This feels like it’s going to be a rambling new entry rather than just a quick how-to on building a list of buyers, so please bear with me.
I started out today with the intention of writing a fairly simple piece, but before I had a chance to do that, I got an email about the situation Anthony Aires is going through with Paypal and that changed my slant slightly.
As you may know, Anthony Aires has just had his Paypal accounts terminated with extreme prejudice! In fact, you can listen to a conversation he had with a Paypal rep here http://anthonyaires.com/PayPalcall.mp3
The reason this is important, is that it both increases the need for you to have a list of buyers but at the same time makes it harder to build one in the first place. Listen particularly to the section about 10 minutes in – that should be chilling for anyone using the Warrior Forum. It scared the life out of me, as I plan to release my first WSO tomorrow!
It’s All About Customer Service, Paypal Dummies!
Now, you can argue all you like about business models, but the one thing that came through to me about this behaviour and that of some of the other big players recently, is that they seem to have forgotten one of the basic principles of “having customers”.
If you have customers, they will need help at some point. It doesn’t matter if they spend a little or a lot, if they’re technically aware or not, there will come a time when they want to check something out.
At that point, you need to be there!
No matter how many clever automated systems you have in place, people sometimes need people. A blanket policy email delivered by robot won’t cut it. That’s why social networks have such power, they connect real people together.
Let’s take this back to Anthony Aires. He may be only one person, but his network is huge. Through his list and his social presence, he has a position of influence. It’s a position that many of us would covet, but even in his position, Paypal has shut him down without a minute’s notice.
It has happened before to other big names in the industry and after reading some of the stories it appears as if sometimes compromises have been reached and accounts re-activated but in general this has only happened for the big names as they sorted themselves out.
I’ve personally seen my Youtube account closed and you had better believe that I don’t have enough clout to get mine re-activated, but I know others who do.
Comparing Paypal to a Real Bank
So, where am I going with all this? First, let’s get it clear, Paypal is not a real bank. They are just a processor of payments that happens to sit between you and many transactions you wish to make.
If they were a real bank, they would evaluate the “risks” of doing business and charge accordingly. This is even true of the world finance community that charges whole countries (like Italy and France) slightly more for doing business when they are seen as being a little riskier. Paypal doesn’t have the willpower, technical smarts or maybe just the plain financial understanding to get this right and so they close accounts willy-nilly.
In doing so, they expose their customer service ideals to the world. I’ve never heard such a terrible support call in my life…..all carried out in perfectly reasonable tones, but desperately full of attitude born in a company that obviously feels it can do no wrong. It’s not just the kool-aid these guys are drinking!
When was the last time you went grocery shopping and were told that it was a “privilege” for you to be allowed to shop there? How quickly would you switch stores?
So why should I care?
In my own rambling way, this brings me to the point of this whole post. Although it has turned into a bit of a rant against the giants of our industry, I think there are some valuable lessons to be learned here.
First off, if you are building a business of any kind, you need to be prepared to interact with your customers. Get them to be the “recommendation engine” driving you forwards, rather than the “complaints anchor” dragging you down online.
No company can afford to ignore a turn in sentiment, not even one the size of Paypal, so build a customer-serving attitude into yours from the very beginning.
Secondly, make sure that you are aware of payment processing alternatives as you grow. Paypal is not the only game in town any more – we have both Google and Alertpay in place already and there are others just waiting to step up, some of them very surprising.
Finally, keep building the list. It may sound like a broken record, but if you have a loyal fan base that you can contact, you can re-direct them if you need to and, as with Anthony Aires, you might even be able to get their support as you fight to get yourself re-instated 🙂
If this has touched a nerve, or you just want to get word out about the treatment Anthony Aires has seen, please feel free to like,tweet or comment!