Most people probably would read the title of this blog post and think, “another idiot hit ‘Reply All’” and pissed a bunch of people off and Michael thinks it is funny”. Well, you would right on two and three quarters of those points because the person who hit Reply All is not an idiot. In fact, though it was accidental, it actually served a great purpose and hopefully taught someone a lesson. So after that cryptic intro, here’s the story:
A client of mine (I have his permission to write this, even though I am not mentioning his name or his company’s name) is looking for a specific security product to cure a compliance pain they are currently having. We work with a few companies that sell the type of product he is looking for, but we recommended the one of those that we think has the best answer for the problem our client is trying to solve. Since that company came back with some fairly high prices, the client asked us to contact some of the competing vendors and setup some meetings.
Well, one of those competing companies we contacted immediately decided to sic their inside sales person on our client. This inside sales guy was calling our client at least 3-4 times a day (if not more) and was sending multiple meeting requests and emails, even after we asked him to back off. He then started calling from other numbers when the client started screening his calls. It got to the point where our client was getting pretty upset and was asking us to make some further demands that the guy back off. The client seriously had no desire to be mean to the inside sales person, and we certainly did not want to cause bad relations between our company and the vendor, but the customer obviously comes first.
So after a few days of this going on, our client decided to forward one of the vendor’s emails to our sales person. Our client was nearing the end of his rope, so the email was frustrated in tone. It pointed out that the inside sales person was making his company seem cheap and desperate, and it was written with some fairly strong language. But of course, as you have probably guessed by now, the client accidentally hit reply all when he was trying to forward, causing the vendor to receive a copy of the email. Our client says that he received cancellation notices for the multiple meeting requests that he had received from the vendor within about 5 minutes after his email went out, and he has yet to hear back from that inside sales person.
So, while all of this is funny and falls right in there with a lot of these types of stories, it really serves a purpose beyond the “be careful with email” lesson. Though our client swears it was accidental, the “accident” actually served the purpose of which I spoke in the introduction paragraph (it got the client some peace), and it hopefully taught that inside sales person a few lessons, which are these: persistence does not mean annoyance, listen to your clients and partners, and, for goodness’ sake, BE SELF AWARE. Think about what you are doing. And if you ARE self aware and you are being forced to make all these calls by your management, you might want to ask yourself why they are making you do this. Is your company about to tank? Do you need to start looking for a job? Are you going to give yourself a bad reputation in the industry by making these calls and pissing people off? Think about what you are doing and how you can do it better.
And another lesson: if you persist in pissing off my client, I have no qualms in calling in some favors from some friends of mine named Vito and Santino.