I sold my first book on my website (A Novel Book) a few weeks ago.
But I it took 5 very long days before the deal was finally done.
It was a strange week.
The first email came through saying she was having problems going through the checkout process. I sent an email back with an explanation – it really isn’t a hard system to use. I got my mother-in-law to test run it and she is computer illiterate.
Another email came through with a “Thank you. Still can’t work it out – but now your website is in French – and I can’t understand French. Is there any way you can translate for me please?”
Oh boy! The only language on my site is English. All the other languages have been disabled. There is no way this site is in French, unless she had been fiddling with her settings. I checked on my computer. All in English. I went next door to my neighbour’s house and quickly borrowed her computer. No French. I went to my local library and used their computer – still no French. I Skyped my sister and asked her to check. Again, not a bonjour or an adieu in sight.
I have encountered my first tyre kicker. Someone who doesn’t really want to buy this book, but is going to ask me a thousand questions about it anyway. Somebody who has too much time on their hands and thinks that I don’t.
I expected to get this in a B & M store. I am absolutely positive that all of you bookshop owners have this sort of person come in every week, if not daily. You know the kind (you may even have a “special” nickname for this person):
“I’m looking for a specific book by this author. Oh you have it? No, I don’t want the one with that cover. Oh, but this is second-hand, I wanted a new copy. Oh – I didn’t realise you were a second-hand book shop. Could you order one in for me? No I won’t leave a deposit, you can trust me.”
You know this customer, right?
Well, this is who I thought I had. But the on-line version. I can’t escort this person from my shop. She can’t hear the tone of my voice starting to get a little grumpy. I just kept getting emails about how hard it was to buy this book.
In the end, I did the on-line equivalent of “it’s time you left my shop now”. I thanked her for her patience & apologised for the “bugs” in my system, but suggested she find the book elsewhere as she would have better luck I’m sure. I even provided her a link to someone else that had the book.
Well, I don’t know if it was because she couldn’t see me banging my head on my desk, or rolling my eyes, or harassing the lovely lady who designed my website – asking why it is in French for this customer but for no-one else, but she bought the book. She paid via Paypal. She thanked me profusely for my customer service and apologised for being a “painful” customer! She said the website was now back in English, not a French word to be seen, and perhaps she’d pressed a button she shouldn’t have.
So not a tyre kicker after all.
But, gee I hope I don’t get too many more of these buyers who can’t read French!