December 2, 2008

Speak N Spell Music’s Customer Service Sucks

Posted in Music tagged , , , at 10:23 pm by Andrew McMillen

There’s a band called The Zillions, who’re led by ex-Sidewinder frontman Nick Craft.

I’ve read some good things about their music, so I want to buy their album. 

I looked at JB Hi Fi Online and found that I could order it for $19.99. But since they’re a small band on an independent label named Speak N Spell Music, I thought I’d try buying it directly.

I browsed to the label’s online store and found that the only Zillions release listed was an EP.

Frustrated, but still intent on purchasing directly from the label, I sent this email to the contact address nominated in the page header:

Hi,

Here’s the deal: I want to buy the Zillions album online and I’d rather purchase from you guys than JB Hi Fi. 

The album is not listed for sale in the store (http://www.speaknspellmusic.com/store/).

How quickly can you make this happen? I can pay for the album via credit card, PayPal or direct deposit and would like to have it in my possession this week.

I’m in Brisbane.

Thanks,

Andrew

It’s been two full business days since I sent that email on November 30. I’m yet to receive a response.

So, why is this a big deal?

  1. I went out of my way to buy directly from the label, not a franchised record store
  2. The label hasn’t updated their web store with an album that’s been available for almost a month
  3. The label is unresponsive to a direct sales enquiry
  4. The label is not satisfying a potential customer
  5. The potential customer is now sharing his negative sales experience with the world

There’s a disconnect within Speak N Spell Music’s organisational structure. Nobody is responding to their primary online sales point of contact.

A shame, because I’d really like to hear that album.

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13 Comments

  1. Sophie said,

    This is not an excuse on their behalf, but the wording of your email to them makes you sound like a pushy dick. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  2. Point taken. I’m still a music fan presenting a sales opportunity, though.

  3. Nick Drewe said,

    Yeah, only last night we were discussing at work how annoying pushy customers are and how those customers tend to get left to the end of the que. Actual examples discussed included customers that began their emails with “Listen…” and “Here’s the deal…”

    Unfortunately, your email probabbly sounded a lot nicer in your head when you were writing it. I’d give it another day or two.

  4. This Devil's Workday said,

    Something I’ve learnt in the past few years is that many, many e-mail addresses are dead ends. Particularly ones intended for people to enquire about general information. I might also be accused of ageism here, but I’ve found that smaller companies run by older people are often inaccessible via e-mail. I e-mailed my old boss six months ago and never received a response – I’m not offended, because I genuinely think he doesn’t know how to access his mail.

    As for these comments about you being rude, I found you were more to the point than rude. Besides, it’s a business transaction, and it’s sad to say but it’s true, the onus of friendliness is on the company, not the customer. I very much doubt they’ve ignored your e-mail due to its tone. My guess is no-one is at the receiving end, or it’s some part-timer at a front desk who has no idea what to do about it.

  5. Chris said,

    Hi Andrew.

    I work at Speak n Spell. Go and buy the record here.

    http://www.inertia-music.com

    As for the rest of what is written above, your email was rude, and responded to late due to the sea of spam we receive every day.

    Good luck with your work at Fasterlouder and Rave Magazine.

    Cheers,
    Chris.

  6. Ed said,

    I wouldn’t have said that your email was rude, just straight to the point. I wouldn’t even have said that the wording sounded pushy, just eager to get the album and help out a indie by dealing with them directly and give them a bigger cut of the money than if you’d gone through JB.

    And if I worked for Speak n Spell I wouldn’t be telling a customer that they were rude (even if they were) and especially not in a public place like this. “The customer is always right”, no?

  7. Agreed, Ed. I’m really disappointed.

  8. Chris said,

    Hi there Andrew,

    We’re certainly not in the business of upsetting fans of our artists and their music – and we’re not eager to start that trend. My apologies for the above.

    As an indie we definitely value people that are getting into our albums – of course, without that support at the ground level the label just wouldn’t have an audience.

    We love having people email us regarding our music – especially if they are keen to grab a copy. That’s why we do it, for our bands to be heard by as many people as possible.

    With regards to emails to our address, there’s no better way to get a gauge on how what we are doing is connecting out there beyond the Speak n Spell front door.
    However we do receive a tonne of emails to the Clubhouse address – but we like to think we do our very best to get to each and every email and the requests in them as soon as possible.
    It is certainly not a dead-end mail, nor has it ever been a case of ignoring mails for their content or tone.

    Take care
    Chris

  9. Meg said,

    Besides, how many labels will read your blog AND sell you music? 😀

  10. tallrussian said,

    Not many!

  11. Ashley said,

    Let’s put this in context. You have gone to their website to make a purchase, can’t find the item you need….. so the next best option is to send an abrupt and pushy email. It just wasn’t necessary dude. At least not on the first contact with them.
    If you were so extremely keen and enthusiastic about making the purchase from the label, and felt your email wasn’t being attended to, why didn’t you pick up the phone and call them? Turns out your more interested in stirring the pot and therefore providing your blog with more content, then you are in actually making the purchase and solving your problem.

  12. What Ashley said.We’re all guilty of it.

  13. Nick said,

    Hmm, not that it matters anymore but your first email was a genuine lead and as excited as it was pushy.

    If I was a label I wouldn’t be turning away paying customers for ‘rudeness’ and wouldn’t be calling them out for it on their own blog.

    It was definitely good they followed up after that – they are such a great label – but I’m with you on this one Andrew.


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