How NOT to Do Customer Service Right

Annnnd, I’m out.

A few weeks ago I signed up for an online project organizing tool that I’ve used in the past. I was excited by their new features and ready to give it a go (after kind of forgetting about it for three years.)

I’m taking their new training, committed to mastering what I know will be a useful tool, all good so far. Then I get the “hey, congrats, we just upgraded your account” notice, and promptly realized that ALL my account data was gone. All my projects, lists, priorities, plans…GONE.

Okay, these things happen. I emailed CS, and got the typical “hey, we’re looking into it and we’ll fix it” reply. Okay, I can be patient.

Meanwhile, I’m getting at least one email every other day from them with a new product or feature to UPSELL me…on an account that is useless to me. And it’s not just the usual upsell stuff; it’s cleverly designed to look like goodies (like the “hey, send me your mailing address so I can send you this book…oh…and you’ll just pay postage of approximately what the book is selling for anyway.”)

With each email, I forward back to CS and say “hey, fix my account. Please and thank you.”


I just got the latest “don’t miss this offer” while getting NADA response on getting my real problem fixed.

Clearly their business model is focused on growth; that’s cool, we all have to set our business priorities. But the best way I’ve found to grow is by taking excellent care OF THE CUSTOMERS YOU ALREADY HAVE.

Sigh. Cap locks off; having a nice cup of tea and moving on with  my day…without this company.

How are you treating your customers?

How much should you pay your freelance writer?

“How much do you charge?”

It’s the eternal question for the freelance writer. And the bottom line is….it depends. The amount you can expect to pay varies on a number of factors, spelled out beautifully by Courtney Craig in ClearVoice.

“This FAQ doesn’t have a simple answer,” Craig writes. “Most intermediate to advanced freelance writers charge between 10 cents and $1 per word, depending on the amount of work they will have to put into the project. But, the way they bill that average range will vary. Some freelance writers bill at a flat rate, per hour, or per monthly retainer for frequent work (in this case, a volume-based discount should apply), rather than per word. Typically, freelance writers who use one of those last three billing methods will include services beyond just the content.”

So, it really does depend…and Craig provides a fantastic infographic to help make it more understandable.

Where does the Words Girl fall? Check out the PRO category below for a good idea. Then let us know what you need.

Freelance writer rates from ClearVoice

Image part of an infographic by ClearVoice, (c) 2015.

What happens on page 50?

i-flip-flap-184343_1280Writing a novel? Make sure to heat the seats first.

This post by Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog gives some great advice for writers on how to move your reader into the story.

She likens it to using a remote car starter and heated seats before you begin a journey on a cold winter day:

“Every reader starts a story cold, and you want to warm the reader up to your story as quickly as possible,” writes Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog. “You want the reader to slip into a warm seat in a hot story with a blazing beginning and take off for parts known only to you, the writer.”

According to Munier, there are three literary devices that will help you achieve this:

  1. Start with a scene that introduces your story idea. (Think “Jaws” and how that opening set the story for the book without a scrap of dialogue.)
  2. Start with the scene that foreshadows the story idea. (Munier gives the example of Sleeping Beauty and the fairy’s curse.)
  3. Start with the scene that sets up the story idea with action. (Princess Leia hiding the plans for the Death Star in R2-D2 is a classic example.

My favorite piece of advice in this post is “Turn to page 50.” Munier believes that most beginning writers take too long to warm up the story, and it doesn’t usually get going until around page 50 (or about 15,000 words). Turn to page 50, and see what your characters are doing. THIS might be the right place to start for a story that compels your readers to come along.