Turning away customers

Freshness Warning
This article is over 14 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

That’s nice. I found a problem on Major League Baseball’s Web site and sent their general-contact email address a short message detailing the problem and gave them a solution. My email was immediately returned to me.

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at mail1.chek.com.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I’ve given up. Sorry it didn’t work out.

fanfeedbackreply@website.mlb.com:

Sorry, your intended recipient has too much mail stored in their mailbox. Your message totalled 2314 bytes, which would bring them over quota. However a smaller message might go through should you wish to inform the person you tried to email.

There’s so much wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start.

  • You provide an address for people to contact you for help and that address is broken (of all the addresses to put a quota on, this wouldn’t be it).
  • When an error occurs, you send a message back to them that’s filled with tech-speak.
  • You offer a solution that is technical enough that most people won’t be able to figure out. (Go ask your dad how many words would fit into 2314 bytes.)
  • The response message has spelling and grammatical errors. (Totalled should be totaled and however needs a comma after it.)
  • The fact that your mailbox is full in the first place indicates that you don’t check it very often.

Go grab a pen and write this down. If a customer is going to go to the trouble of contacting you, it’s important, at least to them. Make sure you’ll see it.

Greg
July 9, 2003 3:35 PM

I'm fond of automated responses that try to convey emotion ("I'm afraid..." - "Sorry"), acting as if the server was not only capable of those feelings, but as if fear and sorrow were the appropriate responses (and maybe they are). Incidentally, the use of totalled may be deprecated, but it does not appear to be incorrect: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=totalled

Spanky
July 9, 2003 8:59 PM

Well, that's better than the response I usually get when I send in a report pointing out an anomaly on a web site: "Switch to MSIE on a Windows machine. That's what we tested it on and what we officially support."

Trackback from inluminent/weblog
July 9, 2003 9:26 PM

How to Turn Away Customers - MLB

Excerpt: Adam blogs a quick diddy about how Major League Baseball is turning away customers. The kicker for me is this

Stewart Johnson
July 12, 2003 3:56 AM

I believe that both "totaled" and "totalled" are valid. (Just like "artefact" and "artifact" are both valid..) Go figure.

Adam Kalsey
July 12, 2003 10:17 AM

You appear to be correct. Many dictionaries list "totalled" as an alternate spelling. Some list it as an archaic spelling. At any rate, I don't think they spelled it that way on purpose.

Philip Tellis
October 31, 2003 12:36 AM

In English, "totalled" is the correct spelling, and "totaled" is incorrect. In American, "totaled" is correct. The site being American though, tends to suggest that it should be "totaled"... and no matter how hard I try, I just cannot type "totalled" in with a single l.

Stu
March 25, 2006 11:26 AM

http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/virusinfo/virus.aspx?id=49473 if you scroll down to "method of distribution" it sounds like this might be the work of a virus... I got the same message after emailing a hotmail.co.uk address

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • How not to apply for a job Applying for a job isn't that hard, but it does take some minimal effort and common sense.
  • Simplified Form Errors One of the most frustrating experiences on the Web is filling out forms. When mistakes are made, the user is often left guessing what they need to correct. We've taken an approach that shows the user in no uncertain terms what needs to be fixed.
  • The best of 2006 I wrote a lot of drivel in 2006. Here's the things that are less crappy than the rest.
  • Rounded corners in CSS There lots of ways to create rounded corners with CSS, but they always require lots of complex HTML and CSS. This is simpler.
  • Debunking predictions Read/Write Web's authors have some goofy predictions.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

14

Recently

Physical camera shutter for Cisco Spark Board (Jul 6)
A 3d printable design for a camera shutter for a Cisco Spark Board
My Travel Coffee Setup (Jan 20)
What my travel coffee brewing setup looks like, and how you can build your own for under $100.
Turkey Legs (May 30)
Product naming gone awry.
Speaking for Geeks: Your Slides (Dec 17)
Tips and tricks for creating great slides.
Speaking for Geeks: Writing Your Talk (Dec 14)
Don’t wait until the night before the talk to write it. Crazy, I know.
Speaking for Geeks: Tell a Story (Dec 13)
Telling a story keeps your presentation focused, keeps your audience interested, and makes it easier for you to remember your talk.
Speaking for Geeks: Where to speak (Dec 11)
You've got a great idea for a talk. How do you find conferences to submit it to?
Speaking for Geeks: Getting your session accepted (Dec 10)
Your conference speaking submissions are not getting accepted because they're bad. Here's how to make them better.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Elsewhere

Tropo
Voice and communications platforms, including Tropo and Phono. Work.
SacStarts
The Sacramento technology startup community.
Pinewood Freak
Pinewood Derby tips and tricks

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

AIM or Skype: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2017 Adam Kalsey.
Content management by Movable Type.