Quality of Service and Customer support

One of the biggest components to making life easy for a Customer Support agent is having a good product. But let’s be honest, every product has its flaw and because of this the customer support/service agent’s role is critical for filling in the gap when the product fails.

I had a recent interaction with a customer support agent that left a very bad taste in my mouth as the agent didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.


Every year I run the annual RECSS awards which recognize outstanding customer support and service across multiple industries. This year was the 3rd year for this award. The process leading up to the winners only lasts about 2-3 months and is an intense time of marketing through word of mouth along with usual mediums like email and social media. This year I sent out my email through Vertical Response ,as I have done in previous years, letting them know that voting is open. I luckily received an email from one of my subscribers letting me know that the links in my email were leading off to a phishing site. Now as a disclosure my email list isn’t that large, but every person on the list is important and they are able to help spread awareness of the awards program after receiving the email. I checked the links I had setup in my email and confirmed there wasn’t a typo and then went to the email and clicked on the links and sure enough they were leading off to a random spam site.

I contacted Vertical Response about this and first asked how this happened. They replied and said it was an internal error and that their team was working on it and they apologized for the inconvenience. This was very frustrating as this was more than just an inconvenience, which I would consider a delay in sending an email campaign, but instead a major mess up. I replied and asked for a refund of the amount of money I’ve spent with them which didn’t exceed $50. I was going to take my refund, move onto a different vendor and chalk it up to a horrible issue. I didn’t get a response for a while and so I sent another email asking for them to confirm the refund of my payment and they replied that they provided credits in my account and gave me some more credits for use on my next campaign.

Now I had no intention of using the service again after that issue. All I wanted was my money back so I could move on. I asked them again if I could just get my money back and they said they couldn’t refund credits that have already been used. I can understand this from a business standpoint but at the same time this was a major error on their part and all I got was more credits.

In the end what I really wanted was someone to reach out to me on a personal level to understand why I was so frustrated so at least I was heard. If someone would have at least done that, then I would have still moved on, but I wouldn’t have this left over feeling of being taken advantage of.

Oh well, I’m using MailChimp now and loving their interface along with the ease of extending it. It is a little bit more than VerticalResponse, but well worth it in my opinion.

E-commerce Solution evaluation

I’ve been doing some research around hosted E-commerce solutions and wanted to post my results in hopes that people can offer insight into the best solution or recommend one that I haven’t covered yet. Below is the information I’ve pulled together thus far. I’d appreciate any feedback on the options and any recommendations for options I haven’t considered.

  Cafe Commerce Shopify Volusion Magento Go Big Commerce
Paypal Processing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit Card Processing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Transaction fees for processing CCs (if company processes on your behalf) 2.16% Based on Auth Provider 2.17% Based on Auth Provider Based on Auth Provider
Mobile e-commerce support No No – iphone mgmt Yes Not Available Yes
Coupons Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
API No Mention Yes Yes (with $99/mo plan) Yes Yes
Custom CSS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Custom HTML  No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shared SSL included Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Custom Domain support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hosting included Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Support 24×7 Yes No Yes Yes No
Quickbooks integration No Yes ( starts at $10/mo) Yes (3rd party integration. Prob addtl cost) Yes (addtl cost starts at $299/year ) Yes
Founded 2011 2006 1999 2001 2003
Good Starting Level $30 $59 $39 $25 $39.95
Transaction fee (not associated with CC) No Yes (1% at this level) No No No
Max number of products to add Unlimited 2,500 500 500 500
Bandwidth Unlimited Not available on site 3GB 8GB 3GB
Storage Unlimited 500MB Not available on site 800MB 300MB