It’s all in how you put the words together

When I started my freelance writing business, I was doing mainly technical work for a local energy plant. I wanted the documents I provided to them to look professional, so I made sure I bought a quality laser printer that printed in colour. Sure, the toner cartridges were more expensive than the inkjet printers, but the resulting product spoke for itself.

I’ve used this printer for six or seven years, and never had a problem, until about a year ago. Looking to save some money, I purchased the printer brand name ‘high yield’ toner cartridges. All went well for a while, and then both the magenta and yellow toners started leaving ugly blotches along the side of the printed page. Definitely not professional!

Not only did it leave ugly blobs of toner on the sides of my pages, but it also leaked within the machine itself, making a complete mess.

So I picked up new toner cartridges, not high yield this time, and cleaned and replaced things. I then disposed of the cartridges, as they were leaking toner on my floors every time they were moved. I sat down and emailed the company to advise them of the issue, and received a courteous, yet ineffectual response. They wanted some numbers off of the cartridges, and were willing to offer me 25% off of any of their online products, for the next seven day. Wow!

Since I’d already disposed of the cartridges, I wrote this off as a bad experience until this fall. I’d forgotten that I’d also put a high yield black cartridge in the machine and…yup, you got it…it started to leak.

I decided to try a different tactic this time and called the local service centre for this brand of printer. Their representative came out, opened up the machine and advised me a toner cartridge was leaking. Really? They said the cartridge would have to be replaced, as well as the tray that held all four cartridges, and the transfer belt would have to be cleaned. A total estimate was around $400 in parts alone. I told them to just leave it as I was going to contact the Customer Service Centre again.

I started my email by apologizing to the employee who won the luck of the draw and got to deal with my complaint. My opening line, “I am going to start by saying I worked in a call centre/ customer service environment and this email is not directed at the employee who has the luck of the draw to receive it. I am extremely disappointed in the (company name) products and their response to issues.”

I proceeded to detail the steps of what had taken place, and the costs associated with the original issue, as well as anticipated costs for the new, or reoccurring issue. I advised that 25% off of their product, that was what was causing the problems with an otherwise suitable machine for my purposes, was not sufficientIMG_0206 to appease me. “I’m not going to spend my time printing, photographing, scanning and sending you information that is going to get me 25% off more product that will continue to ruin what was an adequate machine for my needs. I would hope to receive a more appropriate response than the one I received last time but you may want to contact your authorized service centre in Sarnia Ontario to get more details before responding.”

I was quite pleased to receive an email response, within 24 hours, from the escalations department. They apologized for the issues I was having, had contacted their service representative here in town, and were willing to have all repairs complete, at their expense. I just had to get it to the service centre. I’m very happy to say that, two weeks later, I have my printer back, and it’s working wonderfully again. When this machine eventually prints its last page, will I purchase the same brand? That has yet to be decided although the response to this issue has certainly earned the company some ‘brownie points’.

I guess it’s like writing a story of any type; you have to do the research,state the facts, put your words in a cohesive order with emphasis in the appropriate places for the most impact, and make sure your reader has all of the information they need to reach the outcome you are anticipating. If you are able to do that, your reader will return to continue to buy what you have to sell.

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