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Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Response from Hills Pet Foods - and my reply

Hello Tamasine,

First, I want to sincerely apologize for not responding to your original email. We all get busy and life gets in the way, but this is no excuse. You mentioned in your post that this is about politeness, and I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately time is limited and this is not what happened in your case - I let you down.

Your post is very complimentary of our products, which I appreciate and want to acknowledge. Sadly, my lack of communication gave a very false perception of who we are at Hill's. Hill's is an amazing company; an organization made up globally of pet lovers. We strive to fulfill our mission "to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets " and care deeply about the people and pets who allow us to be part of their lives every day - which brings me to your blog post.

You make some great points about the hubris some large companies have, and I find myself in similar situations in my own life. In this case, I was able to see the entire path you took; the emails and communications, your frustration and how a company you supported seemed to turn its back. I was also able to see if from the inside and how a few missed connections send a very strong, but incorrect message to the people we truly care about the most. It made me stop and think about some of my own recent customer experiences and why they took the path they did.

Please know it was never my intent to be arrogant, imply our individual customers are unimportant, or treat the people who matter to us most poorly. I understand your position and what drove you to write the post. I feel it is important to ensure you receive a response from me and hope you can understand.

We at Hill's are passionate pet owners - my dog Cici and Cat Roady are my life. One of the things I love most about working here is the wonderful opportunity to have a personal connection with people who also have a true passion for their pets.

Your journey is incredible and I wish you the best.

Kind regards,

Dear Lori,

Thank you for your email and professional response. As promised I will put it on Facebook and the blog now - I assume that you are happy for me to do this?

I understand that sometimes things slip through the cracks - we are all human after all. But is does seem a shame (and somewhat supports my view of corporates) that none of my follow up emails elicited a response, but I got a very quick one when I posted my views on Facebook and Google+.

I obviously accept your gracious apology, but ought perhaps to point out that the reason for the post was the lack of response to what was a sponsorship request. Your letter, however apologetic, even now and after all this time, still does not address this issue.

I should perhaps inform you that things have moved on a little with my plans since I last emailed you. I am still walking the camino - my next phase starts in October this year. However, in the meantime, I have connected with a dog charity group here, called Axarquia Animal rescue, and have discussed with them my plans to do the camino again, but this time with a dog drawn sulky (two wheeled dog carriage).

It is my belief that we can raise a substantial amount of money and arouse great interest in this unusual journey which should significantly help Axarquia in their excellent work with dogs in Spain, a country where, sadly, this work is badly needed.

As you know, we are long term Hills customers, but in the absence of any interest from Hills in response to our sponsorship request, we plan to present our case to Royal Canin (which would of course mean that we also switch to them as suppliers of our dog food).

I mention this, because it seems to me that you might be interested in marketing hills more heavily here in Spain, given that Royal Canin is so much more available here (and therefore more strongly supported) than Hills.

I might be wrong, but I would have thought a story such as ours might be worth telling, and worth supporting by your company.

I would be grateful if you would just let me know whether or not you are interested in supporting us. Until then, I will hold off for a short while before contacting Royal Canin, in the hope of hearing from you.

Kind regards,

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