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How lost a customer

April 22, 2009

One of the pitfalls for being an authorized purchaser for our department involves sites where the only way to order is by establishing an account. Tech Lady often has an account, but I do not, mainly because it doesn’t make sense to establish accounts for each of the dozens of widget vendors and bald eagle head salespeople we might patronize every month.

When Tech Lady e-mails me a link, I find no way to just plain old buy the thing, so I start writing up a new account under my boss’s name, because that’s the name on our purchasing card. Midway through, it requires me to tell them my boss’s title, department and how many employees we have. Aside from the fact that a) the proper options aren’t available and b) we’re a 45-person office in a university with 10K employees, so we’re splitting hairs here, IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.

So I go back and redo it with Tech Lady’s info, which of course it rejects because Tech Lady already has an account. I could call her up and ask her password, but that’s not really my business, and — again — it would be a pain to do this for every vendor we work with.

So I take advantage of the handy 800 number on the homepage and try it that way.

“Hi, I’d like to order the keyboard anti-static mat.”

“Unfortunately, we only do ordering online.”

“Okay, what about that nice big header above the toll-free number on your homepage that says, ‘Order online or by phone’?”

“That’s for our bigger customers, like warehouses and resellers.”

“Uh huh. Guess I’ll be hanging up now.”

“Thanks for calling StarTech!”

At that point, I decided StarTech wasn’t getting any of our money, so I Googled it and hey! It’s available in a bunch of other places, some cheaper. Within 5 minutes I’d filed paperwork from a completed order with one Comp-U-Plus.

“Making hard-to-find easy,” my ass.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 5:21 pm

    Hi Susannah,

    I’m the Marketing Communications Manager at I’m very sorry to hear about your experience trying to order one of our products! Our goal is to make hard-to-find easy for all our customers and we obviously did not do that for you.

    I’d love to get your feedback on how we could improve our ordering process. If you have a moment, please send me an email at

    We truly value your feedback and once again, I apologize for not making it easy for you to order our products!

    Best Regards,

    Andrew Stephen

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