I have just responded to an order I received half an hour ago. (Sinner that I am, I answered another e-mail first.)
In that half-hour, I received three follow-up e-mails from the purchaser – and a telephone call asking where her e-book was. In one of the e-mails she accused me of ‘lousy customer service’.
I did point out that the website specifies a maximum response time of 48-72 hours. The day before yesterday I undertook a seven hour journey, during which nobody was processing orders at all – and for the occasional eight hours or so, I do like to sleep.
I realise that other web publishers do things differently, but we are unable to offer downloadable files; it’s simply not a system that would be cost-effective for us at the moment, given the small volume of our sales.
Orders are processed at the earliest possible moment. For some recent customers this has been 24 hours or more, and they have not complained. We make it clear that we are unable to respond instantaneously, and had hoped that customers would understand why this must be the case.
I was also obliged to advise this particular customer that while I was talking to her on the telephone I could not also be processing her order. We are not Waterstones or Barnes and Noble and we never will be, but we are doing our best with the resources available to us.
This needs to be made clearer on the website, I feel.