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Dear Lego: How not to write a customer service email

Pete Brown - 30 November 2011

Today, due to a bug in their website which put my order through without my credit card info (d'oh!) I got this unfriendly and suspicious email from lego:


My first thought was this was a Phishing scam email. Why? Well, the subject was somewhat strange, the message was plain text, but in HTML format, it didn't contain any actual information about my order, and it told me to take some action or else dire consequences in the next 24 hours. That, and it ended with "Warm regards" like so many other phishing emails.

It had a support phone number in it, though, which was a new one. I wasn't about to call that number, though. So, I went to the Lego site and checked my order status. Sure enough, it said "Customer service". I then dug up the customer service number from their site, and yes, it was the same one as in the email.

How could Lego have communicated better?

Phishing scams aren't new. If you have a strong brand like Lego, you need to make sure you're doing everything in your power to ensure that your communications are taken seriously. The email above is inexcusable, although I can almost imagine the quick bit of app code that sent it out. We've all seen code like that; it probably even has the SMTP server hard-coded.

So, first of all, Lego, fix the bug in your website that lost my CC info but still put the order through. (I explained to them that during the order process, I had removed an old credit card and added a new one, so that path is the likely cause).

I explained this site bug to the CS rep. I hope she actually noted it and reported it as a bug as opposed to the BS most CS reps give you when they say they'll "note it on your account". Those notes go into some mysterious bit bucket because I've never had another CS rep tell me they saw the note (even when asked) on a follow-up call. She did ask me for browser details, so it sounds like Lego might actually have a reporting process. That said, the browser details should have already been available to her, but I'll cut a little slack here.

Second, your email needs to be more "official". What do I mean by "official"? Does it need a Lego logo? Not necessarily, but it should look like the other Lego Shop at Home emails. Here's an example of one (potentially sensitive info blocked out):


At the least, the service email should have looked something like this one.

The second thing to do would be to include some specifics about my order. At least an order number, better yet, a link to the online order status for my specific order. You need to make me realize that you have access to my order info and so it most likely is from you folks and not from some random botnet in <insert country here>.

Third, tell me what the problem is. As written, it sounds like I kicked off a fraud alert. That wasn't it at all. I'm a VIP member with a boatload of points and truckloads of Lego products at home. A little respect, please!

Finally. Sheesh. Don't tell me if I fail to get on the phone for my internet order, you're going to cancel in 24 hours. 24 hours? Really? That's just crap. Transplant patients are given more time than that.

My order started on the internet, make an effort to let me finish it that way. Either provide an online chat, or let me resolve it as much as possible over email. Don't send the message from a "donotreply" address. I placed the order on the internet because I found that the most convenient way (I hate talking on the phone almost as much as I hate waiting on the phone). Waiting for 20 minutes on hold to fix your mistake is not how I wanted to spend my morning, despite it giving me blog rant fodder :)

posted by Pete Brown on Wednesday, November 30, 2011
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5 comments for “Dear Lego: How not to write a customer service email”

  1. Melissa Sheehansays:
    Hello Pete,
    I am writing to extend my apologies over your experience with LEGO. Would you be willing to contact either myself or the company so we can discuss this further?
    Thank you,
    Melissa Sheehan
  2. Katesays:
    Similar experience today - found your blog post by googling the email address as it seemed suspicious. Especially since my order was 'on hold' and yet 7 hours later I received another email to advise it had been shipped. Via the website it also suggests the order is shipped, so confusing... but will phone anyway... Really does come across as a phishing email though.
  3. chiara says:
    Same experience here: they sent this very weird e-mail and then cancelled my ordered since FOR A FULL DAY I was not able to get hold of them!
    It is ridiculous and my credit card is the one I ALWAYS use and NEVER had a single problem with it! I was so happy about giving the Lego ship to my boyfriend as a present and now the most likely thing is by the time this gets sorted the birthday is gone, great!

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