29 June 2012

Genealogy for Fun and Profit- How to Set Your Prices

On short term costs: Use last year's receipts to determine how much your variance may be. If you do a year of "free" research for friends, keep the receipts and let that help you determine that cost.

ebay genealogy page

To contact me:
Twitter @chaosananke

Enjoy your weekend!

This video is just a rant. It is my own opinion. I am not a paid spokesperson for Ancestry.com, just a fan. I apologize for the train. I'm near an industrial area and Friday is a big shipment day.

Having worked in retail in the past, I'd like to say something that a retail/customer service associate is never allowed to say:

We want to help you. We want your experience with our company to be a good one. However, there are times we wonder if you have any idea how little power we have to change the things you think you deserve to have changed. Written policies are there for your protection as well as the company's and everytime you demand we bend the rules, we get in trouble for it. We get in trouble when we stick to them and you complain to a higher up. We get in trouble when we break them and the higher up disagrees with our decision to keep you happy. Your average employee is paid just enough to make them come back the next day. They spend their day trying not to get fired for doing something stupid, as the average manager has been taught the technique of "everyone's replaceable." Any time we try to change anything, we are reminded we are free to leave any time we don't like our jobs.

As much as we want to help, however, guru's that tell you to keep bitching until someone gives you what you want are hurting you and the companies you do business with. The company will give in to your demand as long as it's not unreasonable, but they will give hell to anyone below the rank of the person that helped you. First, they'll be yelled at for it having gone so far up. Then they'll be yelled at for not preventing the problem at all, even when it's obvious that the customer was going to complain to get extra for nothing anyway (and there are those who complain for the sake of getting something for nothing). You'll be hurt, because it only takes a few times of this happening to break the spirit of any average customer service rep. Soon they'll see deceit in every customer and assume your motive is only to bilk the company for something you don't deserve even when it's rightfully yours. Attitudes will slip and complaints will go up. I'm not saying there aren't bad employees, but I'm saying more good employees are ruined by bad experiences than companies just hiring bad employees.

And a last note: There are a number of rules that an employee agrees to when they begin their employment. Among them is what they can say in person, on the phone and online about the company, a customer or anything dealing with the business. The big one of course is to keep trade secrets. That's one everyone's okay with. But they're also not allowed to say anything negative about the company. They may have been given a script that they must refer to when resolving an issue. I worked for one company that allowed "Thank You", but not "You're Welcome" when addressing a customer. We got around it by saying "No, Thank you!" and chuckling, but you felt like a dunderhead for having to say it that way. When you ask an associate a question, or log a complaint, and you get a rote answer, before you get mad, try to remember that script. That may be all that they can say to you without being in trouble. That may be all they've been told. They want to help you, but their hands are tied. If you feel frustrated, imagine the employee. You only hear that speech once. They say it 100 times a day, every day, to irate customers that act like they are the only one's that will have that problem. We have to say the same stuff every day like it's the first time it's ever been said. We have to laugh at jokes told by customers like they're the first one to notice the naughty subtext of our company name or whatever it is they are being clever about.

I bring all this up, because those who complain about the cost of Ancestry eventually complain about  the service. They can't get the answer they want. They can't get something for free. They can't get the employee to bend the rules. They're waiting forever on the DNA kit/results. They don't understand why the 1940 census isn't fully searchable...... whatever it is that they complain about. There are bad service reps and I blame training for them. But for the most part, it's nice people trying to help. They tell you what they can. They don't know when the census will be done for each individual state, but they are on par for it to be done nationwide by the end of the year. They don't know/can't tell you what order the DNA invites are being given in, and can only tell you "soon". They realise that a month from now or a year from now or even just tomorrow won't be "soon" to some people, but it's all they can say. Give these poor souls a break already!

Free Sites:
My good friend Loretta has a blog that lists some free sites.
Ancestry's YouTube Channel

Want a discount?
Join Ancetry's World Archives Project and help transcribe records. Watch for occasional free events that happen for a weekend or a full week during new releases or anniversaries. There is usually right after Christmas an email for a really deep discount on a 6 month subscription. If you buy their FTM software, many packages come with a membership term!

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