Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Customer (dis)satisfaction

I know all I've been talking about lately is making jewelry, but apart from going to work, that's pretty much all I've been doing. Well, and taxes and some freelance web design stuff. I guess what I mean is that all my leisure time, what there is of it, has been taken up with making stuff. Which I love.

Last night I made cell phone charms with gargoyles!

Over the weekend I made mostly earrings, with a few cell phone charms. I really loved the silver bee/dragonfly one at upper left -- it sold almost immediately, and I had to track down a new silver charm on eBay so I could make one for myself.

As for what I've been doing the rest of the time the last few days, I'm really annoyed at TaxCut. That's the tax program I've been using for years. Last year, they stopped producing the Mac version, and I had to use the online service. This year, responding to customer request, they started making a Mac version again. It had a couple of glitches, but nothing major, and I finished up on Sunday and tried to e-file.

Like most of the tax programs, when you buy it, the e-file fee is included in the purchase price, either as a rebate (which is what they've done in the past, as I recall), or a coupon code that you enter when you file (which is what they did this year).

I went through the question-and-answer "interview," but when I pressed the "file" button, it acted like it was going to send, then just did . . . nothing. It flipped me back to the first question. At first I thought maybe I'd done something wrong, or pressed the wrong button, so I tried it again, with the same result. I still thought I must be doing something wrong, but when I did it very carefully for the third time, and nothing happened, I went to the support section of their website.

I fairly quickly found a "FAQ" about the Mac version describing exactly what had happened to me. It said that this occurred in the Mac version when trying to file using the coupon code. The "solution" was to double-check the coupon code and be sure you were entering it correctly, which I had, of course, done, but I did it again. It was exactly the code that had been sent to to me in the email.

So I called the support desk on Monday morning and got someone who told me I needed to have a browser window open. This made no sense to me, since the program isn't running in a browser, so I called back again, getting a different person, and the same answer. I ran it by one of the programmers here, who said it didn't really make sense that it would need to be done that way, but it was theoretically possible that by opening a browser window you were allowing the program to use the browser to make the server connection.

So when I got home that night, I tried it, to no avail. I tried opening Safari, Firefox and IE, and nothing worked. So, seeing that one of the circumstances causing the problem was the coupon code, I removed the code and put in my credit number, and then it worked. It cost me $30.00 for the federal and state returns, but it worked.

But I shortly got an email message that my return had been rejected. When you e-file, in order to prove you are who you say you are, you have to plug in your AGI from the previous year, which I had gotten from my TaxCut records (the line in last year's report that said "AGI" -- I thought that was safe) was wrong. I dug out the actual copy of the tax return, and the AGI was different. So I fixed it, e-filed again, and, apparently, had to PAY again.

I haven't even bothered trying to call them yet. I figure maybe I will in a couple of days. And I'll watch for my American Express bill, and if they did charge me twice, I'll dispute it.

The only good thing out of the experience (besides getting a refund) was that after I called tech support, they sent me a customer satisfaction survey. I gave them zeros all the way down. It felt good.

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Maggie said...

"I gave them zeros all the way down. It felt good."

LOL! Yes, I give zero's to any company that messes up too, and it does feel great. :-)

Any chance of you putting up a picture of how your mobile phone charms attach to the phone? I know it's a long way off, but I thought they might make nice stocking presents for my daughers come Xmas.... They are both grown up, but still get a "stocking" (actually a pillow case) every Xmas, so I usually try and assemble bits and pieces for them over the year. It works OK if I can remember where I stashed the stuff! ;-)

Presume you'd be OK mailing to UK?

Best wishes from sunny Liverpool

Sylvia said...

Your daughters would love the charms, Maggie. I just got mine (custom made!) today. Willa packages them in a little chiffon bag with a pretty! And the charm itself is delicate and beautiful.

Willa said...

I'm glad you liked yours, Sylvia! :)

And I did mean to mention that I will do custom ones, so if you have specific requests for colors, charms, etc., I can make them to your specifications.

Willa said...

FYI, if anyone lands here and reads the rant about TaxCut, please be sure to read my follow-up. They made it right.

Anonymous said...

i recently started making jewelry again (bracelets), and when a customer (i work retail) commented on how much she'd like one i started thinking about etsy. is it easy to use? i've never sold any of the items i've made before, so i wouldn't even know what to charge. how do you figure these things out?

Anonymous said...

by the way, i'd like to know what you think of the bracelet in question. i started an album with a few pictures of it both here
and here.

Willa said...

Yes, Etsy is really easy to use -- you're pretty much walked through every step. They charge twenty cents to list something, then they get a small percentage of the selling price. Payment is handled through PayPal. and they take a percentage also.

As far as what to charge, I think you just have to look at other stuff that's up there that might be similar, and use that as a starting point. You have to take into account your material cost, of course, and also your labor cost -- how long it takes you to make a piece. Plus the cost of your packaging materials.

There are a lot of forums at Etsy about pricing, it would be worthwhile to take a look at them.

Your bracelet is great! I love the coins.