Almost two months ago, a neighbour showed me her Soapopular foaming hand sanitizer, which is alcohol-free. She told me she had bought the Soapopular soap at Shoppers Drug Mart. I trekked to three or four Shoppers stores, as well as a few other department stores, but couldn’t find the product. The Soapopular website’s front page clearly notes that the product is available at Shoppers.

So I emailed Soapopular. After about a month (!), I received a very brief email telling me I could buy the product at Zellers. Since the nearest Zellers is a long way from my home (and not on my usual list of stores to visit), I emailed back and asked if it was available at any other stores.

I’ve heard nothing and it’s been a week or two.

This kind of response to a customer inquiry is appalling. I took the time to go to several stores, visit their expensive website, and send an email. At this point, Soapopular should be so keen to get my business that they send a free sample! I mean, how many leads are this hot?

But, nope, Soapopular gets it all wrong. They ignore me. They don’t value my business and obviously don’t understand the value of a lead or word-of-mouth referrals. And, unfortunately for Soapopular, I’m now expressing my dissatisfaction in a public forum.

If you’re going to spend the money to develop and market a consumer product, take the time to treat customer inquiries seriously. Otherwise, don’t even try.

(c) 2006 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.