The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications

E064 - Money Back Requests

Joanna: Sometimes when it comes to customers there are people who just are not going to be happy and maybe they even want their money back. James you're going to talk about the two or three kinds of people that that might include and you're gonna tell us how you handle it.

James: So operating an online business you often will come across people that are either unhappy with the service or an unhappy with the cost. And they'll message in and we at Visualmediachurch and Stokhub always kind of take that very seriously. And like we said earlier in the week it is important because sometimes that feedback is pointing towards a problem. And I would say often it is pointing towards an issue it is a is a friction point. It's something that has annoyed the customer or something that they're dissatisfied with. And often it's hard to look in the mirror and see that that issue might be real. I find there's kind of three different scenarios to get the kind of unfolds. Scenario one is someone is having a real issue. And the way that we deal with it from a business standpoint is if someone messages in with an issue and we look and we see oh there is a mistake on our end we will immediately apologize and own up to it. And we say sorry. So if someone says Hey I just purchased a product and it's not downloading properly and we look and we say oh there's a coding error or our servers are down that is on us. That is our mistake. And sometimes that can happen over the weekend where we can't respond right away. So this person has been waiting for 24 hours for something they paid for and haven't got and they are probably frustrated and sometimes their messages express their frustration. And you know what it is valid and the immediate response I think inside of all of us is to kind of be defensive. But if you have to you have to take a step back and look from their standpoint they just paid twenty five dollars for something and then they can't get it. So they they feel like they might be ripped off.

Joanna: And rightly so. That kind of customer in this category is like rightly appropriately annoyed and frustrated.

James: So we've always I apologize. It's always good to be humble and to take ownership of your own mistakes even sometimes outside your control. But it is on you to fix that mistake. So we apologize right away. And the second thing that we always try to do is then give a free gift of a hey we're sorry here's what you paid for. But as a kind of special little thank you from us. Thank you for being a customer. And we're really sorry this happened. Here's a pack that is similar, or let us know which one that you really also would like to get because we want to make up for that mistake. We want to make up for your frustration. And that nine times out of 10 solves a problem people for the most part can understand that things go wrong and they do appreciate any kind of company or any kind of organization owning up to it and then wanting to make amends. It's it's very rare. Even with my own dealings with telecom companies like no one ever wants to make amends. No one ever wants to say sorry. They just say you know OK we fixed it now bye. Like that's not the goal, the goal is to say let's build good relationship. We don't want this problem to ever happen again. We also want to treat you right and give you more value than what you were expecting. But the second thing that can happen is sometimes people are trying to take advantage of you. They sometimes are paying and then just want their money back. And that's where we have to kind of find out what has been going on. I mean sometimes we've had people who pay for something try to get as much as they possibly can and then say they didn't use it. So they just want their money back and sometimes they're just trying to take advantage. And at the end of the day we're a business and we want to still treat people right. And that's very counterintuitive that if you feel like someone is taking advantage of you to still treat them well. But our reputation is what we stand on. And I think that's the same for churches as you are only as good as your reputation sometimes. And so even when someone tries to take advantage of us we always, one are polite, two are very courteous and we try to oblige as much as possible. There are some rare cases when someone is really trying to take advantage and we won't deal with that. But for the most part we try to really treat people with respect even if they're not necessary treating us as a company back with respect. And I think this is a good reminder then for people who use online products.

Joanna: The thought of taking the high road is the policy.

James: Absolutely. But then I think I want to take it in reverse and say that I'm also a person that subscribes to a whole bunch of online companies. And I think we often treat any company we deal with online like they're a telecom company, like they are your cell phone provider.

Joanna: Like a huge multi-million dollar company.

James: Like how many of us have dealt with Time Warner (Warner Media) or Sprint or something like that where you know you're about to enter into a frustrating conversation so you almost start off rude and kind of obnoxious... And I'm guilty of it I'm guilty before I call anyone else out, I'll call myself out. I have gotten on the phone with my telecom communication and I'm ready for an argument. So I'm in a testy mood yet. But what I've learned from being on the other side of that conversation we are not a massive company. We are a team of four people here at Visualmediachurch and Stokhub and sometimes we get people messaging in who are like right ready to explode already and the messages and their church people but they're expecting a deal with us like the deal the telecoms company. People on both sides as, Christians need to remember that we're Christians first too. So if you are a Christian person dealing with people online and online companies always be respectful because your name is also out there as well. And the same side Christian companies deal with people with respect and just try to always take the high road.

Joanna: For me as someone who works on the church side of it it's less business. But what is what you're saying James is true for both sides whether business or church we want to take the high road we want to treat people with honor and respect when they're complaining. Some of those complaints are valid. We need to apologize. We need to fix the thing and we need to give appropriate expectation for when that fix is going to happen. And other times there are people who are acting a little bit more unreasonable or unfairly towards us. That doesn't mean we come in hotheaded. We need to be calm thoughtful and gracious as we respond to all kinds of complaints.