Customer Service Blues

Customer Service Blues BannerIt’s not in my nature to complain about everything, but it seems as each year goes by that one has to complain vigorously to get things corrected.  And that’s a shame.  The professional world has really taken a nose dive and the only way one can fight back is to try and turn this trend around by pushing off the mantle of apathy and complain.  And that’s no guarantee that bad business or work ethics will  improve – it may only solve your problem leaving another to experience the same misery of incompetence.  An example of this is my friend had to switch from using Walmart’s pharmacy because they kept mixing his Thyroid medication with stray Ambien tablets.  If I recall correctly, I think one of the Kennedy family members had to go to court concerning the results of such a mix up.

Now my problem is no where near that important, but it follows the same line of thought that…. if it doesn’t affect me, why should I care?  That’s someone else’s job.  I am not responsible.  I’ll just do enough to get by and be paid…..

This is a letter that I wrote to the President of Daniel Smith, Inc., and I wanted to share my frustration.  This is a blog mostly about art and creativity, so my problem does and could affect other artists.  And I am going from the point of view that if we don’t say something, nothing will improve.  I am hoping that Daniel Smith with improve.  (Please note that I have removed the names of people to be considerate.)

Dear Mr. ___  ______,                                                                                        January 9, 2015

I am writing to you because I am disappointed, which is a first for me with the Daniel Smith company and its products and services. I am a long time customer as well as my Mom. We used to order items out of the catalogue during the late 80’s and 90’s.

tubes of DSS paintLet me first set the stage as to why I am disappointed. About a year ago I bought myself some of the Daniel Smith paints that fall under the Luminescent line. I wanted to be adventurous and try something different. And as you can see by the photo, I bought a large assortment of paint. I bought different kinds to see how it would work. Now some of them I found more useful than others. The pearl colored ones that required layering were not as effective as I had hoped, but I made the choice to try them.

jars of ds paintThen I had a friend who gave me jars of this paint, which I really enjoyed using. He did not like it and knew that I was an acrylic only painter, so he wanted me to have them. One thing I notice about this paint was that I could clearly see what it looked like from the see through jar containers. No more experimenting. I knew what I would be receiving since I had already used this kind of paint in this kind of container.

So when I decided to treat myself to some more painting supplies and I saw the sale that Daniel Smith was having, I decided I wanted more jars of this kind of paint. So when I selected the Luminescent paint choices, I wanted the jars due to the good experience I had with them. All three of the jars of paint I selected all showed colored paint through the container walls. I did that so that I would not be confused about what I was ordering. These pictures below show clearly what the paint looked like just like the ones I had been given. I knew what to expect. (These pictures and text were taken off your website during the first part of January this year when I made my order.)

DS jar Lilac
Interference Lilac 4oz Jar, DANIEL SMITH Luminescent Acrylic
Our Luminescent Acrylics include three types of unique colors: Interference, Iridescent and Pearlescent pigments-all made with the same care and emphasis on quality as our other Daniel Smith products. …

DS jar Oceanic
Duochrome Oceanic 4oz Jar, DANIEL SMITH Luminescent Acrylic
Our Luminescent Acrylics include four types of unique colors: Interference, Iridescent, Pearlescent and Duochrome pigments-all made with the same care and emphasis on quality as our other Daniel Smith products. …

The jar clearly showing purple in color as shown on your website arrived as a jar of the pearl colored paint with the same label. It was not what I wanted. I actually avoided purchasing anything that I was unsure about because I did not want any more of the pearl layering paint. The picture below clearly shows that the received product does not match the item on the website. But if you look at the following picture of the green paint, “Oceanic”, it does match the item presented on the website.

DS LilacDS Oceanic

When I contacted your company about this, your sales representative, ___ ____, took the attitude that she did not sincerely care about my disappointment. No offers to exchange the product and no explanation as to why the picture did not match the product sent. Why would you show a purple jar when it is clearly not a purple jar of paint? I asked her if she actually looked at the website page. She did not respond to my question. I really don’t think she cared. All she did was send me the RA number that I requested. Her response really made me feel undervalued and as if she thought I was stupid for not understanding the text explaining about the paint. By the way, I am not the only one who has found those descriptions less than illuminating. I explained to her that a visual arts medium really should be shown clearly as to what it is in a visual manner. After all, painters are visual artists that communicate visually. (Also, I did not mention that I suffer from the reading handicap known as dyslexia, which is why I also rely on the correct visual representation as well.)

The final result is that I will have to pay to return a product that I think was incorrectly advertised, which is not good customer service – it’s almost bait and switch. I am losing money on this deal, which negates the sale prices that had encouraged me to purchase from Daniel Smith in the first place. So I guess I am stuck with the jar of paint that I did not want.

Why not photograph the actual jar of paint? Why put up a misleading photo?

What would I have liked to have happened with my interaction with Daniel Smith concerning this situation? I will answer that.

A response from a representative from the company that would have cared a bit more and offer a solution like: “Would you like to return or exchange the product for another one? We do have a jar of Luminescent paint that would fit that photo better. I will make sure that the website team fixes that confusing picture. It’s obviously incorrect. I would not want other customers to have this same experience. Please send the one you don’t like back and we shall exchange it for one you do like.”

I think that is just good customer service. It’s also a way to retain repeat customers.

So this is the reason why I am disappointed with Daniel Smith. Like so many companies in this modern age and important infrastructural institutions, there is a growing lack of pride in one’s work. No one cares about doing an excellent job any more, the Microsoft Windows 8 OS system is prime example of that. Please don’t become like all the other places where passing the buck on to another for responsibility is the normal operation.

There was a reason why I wanted to purchase art products from Daniel Smith, and now I am left wondering if that is such a good idea for the future.

Most sincerely,
Gretchen Winkler
CC: Observation Post 42 blog

G. Winkler ©2015




Gretchen Winkler is a Writer, Artist, Radio Show Co-Host on User Friendly 2.0, Cosplayer/Designer, and ordered Knight. She is currently working on several Star Wars novel projects and does editing and proof reading for Bill Sikkens & KPAM the Answer Portland radio. For the past 20 years she has authored several informational websites, started several technical companies, and has been an avid student of art, literature, history, technology.

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Posted in Art, Business, Culture

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