The Global FlyFisher
Simply the Best Place to go for Online Fly Fishing and Fly Tyinghttp://globalflyfisher.com/blog/contacting-companies
It's amazing how some companies manage to totally ignore all attempts to contact them. Why do they have email, contact forms and Facebook pages, if they don't reply when people use them?
I wonder what it is with some companies in the fly fishing industry?
They have web sites, they have email-addresses, they have contact forms, they are on Facebook and Instagram and all sorts of social media and seem altogether very modern, digital, engaged with their customers and available for dialog.
But when I write them using any or all of these channels... nothing!
I have been doing articles for the Global FlyFisher for 20 years now, and every now and then I get the idea to do some kind of market or product overview, going into details about a given subject like bobbin holders or scissors. My newest such project is on hackle pliers and an in-depth article about hair stackers is also in the making.
Now, I own quite a bit of such tools myself. Decades of active fly tying has brought me to shows and shops galore and my money seems to fly left and right on such occasions, meaning that I often wind up with gizmos and gadgets of different kinds. Most of which I already have in some other model or brand and many that I use quite rarely, but still like to own.
I just like to buy things, and because of that I have a nice selection of fly fishing and fly tying gear.
It also happens that a company finds it interesting to let me try their product and sends or hands me a free sample. I have to say, though, that this happens more and more rarely.
The last way I get my hands on things, is simply by writing the companies and inquiring about samples to try and test and to photograph for my articles. As I said before: I don't do this to get free stuff. I do it because I want to cover the market.
Writing can have one of five results:
- The best: a kind, personal and engaged reply, maybe even a phone call, which has the purpose of getting a clear image of what I'm aiming at and getting the best possible selection of products to me. The products are packed and sent off. This does happen, but rarely.
- The second best, and absolutely good enough: A kind and positive reply followed by a package in the mail some time later. Perfect!
- Not so good but acceptable: a kind but apologetic reply saying something along the lines: “We're sorry, but we simply can't afford to send off free samples to all who inquire”. That's not good for me, but absolutely OK of course. It's a tough world out there, and small operations (and even bigger ones) have to look at expenses. Review samples and postage can quickly become a major post if enough people ask. I get all the info I want, I get photos and sometimes these manufacturers will offer me a discount or wholesale price if I buy – which I oftentimes do.
- Not good at all: a standard autoreply, reading something along the lines “We will come back to you in a short while. When we do not reply in due couse, we might have some system trouble and not be able to locate your inquiry. If that happens, kindly contact us again.” (words, spelling errors and all, from Tiemco). And then nothing.
- Totally unacceptable: silence! No confirmation, no autoreply, no rejection nothing. Not even a “Go away, Martin. We're fed up with your mails!”
Oddly enough reaction 4 and 5 are very typical for the bigger and better known operations, and in connection with my hackle pliers article, this is what I have experienced from large companies such as Japanese companies Tiemco and C&F Design, US company Dr. Slick and Swiss Marc Petitjean and several others. Typically well known brands, very visible in the market, lots of cool gear in their lineup and typically high profile companies, often represented at shows, advertising online and in magazines etc.
But replying to inquiries like mine? Obviously not on their tab.
Maybe they're busy.
Maybe they don't care.
Maybe they are really fed up with me.
No matter what, having all the channels open and doing nothing with what comes through them is unforgivable if you ask me. Why would you have info@ emails, contact forms and be on Facebook, if you totally ignore the dialog that this instigates?
If you don't intend to reply people's emails, don't advertise any mail addresses.
If things submitted in your contact form go into the digital abyss somewhere, remove the form.
If you are silent when people write you on Facebook, you have so misunderstood the whole concept!
Why would you have info@ emails, contact forms and be on Facebook, if you totally ignore the dialog that this instigates?
In my end of the equation the silence results in rants like this, and me not being able to try and write about said products. Sometimes I decide to cover them anyway, and do so from what I can find online and other places. I mean, an article on scissors without Dr. Slick would make little sense, wouldn't it?
I rarely decide simply to ignore the products and leave them out, even though I must admit that feel like an idiot trying to get a reaction, being ignored and the giving the ignoring company free marketing. But when I have bought the product, I might as well write about it. Sometimes I suspect that this is the whole plan: ignore that little busybody, and he'll finally buy the thing and write about it anyway.
Kudos goes out to many companies for actually reacting to my mails and requests and doing the best they can to service me with information, images and maybe even products. I won't mention names in fear of forgetting some, but you will typically see in each of my articles which companies are service minded and actually do react to customer inquiries.
Dr. Slick, mentioned in my shaming list above, actually reacted to my contact recently - for the first time ever! So perseverance does pay off. I have many mails in my archives, sent to them with no reactions. But one time has to be the first, as you know...