Liberty Bottleworks co-founder Ryan Clark has taken a stand against what he sees as the terribly flawed philosophy that “the customer is always right.”Anyone who has ever worked with customers knows that the adage is bogus. But few have the gumption to stand up to a customer the way Clark did.
The customer wasn’t pleased that she had a hard time reaching Liberty Bottleworks’ employees to figure out a payment issue. This was over the Thanksgiving holiday. After she ranted about their customer service on Facebook, the COO of Liberty personally responded.
“Ryan Clark, Liberty’s co-founder and COO here. I normally do not hop into Facebook rants but this one needed addressing. First of all, Ms. NAME WITHHELD, thank you for your order and your desire to support American companies, job creation, green manufacturing, and the hiring of vets. We did receive your numerous voicemails and emails. The buck stops with me.”
“This will I am sure upset you but…my customer service team will not be helping you on the weekends. Your voicemail stated, ‘It’s the holidays, you should be working’ and your email stated, ‘Instead of doing my Christmas cards and enjoying the holiday spirit, I was dealing with this.'”
“Perhaps you need to spend a bit more time embracing the holiday spirit. You see, my employees were home with their families doing their cards, baking cookies, etc. Family first, product second. If you want immediate service on a Saturday, try supporting your local retail establishment, such as Bill and Paul’s Sporthaus, People’s Food Co-Op, or Barnes Ace Hardware.”
“As to your original complaint, we emailed within 24 hours of your order concerning the Paypal issue. Second, we called you first thing this morning in response to your angry voicemails, but you hung up on us when we introduced ourselves, saying, “I never want to speak with anyone from your company.” Ms. NAME WITHHELD, we pride ourselves on doing things well, we pride ourselves on doing things right, we pride ourselves on doing things the American way. Not instant gratification, 24-hour shopping on Thanksgiving type of American way, but family and country American way. The way our grandparents did things American way.”
“I am sorry you are upset and I will gladly give you your money back, but I am not sorry our employees were enjoying the holidays. That right is not exclusive to you.”
“If you would like to discuss this, you may call my personal cell phone. If I do not get back to you right away, understand I may be eating dinner with my wife and kids. Please be advised we will not be shipping you your order, you will not be charged. I will not do business with anyone that threatens my employees the way you have.”
Fans of Liberty Bottle Company stepped up their support of the company. And many fans of straight-talking companies decided to become fans of Liberty and bought products as a show of support. Their orders doubled as the message went viral.
Tim Andis, co-founder of the company, explained their philosophy to the Yakima Herald. “You’re competing against people like Google who have live support 24 hours a day. Being a small manufacturer we’re not going to have live support 24 hours a day.”
He was pleased with the response, of course, and the loyalty expressed by his customers. “You can’t trade that for a bottle. You can’t trade that for 100 bottles. You can’t trade that at all. We have this silly belief that you can do well by doing good. To see the number of people reaffirm [the idea] is kind of a neat thing.”
Liberty Bottleworks prefers to hire vets. Their products are made in the USA. The machines they use to make them are American made. They’re even deeply philanthropic, giving to homeless shelters, and conservation groups.