I wanted to share an experience. Any time I have a really bad customer service experience I like to post about it because I think that by and large customer service in many organizations could use a LOT of improvement. Most of us have heard of Cragislist. Probably most famous for the story about which a movie has been made called “The Craigslist Killer”. Well when I started my business back in 2003 I won a lot of clients by placing ads on Craigslist advertising my Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Training services. For a long time I really loved craigslist and I attributed much of my early success to Craigslist.

Craigslist’s answer to customer service is a forum where presumably you can get help with things. They have a “flagging” system where people can flag your ad based on a number of criteria and if anyone flags it, there is no review process, it is simply taken down. I had not posted in some time on CL and decided last week to do what I have done in the past which is to post an ad linking to my free online resources for people to get help with QuickBooks. A little spammy? Perhaps, but ultimately I offer a legitimate service, the help really is free and it really is useful (based at least on what most people tell me).

Nevertheless I am always happy to follow the rules when they are clear. So let me work backwards here. At the end of the day, the following response, IF I had gotten it would have saved me and a bunch of other people in the craigslist forum a whole lot of time (NOTE – I did NOT get this response. The video will show you the response I did get):

This was my final (sort of) reply to one of the idiots in this forum..

In retrospect all anyone had to do was explain the following:

1) No big fonts
2) Images must be uploaded
3) Links can only be to your own website, No links to 3rd party services like YouTube or a blog.
4) No online services, only brick and mortar businesses posting in their own location.

This would have been simple and easy for me to follow. I never told anyone that they didn’t know what they were talking about. I wanted to clarify things so that I could be clear on what I did wrong. So when someone said no links to Groupon, I said, I didn’t. That link was to my own video on YouTube demonstrating my accounting services – I wasn’t clear still on where that violated TOS here until later someone actually explained, no YouTube or third party service. That’s different. Now I understand.

If someone had laid out the above as concisely as I just did and as I now understand, I would have deleted my ad right away and this would have been a much shorter conversation. Instead I had to skim through the obnoxious and useless responses (like “Yeah but it probably wont” in order to extract the real information and now I have an incredibly bad taste in my mouth about this forum.

My Youtube screen cast video about this experience is currently processing and will go up on the web shortly so that others can avoid having an experience like the one I just had. As long as I invested all of this time, I may as well capitalize on it.