We’ve written on other companies, impressive events and their service before. As writers and designers working hard to give top service to our clients, and as bloggers giving freelancers lessons on improving their own services to gain clients, these experiences are ones we feel teach well.
So gather ’round, my friends. I have a tale to tell you that teaches you how to be a good customer.
Once Upon A Time…
Once upon a time long ago, I needed special effects to ramp up my design work and stand out from the competition. I was just beginning my career, and I wanted to do more with images than what standard Photoshop plugins allowed. I wanted to chrome and glass effects, I wanted dazzling natural effects, and I wanted stunning artistic textures.
I found Flaming Pear, and they offered some good plugins for designers that I still use today – but it wasn’t enough.
Nine years ago, I stumbled into the realm of Alien Skin and felt like I had struck gold. Alien Skin offered a wide range of plugins and bundles like Eye Candy, a bundle to create fur, fire, water, wood, chrome and a bunch of nice effects, all at the click of a button.
Not a day has gone by since then that I haven’t used Alien Skin plugins. That says something right there.
Customer Loyalty Rewarded
This July, Alien Skin released Blow Up, a plugin that enlarges images without losing clarity. No pixilation, no blurring, just a nice, crisp, large image.
I jumped on the plugin because at the time, I believed I would never see any of the images in my graphics library again and had discovered a way to restore some tiny images stored elsewhere back to full size.
I was happy. The plugin worked well. Naturally, I was pleased when Alien Skin’s free upgrade became available. “Oh joy!” I exclaimed, and I rattled off an email along with my receipt to claim my free upgrade.
Oh. Right. The free upgrade was only available for those who bought Blow Up after July 26th. I bought mine on July 15. *sigh*
Well, I sent a follow-up email telling the good people at Alien Skin to ignore my belated request, thanking them for good products and letting them know that I’d spend the $99 for the upgrade because I liked it so much.
When You Are Heard
An hour later, the phone rang. “Hi, I’m Jim from Alien Skin. You seem like such a nice guy and could have been a jerk with your email, but you weren’t, so we want to offer you the upgrade at half-price. How’s that sound?”
*blink* That had to be the coolest call I ever received from a company. It sounded like a great deal.
Jim and I talked a little while longer. While he processed my order, he told me that the CEO of Alien Skin firmly believes in giving back. Jim said something like, “There’s so much injustice in the world, it’s up to us to change it when we can.”
I told him James and I believe the same. And to give back, I’m writing a post to spread the word that Alien Skin is a great company with a great product.
Nice Guys Finish First
By the end of the conversation, Jim had decided to send me the upgrade free of charge. Why? Because I’m a nice guy.
This is where being a good customer comes into the lesson. I didn’t bitch or complain that I’d missed the upgrade and I didn’t try to weasel Alien Skin into giving me the upgrade through manipulative guilt. That’s not me.
What is me is saying thank you for a good product. I was nice and friendly, and it went a long way.
There are benefits to being a good customer. You feel good. The other person feels good. Two happy people can create a ripple effect. Happy people making a good product might work harder to make more good products to keep getting those compliments, and better products is good for you. Hey, you might even get some free goodies, discounts, extended memberships or bonuses just because you were a nice customer.
So whether you’re on the seller side or the buyer side, take a moment to reward the people who deserve it just because you can. To quote Dave Navarro, “You’ll thank yourself for it.”