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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Good Deeds

Recently, I learned the hard way that I can’t refund a transaction after 120 days. A customer bought a Christmas gift for somebody back in August. When she saw her friend at the end of January, she learned that the recipient’s cigarette case had broken after only a couple of weeks of use. So she complained to me.

Most companies would say “tough luck” to somebody who spent $14 five months earlier, and I’d have been entirely justified in doing the same. But I’m out to make customers, not just sales. So I offered to either replace the case or refund the customer’s money.

She opted for the refund. That’s when I discovered an inviolable 120-day limit on issuing charge credits. After going a few rounds with the credit card processor, I ultimately had to send this customer a check. Duly impressed with the amount of attention I gave her small transaction, she gave me an unsolicited compliment for my “Testimonials” section. That is worth the $14 that it cost me.

(Incidentally, this complaint was my second indication that my smoking accessories are not up to snuff, so I am looking for a better supplier. Smokers are such pariahs that I am attracting substantial traffic at the bargain rate of only 3 cents per click…and the markup on smoking accessories is pretty good. I sense an underserved market. Being a former tobacco addict (and still an occasional smoker) myself, I’m happy to satisfy that demand. If anyone reading this has a cigarette case or lighter that you especially like, please tell me where you got it and why you like it.)

This week somebody approached me about a $900 institutional order – that’s nearly half of my sales plan for the whole month of February. Although ours wasn’t the lowest price on the item that she needs, she chose Curio City because of our “reputation for customer service”. Holy crap! That’s what I’ve been struggling to establish for the past year. It can only have come from the Testimonials page.

I offered (without being asked) to cover the cost of shipping. The $25 in foregone profit will buy invaluable word-of-mouth that could lead to even more institutional business, and will surely generate some positive mentions. Today the purchase order came through, and I ordered the merchandise. The revenue won’t come until March or April, but the sale went on the books as soon as I created the invoice. It went a long way toward offsetting the $1400 in taxes and accounting fees that hit me in February.

Future Topics:

  • Credit Card Processing
  • PPC Advertising Update
  • Phases Reconsidered

1 comment:

  1. I suppose there are worse things in the world than being called a Curio City groupie. What they are, I can't think of. But I suppose there are.

    I enjoyed your Possible Future articles, but then I enjoy a lot of your writing and find it very easy to follow, understand and relate. I also find the whole startup business issue fascinating in and of itself.


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