What our helpdesk does (plus reading 101)

Did you know that most of the helpdesk cases we get have absolutely nothing to do with our products?

Once you rule out the Nigerian fraudsters, free product requests, and those who want us to sell our packaging separately … what type cases does the helpdesk desk get most?

Well there are two definitions of “most” : the most cases and the most time.

As far as ‘the most cases’ it would be address changes or date changes. A lot of people ‘catch’ address errors after they place an order or find out later that the recipient will not be home on that day. We’d much rather deal with these types of changes before the order hits the factory floor than deal with the messy aftermath if the changes are not made in time.

Occasionally we need to reship or refund and those type cases are handled during the business week, it’s rare but happens most often when we are overwhelmed with a major holiday: people who have been working for 20 hours straight make packing mistakes and we refund or re-ship as warranted.

Now the other side of the coin are the functionally illiterate (those special few that don’t understand basic of business hours, the days of the week, or calendars)

Here is an example:

A person places an order after business hours on a Wednesday night and selects the first available delivery date which is a Friday. Based on the delivery date we make the product when we reopen the next day (Thursday) and give it to FedEx/UPS that night, keep in mind that the order was placed after business hours on Wednesday night.

The product is made and shipped as scheduled and delivered on the date selected during checkout. As shown below:

Delivered on time and on schedule

Delivered on time and on schedule

FedEx picks the package up on Thursday and it is delivered, as requested, on Friday.

Being functionally illiterate, the person who placed the order and selected the delivery date said it was not delivered overnight, he ignored the delivery date on the screen, the confirmation screen, his order confirmation email, and shipped email. The package was delivered on the date he requested.

Nothing in the world is going to get a package delivered before the delivery date selected because, for freshness reasons, we don’t start making it until the day we give it to FedEx/UPS. Perishable products have to be shipped with overnight service because if we shipped them with ‘ground’ nationwide it would take several days to arrive and be a melted/rotten mess. For that reason every perishable shipment, no matter how far in advance it is ordered are made and sent so that they should arrive the day after we give it to FedEx/UPS. It is not that complicated.

Some people don’t understand this, but after a while you realize that there are some people who leave ice cream in a car’s trunk for a few hours and then blame the grocery store. Those helpdesk cases are the ones that consume the most time, some people read and learn but a select few are unable to understand the basics, they are the ones who eventually reverse the gift cards when sending packages to both their wife and girlfriends, we let Darwin thin them out, but if they are exceedingly rude we do block them from the site as it’s not fair to the staff or other customers to have our people deal with them when they could be doing something productive.

Helpdesk cases are also handled on a business day basis, like all businesses we have hours that we are opened and closed. It’s just like when you leave a voicemail at a company that is closed for the day: you would not expect an answer until the business reopens on the next business day. Since FedEx/UPS do not have Sunday pickups or deliveries our business days are Monday through Friday: the actual days we can make and ship things for next day delivery. Occasionally our staff will answer some after hours or weekend helpdesk cases from home, it’s entirely up to them, it’s not required, and they do it on their own time.

For some requests special authorizations are needed: clearance from the factory floor or refund/reship authorizations have to be approved/processed and those only happen during the business week. Since the banks and carriers are closed on the weekends this actually does not slow anything down. The functionally illiterate don’t understand this and expect that we are going to bring in everybody (and open the banks/FedEx/UPS) just for them, it’s just not the way the world works. Unreasonable expectations are one of the hallmarks of someone who just does not respect other people’s time or normal business operations. These are the people that every sane business would run away from, you see them on the internet trashing companies, exaggerating their order value and basically ignoring the real world. Darwin normally takes care of them. Out of the thousands of customers we deal with each year only a few functional illiterates actually place orders, most end up going with the “easy saver” companies  which is just fine with us.

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