How we turned a disappointed customer of our rating plugin into an enthusiastic client (answer: with one email)

customer service purple heart rating plugin wordpress


Making the sale is always great, no matter how big or small the amount is in €, $ etc. – especially if you’re an entrepreneur selling your own product/service. Fact is: Someone thought your offering is good and that it might help solve a problem. But how to react if this dreaded email or call (“Sorry guys, but I am not satisfied”) comes in?



This article is definitely not intended to make us at WP Buddy look oh-so-great, not at all. We don’t consider ourselves to be such uber-guys who know it all. The article is simply intended to share an experience that we had recently and from which we learned something ourselves, or rather: we received the affirmation that our approach in terms of client service is being perceived positively.

So, since they say that ‘sharing is caring’, here we go 🙂

What happens after the sale of our Purple Heart Article Rating Plugin for WordPress?


When we are notified that someone bought our Purple Heart Rating Plugin the following happens: Flow sends the notification to me and I (as the ‘Marketing Buddy’ at WP Buddy) send out a personalized email to the person who bought it. The email looks pretty much like this (yes, it’s standardized as much as possible, but it’s nevertheless personalized by me, so no automated (aka impersonal) processes):


Hi (first name of client),

This is David, from the WP-Buddy team.

I wanted to thank you personally in the name of the WP-Buddy Team (Flow, Duke and myself) for having bought the Purple Heart Rating Plugin recently.

We hope you will have a lot of good results with it. By the way: Should you have more than one website then it might be interesting for you to know that you are allowed to use the Plugin on all of the WordPress based websites that belong to you, not just one. I hope that’s good news for you 🙂

Feel free to inform me where you will install the plugin, so we can check out your website.

Do let us know in case there are any unexpected issues. As you surely know: with a plugin there can always be a conflict with the installed theme or another installed plugin. Therefore it’s basically impossible to create a plugin that works without issues in each and every single set-up/environment. If you write to support(at)wp-buddy(dot)com and describe any issue that might occur, we’ll do our best to find the solution.

Last but not least we wanted to let you know that 1 € of each sold plugin will be donated to a charity project: So, on behalf of the people who benefit from your purchase we want to say ‘Thank you’!

Best regards from Germany and Greece!

David, Flow and Duke

What happens next, and: what happened next in this case?


Well, usually the following happens: not much 🙂 This might either mean that the email was filtered out unnoticed by the recipient’s email server, or the person just didn’t care or didn’t have time to respond.

Of course, we LOVE to get positive feedback for our wordpress rating plugin because… well, I guess that’s obvious 🙂 But also positive criticism is a great way to learn more about your clients and a chance to make things better. After all: it’s not so much about us but about helping our clients to become a little bit more awesome in what they do.

In this specific case, the client got back to me – and it wasn’t the email you would hope for from a client:


Hey David,

Yes I bought the Plugin, but unfortunately the plugin doesn’t make much sense. You only see a percentage of users who voted, but there isn’t any display about how many people have voted. It’s a difference between 1000 people voting with 100%, or just one votes with 100%.

Another problem is, that I can’t use different settings. There is only one setting that I have to use for all votings. But in some part of the page I want the people to vote a service and on other part of the site I want my users to vote about how much the like different famous people.

Sorry for my bad English, but I hope you understand my problem …

All together the plugin isn’t very good to sell it for nearly 20,00 EUR. So, unfortunatly I can’t recommend the plugin to my other blogger-friends. There are plugins like GD Star Rating with a lot more options and it is for free.

What I like much is that there is a comment field that pops up and that there is a possibility to rate the comments (and also the widget).

But without any display how many people voted a voting-plugin doesn’t make any sense.

Wish you the best and best regards.


(after that email I found out that the client is German so we continued our exchange in German, but I will translate the following two German emails for you 😉 )


So there it was, the kind of email we all are trying to avoid, or hoping that it will never come. Per se and besides the fact that this is a negative email, there are also some good and useful parts inside. Always look for the bright side and see what good can be in bad news 😉


There are 3 options that we all have when we face that situation:

  1. don’t answer
  2. answer in the style of ‘sorry, that’s how it is, can’t do anything for ya’
  3. answer trying to understand the problem and see if the problem is really that serious.

I decided for option #3. (applause, ladies and gents! 🙂 ) Why? Because I feel that someone who has

  1. bought our product, and
  2. taken the time to explain his/her issues

has a darn right to get an answer from us. Of course, we can’t solve all the issues but in this case it was clearly a matter of unmet expectations. Something had to be done, and if that only meant an email that conveyed my sadness that we couldn’t meet expectations… (don’t you just HATE that feeling too, i.e. the feeling of letting people down?). I was actually about to go to bed because it was getting close to midnight and I had been working all day, but wanted to take care of this right away.


So here’s my response:


Hey (first name of client),

Sorry if your expectations couldn’t be met… 🙁

We have had this question 2-3 times the last days and it is definitely a feature that we want to (and probably also should) add in a future version of our rating plugin. I can partly see why this being requested, and partly it’s kind of difficult to understand. In my personal opinion, the thing is the following:

Whoever doesn’t have thousands and thousands of visitors per day on her/his website but rather somewhere in the 2- or 3 digit range will, overall, get rather few ratings from site visitors anyway. For example: I have another website that attracts about 1500 visitors per day, on average. Of course, the Purple Heart Rating Plugin is installed there. Although I would say that the amount of daily visitors is everything else but low, only relatively few people do take advantage of using this article rating plugin. That’s sad but on the other side it’s not really bad because what I want to achieve with our wordpress plugin is the following:

I want to create those stars in the Google search results, because they can create trust among the people who see my website in the search results. So, to me personally it would feel a little ‘awkward’ to display within the Purple Heart Rating Plugin that for a certain article only 5 people voted. In the Google search results on the other hand this relatively low number of people who have actually rated the article don’t weigh that much, even if it was only from 5 people (assuming that the ratings were positive). That’s because even only 5 positive ratings look better in the Google Rich Snippets of the search results than no stars at all, which is the case of many of the other websites that appear in the search results.

