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I learned recently at a seminar that it is 15 times faster to deal with a customer issue by phone than by email.

I didn’t know the actual number but I do know that since we at RedBalloon have put our 1 300 number on our contact page we are getting far less email – more phone calls of course… but we can often deal with the query in a minute or so – whereas opening an email and reading it can take longer than that.

We also want people to have a chance to speak to us – to ‘experience the brand’ as it were. Know that we are real people. We also hate hiding behind email, if we have messed something up – the best thing to do is pick up the phone. Rather than spend hours wordsmithing a response (that could end up in the public domain, out of context).

But what happens when we just cannot get a customer on the phone. We had this email recently. And we have called and called and called – and they just won’t return our call.

    • Hi there,



      • I am an American who is scheduled for a 3-week stay in Australia…..  I am hoping you can either help me out with direction or publicity with exposure to fraudulent activity by a tour group in the Sydney area.


      • These types of “rip-off stories are really big here [in America], it seems the media has a heart and looks after the poor consumer that gets trod upon.  Maybe it isn’t the same there.  Whatever the case, you can rest assured that I will be giving the ultimate bad press here stateside for touring companies in Oz.



        • It doesn’t seem to matter that they misrepresented this tour and the links to the tour on their website, they don’t want to take any accountability and will at best offer me a “gift certificate”.

      I have several other press leads from my local Aussie buddies and will be contacting them as well whilst my attorney makes haste with action.  If this were stateside the tour company would be bending over backwards in fear of the BBB, kissing my backside with reimbursements and any comps to keep me quiet. 

        • Apparently, there is no consideration of the consumer there, and rip-offs, fraud and misrepresentation for accountability by your businesses and in business practice.  I intend to make a wave, and if you help me with your press, it would mean the world to me if nothing more than satisfaction for their future losses.



          • Best Regards,


        What would you do with a customer letter like this? We would love to speak to the customer but she has not responded to our requests. Are we being bullied, blackmailed or threatened? How does it make my team feel to get such an email – that they struggle to respond to without the opportunity of speaking with the client to understand the real issue.

        Many customers often feel they have amazing power with email. I find it interesting when people say ‘I’m from X company and they have a big purchasing spend so you should look after me.’ We look after everyone… without favourites anyway. Do people think they need to bully to get a reaction?

        The other thing that I find intriguing is when customers write in a threatening email from their work email address – effectively on company letterhead. I know of one instance where an employer was very interested to hear how its company email was used by a junior member of its staff to ‘seek out favourable treatment’ ie freebies.

        Historically we were taught that the customer is always right… I, together with my team stay absolutely committed to the customer experience. We do this best when we get to speak to you directly. We can get things sorted out really very quickly that way and we can all get on to doing what we do best, giving people a good time.


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