I got a call from a vendor this morning who wanted to send me review copies of her publications.
First point of interest: I’ve told this vendor to stop calling me and instead call our Reference selector. I’ve provided his name and contact information. I’ve done this several times, because they are solely a reference publisher and I do not do anything with reference materials other than allocate the budget. The vendor is not listening to me, and so the call is pointless from moment one because I’m never going to select reference materials. Updating their database when a customer gives them this sort of information would save them a useless sales call and save me the time of talking about how it’s a useless sales call. (And would generally make me like them more because they listened to me.)
Second point of interest: I cut her off midway through her first sentence because it was clear she was trying to send me review copies. “I’m sorry, we don’t do review copies.”
“Can you tell me why not? We think they’re a great way to show off new materials.”
“I’m sure that they are a great way to learn about new materials, but they create an added workload that we just can’t support with our current staffing levels.”
“Oh, I’m sure they’re not that much more work.”
“Actually, they are. They have to be received by our staff who sort the mail, routed to the correct selector, reviewed on your timeframe which may not be convenient to us, and then returned if they’re not appropriate to our collection. Every step of that process is an added workload over selecting materials from review sources.”
“Well, you could always call our customer service line and ask for an extension to ease the deadlines.”
“Which is another added workload.”
“I suppose it is, because someone would have to pick up a phone and make a call.”
The conversation trickled off from there, because her tone when she said “pick up a phone” implied that we were just being lazy, and my tone got equivalently frosty. She didn’t even offer to send email or print pre-publication information before she hung up, which I would have eagerly accepted (as long as she sent it to the reference selector).
Vendors can try to sell me things. They can try to sweet-talk me, flatter me, charm me, or wow me with their products. They can offer me trinkets that I’m unable to accept by law, they can feed me at conferences, they can stop by and buy me coffee in our cafe (as long as it’s on ‘nominal value’) while they tell me all about their company. They can send me emails and do webinars and slideshows and presentations. They can, in short, build a relationship with me as a customer and try to sell me their products.
They may not ignore my input, imply that I’m lazy, or tell me I’m wrong. Because that’s a bad way to build a customer relationship, and it’s a great way to make sure that I never want to deal with you again. I can go elsewhere for my information products and services, and I will.