Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Pattern

(Actually, the person I learned that from said “Third time is enemy action”. But thats neither here nor there.)

Recently, I’ve had a number of customers who have had some difficulty with receiving their registration keys, which are automatically emailed to them when they complete the transaction. The page they are redirected to states this pretty clearly, and also states what they’ll need to do in case they don’t receive the email (contact support@ etc). I had been expecting to deal with one or two of these mails a month. My first arrived two weeks ago.

Then I got another this week, only when I attempted to respond to it my @bingocardcreator.com address got bounced by an incredibly restrictive school district spammed firewall (505 — “This message will be archived and *may* be presented to the recipient”, surely one of the least informative error messages of all time). I ended up having to use my @college.edu account to try to ensure delivery of the registration key she hadn’t gotten. Strike two.

Then today, I woke up to You’ve Got Money (1 sale on a Saturday is a very good Saturday given my target market) and… wait a minute, didn’t this gentleman already purchase from me? A quick check of paypal records said, yep, he had bought Bingo Card Creator from a different email address 48 hours ago. I can imagine a couple of reasons for doing that: the first is being conscientious about licensing and needing a new copy for whatever purpose, the second is “Maybe my transaction didn’t go through, I never got that email with my code”. Thats obviously a critical event for me to catch because if I don’t I’ll be humming along happily to myself until about a month from now and then BLAMMO double chargeback to my Paypal account. So I sent him an email asking which of the two it was.

If its the first one, I’m going to retroactively credit him $6 because I do have a purchasing-in-bulk discount. (If this ever happens to you, trust me on this, aside from being the right thing to do this is the right call from a business perspective. Every additional copy of my software sold is free money. A customer who has already demonstrated their willingness to purchase *two* copies from you, on different days no less, has a huge likelihood to purchase a third, which will pay for that $6 discount 3 times over. And the jawdroppingly excellent customer service you’ve just provided them makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside and likely to drive a fourth, fifth, seventy-second purchase along your way.)

So in any case I want to rely less on the automated email reaching my customers, which means displaying their registration key inline in my website. This is going to actually take some web programming, which I hate with a burning passion (Perl still gives me hives). But I feel that over the long-run it will decrease customer discomfort and save me time supporting stuff that has nothing to do with the quality of my product.

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5 Comments on “Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Pattern”

  1. Elisha Klein Says:

    How about: maybe you could BCC yourself on the email to make sure it arives ?

  2. Patrick Says:

    To make a long story short, that is an ineffective method for testing whether a mail arrives in someone’s inbox. It will work to see if it ever left the mail server at all, but I’m confident that is not the problem.


  3. […] Patrick McKenzie recrently posted about the various problems he has had with his customers not getting their unlock codes because the spam filters/email servers gobbled them up. […]


  4. Just cited your paraphrase of Ian Fleming. (see second footnote in http://poustman.typepad.com/poustoffice/2006/10/case_study_davi_6.html) Cheers.


  5. Case Study: David Baron, Sacramento Dog Training. Part VII

    At this point, SDT has returned my serve. The ball is in my court. As a customer, will I give them another shot? Or will I just quit the game? As a business trainer, my interest in SDT is scientific.


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