Recently our company got a request from a prospect in the Netherlands. Everyone knows that when doing business globally references are one of the best ways to establish trust. So it was pretty usual for me when this potential customer asked to give him a couple of our references. Since most of our customers are in the USA our references are there as well. Hmm, did I forget to warn the prospect about something? Tada – time difference! Once again he was in Holland and reference in California, and that’s 10 hours of time lag. I only realized the damage this can make once the letter from a prospect came as quite a shock, albeit funny as hell:
I had a very unpleasant experience with your reference MYW Customer. I called him at 16:00 CET, but apparently it was 06:00 over there. Instead of kindly pointing out that it was very early, Mr. MYW Customer immediately starting calling me names and literally told me to ‘f**k off’.
I cannot understand that a president and CEO would behave this way. Therefore, we have decided to remove your organization from our short list.”
It was a stunning surprise for me since MYW Customer is a well-known internet entrepreneur in the area and is always willing to provide as many information to anyone as needed. And despite Americans are much less formal than Europeans I simply could not see our customer swearing at someone for just calling early. So I contacted him on Skype. You will pretty much figure it all out from the Skype chat:
[5:36:19 PM] MYW Customer says: here is the full story
[5:36:27 PM] MYW Customer says: I get a call at 6am
[5:36:31 PM] MYW Customer says: it woke me up
[5:36:37 PM] MYW Customer says: but I did not answer
[5:36:45 PM] MYW Customer says: so I look at the number on my caller id
[5:36:51 PM] MYW Customer says: 6502351014
[5:37:04 PM] MYW Customer says: I googled the number since i did not recognize it
[5:37:14 PM] MYW Customer says: http://phoneowner.info/Number.aspx/6502351014
[5:37:18 PM] MYW Customer says: that was the top result
[5:37:25 PM] MYW Customer says: then the guy calls back
[5:37:44 PM] MYW Customer says: I assume he is an identity theive, or atleast a telemarketer
[5:37:55 PM] MYW Customer says: I told him to suck a c**k and f**k off
[5:38:02 PM] MYW Customer says: he said thank you
[5:38:07 PM] MYW Customer says: and I hung up
[5:38:31 PM] MYW Customer says: send him this skype conversation, tell him I said I am sorry, and tell him to feel free to call me
As you can see by visiting link the reaction was that harsh not as much because of the timing but because of the VoIP hop number. Obviously, our customer was in no mood to give away his social security number or apply for another credit card at 6 AM that morning. Foreign accent of the caller gave our customer a hint to only use simple four-letter words anyone with basic English could understand.
Having existing customer curse at a potential customer – one could probably spend a lifetime trying to arrange it on purpose. However, miss some important details when doing routine marketing work and see sales department’s nightmare come true.