We transact about 90% of all our business by mail order, and as we have been selling by mail order for over 40 years, we try very hard to make things idiot-proof. Naturally we are not suggesting that our customers are idiots, quite the reverse in fact, it's just that if somebody gives us instructions or we have a form to fill, we like it to be very easy indeed, otherwise known as a no-brainer, or idiot proof, however...
...Some Folk Beat Our Best Plans
We relate some of the strange errors and omissions we find on customers orders:-
* Australian Silver Krugerrand
We couldn't believe this one! Krugerrands are South African gold coins. Our guess is that this customer wants an Australian silver kookaburra.
* No Address
We get about half a dozen orders every year where the customer has forgotten to include their address, sometimes the address is just plain illegible, in which case we write to ask for confirmation of the address before we post valuable goods. We keep a special file for "missing address" orders. Usually people write or telephone after a few weeks or months, and we can match it up with the order.
* Still No Address
Very occasionally we get a "where's my order" letter without an address, so we have two letters without address from the same person. Once, way back in the 1960's we got an address-less order and one or two address-less follow up letters. We only got the customer's address when Exchange & Mart forwarded a complaint from the customer about not receiving their order,
* Which Date?
Because we sell a lot of coins, and people sometimes forget to tell us which date they want, we include a "date" column next to the "description" column on our order forms. Quite a few people put today's date in this column!
* Which Country
Not content with omitting the coins' date, some people forget to tell us which country they want, for example when ordering euro coin sets. We can often work out which they need from the price, but to avoid confusion, we have now included a "country" column. One Dutch customer ordering a 2002 German set, put the current date in the date column, followed by "NL" in the country column, but fortunately put German in the description column.
A significant minority of eBay buyers omit to include their item number or eBay identity when sending their payment, Often there is no way for us to tell this is an eBay sale, meaning we cannot leave feedback for them, and then we send them payment reminders, at which some of them get stroppy!
Very occasionally, we have bought things on eBay, and the vast majority of sellers completely omit any reference to eBay. Most do not even enclose a "With Compliments" slip, or anything identifying the sender, just the item itself. We imagine they think this is the only item we are expecting to arrive by post. With half a dozen staff, not all of them can be expected to know we are expecting a delivery from an eBay seller. Recently we bid on two identical items, one turned up with no identification of who sent it, fortunately, we did not buy the other item. If we had, and only one had arrived, we would not have known which to give positive feedback to, and which to chase for delivery.
Remember that the seller can often not tell from your name and address what your eBay identity is, or be able to guess the item number if you forget to state it. We suggest sending print-out of the item listing with your payment, if paying by post. The seller could also send it back in lieu of a delivery note, in case you bought two or more similar items from different vendors.
Amusing, But with a Serious Point
We believe in trying to run our business with reasonable efficiency, but also with a human touch, and we like to share some of our experience with our customers. We hope it helps to brighten up their day, but there is also a serious point to it. We see it as a polite and pleasant way to encourage our customers to remember to add basic information which helps us to help them more efficiently, such as their address. Hopefully it also encourages customers to be courteous and pleasant when following up orders, it may be their fault that there is a problem!
Author & Copyright Notice
This page was written by Lawrence Chard of Chard Coins, and is extracted from our "Gold Sovereigns" website. We hope you find this page useful and informative, please feel free to use the information we have provided, but please note we retain copyright on all contents including both textual content and images. Please do not copy our text or images without our prior written permission.
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