Friday, September 14, 2007

Customers With Many Monikers

I spend so much time trying to match people's different names, and have tried to remind people that I would like some help in finding their information. I wish I could count the wasted time spent in searching for alternate identities. For example, a customer may write an email asking about a yarn, and that email could be their husband's address, or one of many they hold. Often, customers only sign their first name, or do not sign the email at all. The biggest problem in identification is in the name which appears in the 'From' spot on emails, and that's where people love to get creative and invent new nicknames, use a company name which may not appear anywhere else, abbreviate their email address, or ... my favorite ... use their first name. Help me, please!

If theirs is a Special Order, I have to use an email address to invoice them through PayPal, so I go into PayPal and use the invoice from the original request to bill them. If they have a different email address for their PayPal account, they write back asking me to bill them at the alternate address. I go back into PayPal, edit the invoice, send it again, print another invoice copy, and throw away the first one. Or, they could throw me a curve, and pay the invoice through another PayPal address and I have no clue who is whom.

I have some customers with two or three email addresses -- all cloyingly cute, by the way! -- and who's names I have never seen. They do not sign their emails or inform me that they are writing from a different address than the one I should use in PayPal billing. It is so frustrating.

A couple of months ago, I decided to add to my email signature an automatic message which asks people to tell me if their PayPal address is different from their regular email, and also to sign their first and last names to their correspondence. A few have been so very nice to help me out, but most people either have ignored the message, or think it just doesn't apply to them. I am thinking particularly of a few regular customers who are billed for their shipments, and they never, ever copy down their billing email address.

So, how can I conquer this constant irritation? Through a new website program! Yes, that is definitely in the works. It will be a true eCommerce site, powered by OSCommerce, and customers will fill out a form which asks for this information. I will have behind the scenes access to these reports and can more easily find the info I need. Now, the only problem is to gently urge my webmaster towards my problems again. I'm in a waiting mode for his attention at the moment, and will be so happy to hear from him again!

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