First Coffee for July 15, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for July 15, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Sony’s compilation Pop Music: The Golden Era, 1951-1975 released in 1999. Nice variety of artists from Frank Sinatra to LaBelle, Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan:

First CoffeeSM’s post on what terrible customer service online retailer provides gets another assent from yet another screwed-over customer.

Frankly First CoffeeSM’s wondering whether terrible customer service provided by such companies is a concern of or not. It’s time to find out.

Because it’s one thing to report on Customer Relationship Management news and issues, and offer insights and pointers on good customer service, that’s great and First CoffeeSM likes doing that, but there are times when something needs to be done in the real world, and it’s time for to do something about

It started when promised a fictitious ship-by date on a CD First CoffeeSM mild-mannered reporter alter ego ordered from Their customer “service” afterwards was insulting, canned and rude, so it made a great article, Three Ways To Lose Customers.

Reader Greg Veeser wrote in to say yup, same thing happened to me. Another reader wrote in to say she was jerked around, treated shabbily and rudely by S Bagby wrote to say ignored their ship-by date – a common practice with them, evidently – and let him know they didn’t care. Here’s a thread on E6 Townhall showing the truth behind’s claims about what they have in stock.

On the site itself burned customers show how promises one thing and ships another. Another sadder but wiser online buyer says “Note: DO NOT BUY FROM CAIMAN.cOM… they are a huge hassel. I ordered two of these from them and they couldnt get the order right even after 8 emails and 3 months.” And pity poor Lacie, who made the mistake of ordering from

Again, the point is not to be perfect. Nobody’s perfect – not, First CoffeeSM not any online retailer. The point is a) to be truthful about what you have and when you can ship it, and b) when customers complain, be clear and courteous in resolving their problem. That’s what should be doing that they’re not doing.

Lu is but the latest victim of to write to First CoffeeSM. “I got little comfort from hearing that I’m not the only one who has experienced the terrible service from Caiman,” Lu writes. “Please find below the exchange from Caiman after we have been trying for MONTHS to get hold of one CD for my boss – I think this will speak for itself. Amazon should have nothing to do with these guys when the customer service is this poor.”

Here’s Lu’s first e-mail:

RE: CD to be purchased, Order Date: 31 Mar 2005

Dear Sir/Madam,

Despite ordering this item a few months back, we are yet to receive the item. Please could you let me know the status of this order?

Kind regards,

And’s canned reply:

Dear Customer,

We regret to inform you that at this time, the item XXXXX you ordered is in back order. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to ship. If you wish, we can cancel your order or keep it open. Please let me know. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Lu sends back a nice e-mail saying “please keep our order alive thanks – (would appreciate updates if the items take longer than a couple of weeks yet to ship.)” responds “Thank you for your patience. We will continue to process your order until further notice.”

All very nice. Then, weeks later, this from Lu:

Well, I think you have had more than 2 to 3 weeks on this now – please can you tell me the REAL status of my order,

Thank you,’s incomprehensible response:

Dear Customer,

Per your request, we have canceled your order:

We are processing a refund immediately but it can take up to 72 hours to have it complete. We apologize for the inconvenience.


What? Lu’s bewildered e-mail back:

Dear Caiman,

I never asked for this order to be cancelled - I just wanted the CD - what are you people doing?

Get your act together and tell me if it is possible to get this CD or not - I have been waiting on this order since MARCH, and what’s more, I had no idea that you had charged me BEFORE you even knew if you could get the item!

If you don’t give me a pertinent and clear explanation of your actions, I will be calling both your boss and Amazon to tell them all about the quality of service that you guys are giving your customers.

Your extremely angry customer,

And’s effort to placate their customer and save the relationship:

Dear Customer,

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.

There. Dear Customer: Screw you, idiot. It’s your fault for trying to do business with weasels like us. Sincerely,

First CoffeeSM’s gotten more than one complaint about from readers after telling of his own terrible experience with this thoroughly untrustworthy company – their “thanks for your patience” followed by “we’ve cancelled your order” e-mail diptych is the same one reader Greg Veeser reported.

First CoffeeSM is going to send these customer complaints to the appropriate person at Amazon and see if we can improve the overall customer service at If needs to be dumped over the side to protect the integrity of the “In Stock” claims other vendors make, and to maintain the reputation of itself, so be it. CRM in real life.

Because if jerks like are allowed to operate with impunity on, why should we trust any of their vendors?

We’ll keep you posted on whether or not customer service is a priority with or not.

By the way, anybody else having trouble with, call ‘em up: (305) 262-4973 or send a fax to (305) 468-3892.

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1 Comment

Caiman sent me a used music CD in a cracked case. Not what was advertised. No response to requests to refund or replace.
Never buy from this awful place. t

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