I like to save our Hall of Shame posts for the special candidates that really deserve it. Yesterday someone all but requested it with the most unprofessional email I’ve received in a long time. Here’s the story.

We have been seeking out companies that specialize in usability in hopes of making our customer Control Center easier to use and navigate. We are well aware that improvements are needed and we’re seeking outside help from a specialized third party. This project is going to be a big and lengthy process and isn’t going to be cheap, so it only makes sense to find the right company to do the best job. After searching through many companies, we selected what we felt were the best 5 companies. I spoke with all 5 and explained what we were looking for, then asked for ballpark proposals to be sent. 4 of the 5 sent detailed proposals, with one sending a PDF of screen shots that really didn’t tell me much. This one company was theUEgroup.

Even though all the other companies were able to propose something, theUEgroup said it was too difficult, which I could understand, but kind of weird that everyone else could. That wasn’t what killed the deal for me. What killed the deal is the President of theUEgroup, Tony Fernandes, sent this PDF which was named Linksworth briefing. Is it too much to ask that the company trying to earn our business can not only name the file how we display our name “LinkWorth? And if you can’t do that, at least SPELL IT RIGHT!

Since I have to narrow the 5 companies down to 1, I have to find reasons why 4 are not a good fit. Spelling our name wrong was an easy decision. If they can’t spell our name correctly, how many other mistakes would they make? No proposal, wrong name, deal breaker. I responded to his email with this message:

> Hi Tony,
> I appreciate the time and the examples. This project is definitely
> something that is extremely important to our company. Attention to
> the slightest detail can make or break the results.
> There is no doubt that you and your company could probably help us,
> but when I get a file from you spelling our company “LinkWorth” as
> “Linksworth”, it unfortunately was a deal breaker for me. Simple
> mistake, I know, but a project of this size can’t have simple mistakes.
> In my eyes, if you’re trying to earn my business, you can at least get
> our company name right. It makes me think not much thought has been
> put into it.
> Best of luck.
> Regards,
> Ron Wicker
> LinkWorth.com

I thought I was being honest and polite. I would rather know that I screwed up a big job because I spelled their name wrong instead of never hearing back from them, which is why I explained why I was not interested.

Shockingly, I received a very rude response from Tony Fernandes at theUEgroup.com, who I’m not sure if I said already, is the President of theUEgroup. Evidently he says he tried to call my direct line and my mailbox was full, even though I only had 1 saved message in it. We have a complete digital phone system and everyone else was able to leave messages during the day without issues. Anyhow, this was his response to my message above:

I appreciate the reply. I think that calling the President’s number and winding up in a general voice mail box that is full is a deal breaker as well. If you want a company like us to work with a company like yours, we need to believe that you are real enough to have a working phone system with more than one voice mail box. It makes me believe that you haven’t put much thought into your business or how it appears to the outside. Its a small detail I know but in a world where we are turning away work, it helps us decide who’s real and who isn’t. Best of luck with your venture.

Am I missing something here? Were we hoping to strike a deal with theUEgroup? Does a phone, whether it had a glitch or not, tell you whether or not we are a real company or how much thought was put into the business? Wouldn’t the fact we were trying to contract them for this project tell him we put a lot of thought into our business and how it appears to the outside?

I think it is safe to say that Tony Fernandes from theUEgroup is unprofessional and is a little bitter that he screwed up the chance at winning our project. I doubt Mr. Fernandes would appreciate any of his employees speaking to potential customers that way. I know I wouldn’t. And I really like how Tony says “If you want a company like us to work with a company like yours“, as if he considers theUEgroup is far and above our company. I’m pretty sure if we matched details to details, he’d be surprised that we are much more prominent than he thinks we are. We also will be gettingĀ advice from HKM.

Needless to say, Tony Fernandes from theUEgroup has earned the Hall of Shame Award. I guess he hasn’t put much thought into how he wants his own business to appear to the outside. Guess they’ll all know now.