Let me tell you a little secret: Every now and then, I curse my customers. OK, it’s not really a secret, probably. I think the neighbors can hear it when I do. But that’s the way it is. I curse them.
I curse them because I care.
You see, now that I am a self-publisher, for the full 100%, I am directly responsible for everything related to my books. No matter what the problem is, I have to fix it. With my new book, I don’t have a global publishing empire running the show on behalf of me. I am the global publishing empire.
Who gets to pay double shipping fees when a customer makes a mistake in his shipping address? Me.
Who deals with all the begging for special treatment, including requests for signed books, extra goodies, and free copies? Me.
Who deals with the administrative hassle of unpaid invoices, incorrect bank transfers, and procurement bureaucracy? Me.
Who is figuring out how to ship a thousand books to the US so that Amazon can offer customers their beloved “free” shipping? Me!
Who gets to answer all the emails from people (mostly Germans) moaning and bitching about shipping fees? Me.
It all comes down to me.
It’s true. The needs of customers can drive me nuts, sometimes. And then I sometimes curse them. Is it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely! Because, you know, who gets the compliments when things (finally, after a bit of stress) work exactly as I want them to? Hey, that would be me!
For example, since last week, I started verifying the delivery addresses that people give me, just before I ship their orders. I do that because a good number of idiots customers don’t know how to properly set their delivery address in PayPal. This has caused too many packages being sent back to me, which is a waste of people’s time and (my) money. So, now I ask: “Can you double-check your address, please?” It’s amazing how many people catch an error in their own address, when I simply ask.
Yesterday, I received this message from one of my readers:
“Thanks for taking care that much. Feels good to be your customer.”
Yup, I care. I curse my customers because I care about them properly receiving what they asked for. I wish more vendors did that. So often, I notice that others don’t really care. Just this week, I asked a question of my Internet provider. And now, several days later, I still don’t have a reply. How difficult can it be to answer a question? I’d much rather see that they curse me for the stupidity of my question (though I don’t necessarily need to hear that) and then answer it. For God’s sake!