christmas I worry about something just like this happening. I do everything I can think of to prevent it. Because I have an extremely good staff we usually do pretty well.  This year we were much busier much later in the month than I thought we were going to be.

Besides the full refund on the router bit and the shipping as well as a free router bit, I would also like to send you some samples of our other tools.  We have some gold-plated Bondhus, metric hex keys.  There is a nice little screwdriver set. It is not really a professional quality set to be used every day. However it is a really handy set for eyeglass screws and opening battery covers on toys. There is a Southeast Tool router bit. It is the most popular size sold. Finally there are some 6 mil., write-on, sealable plastic bags.  I seem to be much more impressed by these bags than my staff is.  They have large write-on areas that I find really handy for labeling parts when I am repairing something.  They are strong enough that you can store screws and nails in them. The screws and nails may poke through but the bags will not rip.

This is undoubtedly much more than you ever wanted read. I am afraid I may have taken advantage of your good nature. As I mentioned, every year things change dramatically during the holiday season and I worry that we are going to treat people badly as, indeed we did, in your case.

Again, please accept my apologies for the way we treated you. We will do whatever we can to make it up to you. And thank you very much for listening.

Sincerely,

Tom Walz

President

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