Do Your Homework When Dealing With Customers

I recently added another bank account to my PayPal account. I have successfully used the first account for ages, but for better accounting purposes I needed another one. I typed my bank account info in PayPal and tried sending some bucks. After 5 days or so I received a message saying that withdraw failed. I asked from PayPal about this and was surprised how swiftly they responded. It took maybe a day or so and the reply was very detailed, filled with all kinds of possible explanations. They said that PayPal doesn’t know exactly why the transfer failed since my bank didn’t give that information, but they did their best to guess. I was very pleased with their response even though it didn’t solve my problem. I decided to send them my bank account numbers (both old and new) and asked if there could be some problem with the new account number. I deleted the erroneous account as told.

Then the funny part started.

First I received email from some other guy (instead of the first person who was “assigned to help me personally”). He said that my email address didn’t match (since I had used different email than the one I’d informed to PayPal). I quickly send them another email using identical address with my PayPal email address.

The next email I received was some third person who said: “I have reviewed your account and I can see that you have added new bank account information correctly. It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing PayPal.” Didn’t he even read my issue? I had deleted the erroneous account (as was suggested and mentioned in the ticket) and now this guy confirms that my bank account information in PayPal is correct. I bet it’s correct, since I’ve used that over a year already. I just wanted to add another bank account!

I replied him that it was nice to hear that, and asked if he could read the whole ticket text and deal with my issue now… PayPal is a great online payment solution, and their response time has been amazing (in this one case I’ve ever emailed them). Now I just need to hope their customer service – after the initial response – reaches the same level.

The meaning of customer service is to serve the customer

When you deal with customers, don’t make any assumptions about the problem without investigating any further. Do your homework. Help the customer with the real problem, don’t just assume you know what the issue might be all about. The first email from PayPal was very good one and the person really tried to suggest solutions to the problem. The following responses were just work done quickly as possible.

I’ll wait and see what happens next.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. The problem is with their web forms.It’s not that they read the mails.I faced similar problem just a few days back when I went to verify my account after getting my first credit card.
    Their web form system is horrible,it simply cuts out the previous mail trails or replies when you send a reply to their mails.so here’s what I did to confirm my suspicion-I first received 2 to 3 mails to each of my responses by different customer care executives.I got mad and copy pasted the entire conversation of the actual executive who offered some useful suggestions/help within quotes and then typed my actual content.That is the point when I got the proper reply.It was confirmed that their webform system is HORRIBLE and simply doesn’t carry forward previous communications of the customer.

    BTW I love your blog posts and currently I’m reading EACH of your blog posts here.I just can’t thank you enough for providing such useful information for indie gamers like us.

  2. Robert – I have used paypal for years and I’ve been happy with them (well, their exchange rate sure could be better…). This was just one incident – overall it’s been good.

  3. I’ve read horror stories from Paypal. I have a main account which I have had for years, but I also want to add another one for accounting purposes…Your story makes me wonder if I should do it or not

  4. @Karja: And I didn’t even apologize my misleading title, like you did ;)

    Btw… I just received email from yet ANOTHER paypal person:
    “Mr. Hietalahti, after reviewing your ACH withdrawal status is
    ‘Completed’, that means the withdrawal was successful.”


  5. The use of the word homework in the title really had me confused at first! When I saw it I initially thought that you’d found a correlation between a university course and dealing with customers – maybe some social studies. Then it struck me that you could be referring to customer support you’ve encountered where the young whippersnappers did their homework while pretending to work, and you ironically insinuated that this was a really good way of handling customers.

    In retrospect the second interpretation wasn’t too far off…

  6. regretably I find most email support to be like that. Also can happen with phone support with big companies as you get passed from pillar to post with no one actually “owning” your problem personally.

    A recent example is I asked Cahoot (online bank) for a printed statement from Dec 2005 explaining that their online statement system only allows printouts of the last 12 months. They sent me Dec *2006* instead, I politely said thanks but that’s the wrong one and explaining again about the 12 month limit. I got a reply saying “sorry we’ll send you the correct one did you know you can print statements online blah blah”. I replied and said yes I did know that as I just mentioned it in my email to you and I suggested that it may help their customer service if they read customer emails a bit more carefully. The joke is that Cahoot send out a customer service email questionnaire after every enquiry – do these staff members not care what I fill out?

Comments are closed.