I am not totally sure if I could explain myself correctly. Therefore let me send you an example, see attached screenshot:

wordpress rating plugin star rating
Here you see the rating stars in action

There you see only one website that uses a star rating plugin, i.e. a plugin that creates stars in the search results. Looks good in comparison to the other ones, doesn’t it? One can see that so far only 2 ratings have been placed out of which this overall 5-star rating was calculated. The fact that only 2 ratings were given, in my opinion, loses importance almost totally because the positive effect of the stars in the search result snippet weighs much more – especially because the others that appear in the search results don’t use such a plugin that creates the rating stars.

And that’s basically the whole thought behind the Purple Heart Rating Plugin.

But as I said: partly I can see why some clients would like to have the function that you requested.

Do you still find that the plugin is useless und doesn’t meet your expectations?

Best regards,



I didn’t really think that I’d be able to change our client’s mind with that. After all: he had bought the blog article rating plugin expecting a feature that wasn’t available. The next morning I woke up to the following email from our client:


Hello David,

I have been a professional affilate and search engine optimizer for 6 years now. In all this time I have bought countless services, plugins, images etc. and used them. But NEVER so far has someone had the BALLS [comment David: here my heart sank quite a bit because I thought he’s gonna insult me now for having the balls to be a ‚smart-ass’] to ask if I am satisfied. Kudos, especially considering the fact that I didn’t go easy on you in terms of criticism. I find that very professional and I value that a lot. [comment David: my heart made quite a leap upwards this time. Yaaaay!! 🙂 ]

Also your detailed explanation in regards to the star rating and the part about the relatively small amount of users who actually do use the rating makes sense to me. Surely, you know the market for wordpress plugins quite well too and it’s a fact that most of the plugins are really capable but don’t cost anything. Why that is I have never understood, to be honest; for most of  the plugins which I use I would also pay. Therefore I didn’t have any issue buying the Purple Heart Rating Plugin, because it’s different from the usual plugins. Of course, as soon as I spend money, my expectations rise accordingly. And don’t get me wrong: these were surely almost met. Maybe it would be a useful feature to allow the webmaster to decide for him/herself, if s/he wants the rating plugin to display the actual number of people that have rated the article, or not.

But I also want to highlight some positive features of the rating plugin again. I find it brilliant that after the rating of an article has taken place one can state a reason for the rating. Even better I find that this comment can be displayed in the comment section as a comment after approval. That’s brilliant!! Also being able to rate the comments and to show the best rated articles in the Purple Heart Rating Plugin Widget is great. These were the most decisive reasons why I bought the plugin.

To make a long story short: the plugin is good and in the end I did have another look at your plugin website; had I been more watchful I could have seen that the number of people that voted doesn’t get displayed. I have to lay the blame on myself.

Therefore, thank you very much for your attention and I wish you continued success with the Purpele Heart Rating Plugin.

Best regards,


P.S.: It would be a great enhancement if one could create different types of ratings with different texts and icons. This way one could, based on the article or survey, add a specific Purple Heart Rating with the plugin short-code. Because maybe in one article someone would like to have an online shop rated and in another article oft he same blog one would like to have the article itself to be rated. So it would be awesome if one could create different Purple Heart Ratings for that scenario.


(by the way: in case you are wondering now what our Purple Heart Star Rating Plugin does (and what it doesn’t), do have a short look at our website for this plugin:



This response was beyond my ‘wildest dreams’!

Don’t get me wrong: this whole story probably is not such a big deal for many other entrepreneurs and/or business leaders with much bigger businesses out there. But to us it is! It shows us that, more often than not, it’s worth to dedicate time to your clients.

And in this particular case it just astounded me how it was possible, basically through one email, to turn an obviously disappointed client into a client that then actually starts telling you how great our WordPress rating plugin is.

The take-away of this experience with a Purple Heart WordPress Rating Plugin client


Although one can never tell what the outcome will be in the end (e.g. “Is this person influential and can help to spread the word about us in return for being so excited now?”) we think it should be in our nature to offer great client service (great = above the ordinary/more than the expected).

Of course, we can’t solve all the problems and we must not become the victim of believing that the customer is always right, as the saying goes. But we also must know that client service is one of the biggest advantages that small companies have in comparison to the Big Ones. While the Big Ones are way too big to care about the single customer, we small ones do have the advantage of excelling through customer-service that exceeds the expectations. We firmly believe that once you can create a ‘wow’-experience on the client side, this can take you a long way and become a win-win situation.

Also, look at the tremendous amount of information this customer was willing to give us in the end:

  1. why he bought our wordpress article rating plugin,
  2. what he doesn’t like about it,
  3. what he feels is missing to make it even more useful for him (and probably also for others).

No doubt: priceless information!

What do you think: Was it the right decision how we responded to this situation, or was it in the end way too big of an effort in your opinion? What is *your* most amazing experience in terms of customer-service so far? Do ‘share the love’ (i.e. your experience and this article) so that other readers will be able to benefit from it 🙂

Regards from Greece,

aka ‘Marketing Buddy’

The author, David, is in charge for marketing at WP-Buddy, a small innovative enterprise that specializes in the development of WordPress plugins and themes. All the tools of WP-Buddy are 100% focused on making your own online endeavors a success. Find out more about your WP Buddy Team.



picture credit ‘Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell’: flickr user Dell Inc.


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