Got a bit of a rant in my head, something that's been bothering me for a while. I figure by getting it out in public and kvetching a bit, maybe it will bother me less.
It is about the (sad) state of coffee and espresso online in Canada. Machines, beans, toys, tools, etc etc., you name it.
About seven months ago, I came up with an idea to do a "Canada Only" section at the www.coffeekid.com website that talked about Canadian vendors, provided comprehensive linking and price info, talked about the products they offered, and well, just about anything I could talk about regarding their offerings.
To do this required help from actual vendors in Canada. That help could be provided to me by answering a simple email I sent out.
Over the next few months, I emailed just about every online coffee vendor that I could find in this country an introductory letter, stating my plans and objectives, and requesting information. There was no cost or circumstance to the vendors - only answering a few simple questions, and possibly faxing or mailing price lists or further information.
I sent off about 4 dozen emails in this regard, after some extensive research. In the months that followed, I got maybe 4, 5 responses. That's it. Out of roughly 50 emails sent, I got back that many responses. And of those responses, only 2 of them really answered my questions and provided the information I wanted.
I can tell you the situation really frustrated me. I let it drop for a while, but about a month ago, I did it all over again, emailing all the companies that didn't respond the first time. I kept the email short, concise and clear this time, hoping that the shorter length would encourage more to respond.
As of this posting, I've gotten 2 responses.
It makes me scratch my head in frustration. In fact, it makes me want to scream and shout and bang my head against the wall! What the hell is going on here?
There's little I would like more than to help promote Canadian businesses where I can, and help my fellow Canuckians find resources that don't force them to cross the border. Promoting these businesses so the money stays in Canada (esp. with our failing dollar). But it seems that these businesses, almost as a whole, do not want the customers or promotion.
Bottom line of this kvetch - businesses, do you not understand how imperative it is to treat email importantly? To realize that ignoring or blowing off inquiries about products offered, prices etc is losing you business? Why do businesses treat email so flippantly, so off handedly? It isn't just a Canadian problem - it is pretty much global in scope.
This is one reason why you'll probably see me promoting the same businesses over and over again - because the businesses I frequently name are companies that care about quick feedback. That care about providing good prices and good service. And almost everytime you email one of these companies, you get a response from a person, not some automated response (grr, I hate those, esp. when the actual answer email is automated).
Time for online ventures to start waking up - not just Canadian companies, but as a whole. Email should never be blown off, if you can help it.