If you’re an online entrepreneur, chances are you’ve heard the term ‘6-figure business’ before.
And, depending on where you are in your own business, you’ve either signed up in hopes of achieving it, or, are currently using it as a way to get people to sign up for your products and/or services.
But, a word of caution…this term could cost you more than you think, and using it doesn’t guarantee anything.
A few months ago, I came across an entrepreneur selling a product that I was super excited about. I had never purchased from this person before, nor did I really know much about him, so I did a little digging. Turned out he was pretty successful; a self-professed ‘six-figure’ entrepreneur, as it were. I felt it prudent to check out his teaching style. I jumped on his email list, signed up for a few webinars, and when the opportunity arose to grab his product, I clicked the ‘purchase now’ button, without hesitation.
The product was a program designed to ‘propel your podcast into six-figures’, focusing on the monetization of podcasting. As a producer of podcasts, my focus is typically on content and flow, so, I was really interested in learning more information to help my clients with this second phase of podcasting. While doing my research on this entrepreneur, I noticed he marketed his podcast successfully, and was making money with it, so, this made me think – ‘Ok! He’s got a method. Let’s see how it’s done!’
After signing up, I got an email saying that it was going to be a little bit before the product was ready. This happens on occasion, where you pre-order something before the actual product is ready, so waiting a little bit to get my hands on the information didn’t bother me too much. It wasn’t until 3-months passed, and I still didn’t have anything in hand, that I thought it was time to reach out, and see what was up. After all, perhaps I had missed an email, or an update. As entrepreneurs we can get busy, and perhaps there was a snag in the production timeline.
I received a reply to my inquiry that said ‘it was almost ready and that it was going to be bigger and better than ever, and that I was lucky to have purchased it at such a low rate.’ I was a little skeptical, and quite frankly put off by the fact that I was told I was “lucky”, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and continued to wait patiently.
Then, 5-month mark came, and went. An update was finally sent out how there was an intro video to what the modules were going to be about, and that the ‘full program would be coming in a couple of weeks.’ I was a little upset, at this point, being that I had waited 5-months for information, and now felt like I was still being stalled. So, I decided to request a refund, which was met by another email telling me ‘how I really needed to reconsider because this price was going to be triple if I decided to change my mind later.’
Fine. I decided to just let it go, after all, I had invested this much time, what’s a few more days? Right?
[x_pullquote type=”right”]Just because a person boasts about ‘making 6-figures’, doesn’t mean their quality of service is deserving of 6-figures.[/x_pullquote]At the 6-month marker, I was done. I sent another email, deciding this whole thing was a scam, and told him exactly how this whole experience made me feel. I pretty much had written off the money, and clicked ‘unsubscribe’ on all his emails, chalking it up to a lesson learned. I just couldn’t handle seeing his other emails anymore because all I kept thinking every time I would get one was – ‘did you get to six figures by robbing people?’
It just felt terrible, all around.
[bctt tweet=”If you boast a 6-figure business, you should have 6-figure worthy customer service.” username=”freshtakepro”]
I then received an email with some information about the product (funny how those show up after stern, ‘I want my money back’ emails, eh? I open the email, and was met with a really short, three lined statement about an intro video, and modules that were in a Google Drive folder. The product…good grief…
Well, I might as well see what all this time and headache has yielded, huh? I click play, and watch the video. He starts out explaining about how long it had taken, and how only ‘two’ people had requested refunds (which was a really odd thing to include, I thought…if only two, then, not worth mentioning, no? Clearly, it was WAY more than two, otherwise you wouldn’t mention it in an intro video to your course…but, whateves…). He then proceeds to say that the podcast modules included are missing two big elements… the two of which were the most important, as they were about how to actually monetize your podcast. They weren’t ready yet, and, he didn’t know when they would be. Oy…where does this guy come from?
The whole reason for the course was for precisely that purpose! I was left dumbfounded. He concludes the intro video by saying ‘if you still want to refund, you can get one, but eventually we will have those two other modules, and the price will be higher.’ But again, there is no direct timeline – it was just something ‘that he’ll do eventually’. Yes. Those were the the exact words.
Out of sheer curiosity, I opened up the Google Drive modules, and discovered that they were just little videos of him sitting at his desk talking about how he puts together his podcast. Within the videos, he referenced checklists and resources that he apparently forgot to attach to any of the modules. So, basically I paid for videos with a little bit of information that I couldn’t even really use since none of the corresponding learning assets were given.
For arguments sake, I sent an email asking about the assets…perhaps they were in a different folder…? Nope. I was told ‘they aren’t ready, and will be upsells once ready’. And that was when I laughed out loud…what other option was there?
To say the experience left me flabbergasted would be an understatement. But, I wouldn’t say it was time wasted…why? It taught me some extremely valuable lessons.
Not all 6-figure businesses are created equal.
Boasting 6-figure achievements does not equate qualifications to teaching others how to.
The name of the game really is about communication.
Customer service can make or break your business relationships.
Do what you say. Always.
Suffice it to say, I received my refund. It was short, concise, and sans-apology. But then again, I didn’t expect one. I consider myself a pretty patient person, and would’ve walked away feeling ok with the delay, had he communicated more truthfully about his process. Instead, I was left to feel dismissed and lied to…never a pleasant thing.
In the online world, the launch process has been executed a few different ways, and his method to ‘launch before ready’ is one that is done often. However, there are some key elements to launching that need to be in place before you start ‘selling before ready’;
You should have your full concepts flushed out.
You should have a specific timeline to when your deliverables will be ready, and be sure to stick to your schedule.
You should be upfront about when the product will be available, and should something happen to offset it, COMMUNICATE.
That’s really it. Communication is vital to EVERY relationship, and nothing kills trust faster than not following through on what you’ve promised, especially when people have trusted you enough to give you their hard earned money.
What lessons have you learned from your own customer service experiences? Have you ever had to ask for a refund? What was the reason? Have you changed any of your own methods when dealing with customers? Share your experiences by commenting below!
Until next time,