>2. Is it good customer service?
Depends if you are a customer or not.
I usually don't send them.
Sometimes the site was badly categorized, in which case I let it languish until I'm bored enough to figure out where to put it. Other times I'll send them a personal email telling them what to fix. But most of the time its people submitting completely off-topic links. Like submitting realtors to a roller coaster directory. These people obviously chose to ignore multiple notes that only directly related sites would be considered. They often submit under multiple categories. They're not being polite or considerate, so I feel little obligation. If they're persistent I might send a note, but haven't found it has much effect on stopping them, if they even gave a valid email address.
When I believe someone is making an honest effort I will always send them a note or find a way to include them.
I always send a letter of acceptance providing they have used a real e-mail address. As far as letters of decline go, I stopped some time ago due to the comments and email arguments that can go on for a week. The time is better spent getting quality submissions submitted. Itís not a popular policy but you would have to see some of the mail back to understand it. The verbal abuse can be unbelievable.
Once you stopped sending out the rejection e-mails, people stopped sending you hate e-mails?
Not a single hate mail since we stopped sending them. I donít mind them myself but I have editors who have take it seriously, one in particular who left the office crying and never even came back even for her pay check.
I worked in customer service for a number of years and Iím used to getting my back side ripped out. Most disgruntled webmasters use the 800 number now and I take all those calls myself.
Personally, I always prefer to know where I stand when submitting a site. If I am accepted, then its great and can move on. If not - I would like to know that the application was received, considered and rejected. Otherwise - I may still wrongly assume that it wasn't yet looked at. Such uncertainty was my experience with DMOZ for a while, until I discovered their Forum, where Metas were extremely helpful and forthcoming.
Perhaps because of the personal preference above, we (Gimpsy) ALWAYS send emails, both rejections and approvals. However, people submitting for free do not have to provide an email address at all, so they do not get any emails.
Sure, we do get abusive emails from time to time, but surprisngly few, considering the relatively high percentage of rejections. I would like to think that this is due to the very explicit and verbose instructions and explanations on site, which allow anyone who is interested, to learn more and ascertain what will be accepted and what not. Moreover, every rejection is accompanied by an explicit and detailed explanation, so people would know why they were rejected. We also state that if the issue will be corrected - they can submit again. Amazingly, we also get 'thank you' emails from rejected applicants, for pointing out what was missing on their site...
Is that 'good customer service'? We would like to think so :)
Thatís very good service at Gimpsy.
I forgot to mention we do give explanations for declines with paid submissions. Since we refund in full declined paid submissions they get an explanation with the refund. If we wrote a detailed explanation to all the free submissions we would have to greatly increase the manpower or the free submission waiting time would be greatly increased. Considering the volume of paid submissions is very low the increase in labor would not be feasible so in the long run the webmaster that reads and complies with the submission guidelines would pay for the ones who do not in a prolonged wait to get reviewed. They can always call the 800 number and find out the status of their submission and many do use it.
So, for free submissions no rejection e-mail because of the possible consequences of hate mail. For paying customers a rejection e-mail with an explanation. I guess that makes sense. But, if your refunding the customer doesn't that make it equal to a free submission?
The way I see it is that the directory is offering the service. Free or not it's still a service that's provided to a customer. Shouldn't that person still get some type of customer service even if it's free. It's the directories' choice to offer it.
The reason I asked the question at the beginning of this thread is because I own a directory and I'm just trying to get a feel of what the customers think of when they get a rejection e-mail. Do they consider it good customer service or do they just get aggravated and think very negatively of the directory.
In my rejection e-mails I state that the reason for the rejection was probably because the guidelines weren't followed. I then tell them that they could respond to the e-mail or post a question in our support forum as to why it was rejected . I can't personalize all of them because of the volume of submissions that are received.
I would like to hear comments from people who are not owners of directories and find out what they think of a rejection e-mail. This will help me decide if I should stop sending rejection e-mails.
So far it hasn't been bad I only received one angry e-mail out of all the ones that were sent out.
|So far it hasn't been bad I only received one angry e-mail out of all the ones that were sent out. |
If I was offereing a free service, that would be one to many.
I guess it all depends who you think the customer is.
I know at DMOZ, the "customer"/user is generally considered the downstream user of the database. Those submitting sites are not considered "customers" or users. If someone is not a custmer, then they should expect no service.
I'll sometimes email the webmaster of a declined website if it could be fixed easily. eg. by adding a bricks and mortar address when a Regional listing has been requested.
Of course, some submitters deliberately avoid giving a working email so they never know. I suppose they must have a reason that seems logical to them :).