October 19th, 2008

Shoes, Sox & Service

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I read a lot of blogs.  As you would expect, many of them are yarn-related while others are more general business blogs.  There are those I also just read for fun.

One of my fiber faves is Kim’s blog.  She posts on a wide-range of topics, not just yarn stuff.  She writes wonderfully and her posts often give me food for thought.  She posted on Friday about Zappos, which is a company I totally admire.  Why?  Because they totally get that it’s all about the customer.  They have built their business around the customer in terms of making their experience when shopping at Zappos the best it can possibly be.  They make it easy to shop, to return, to share info about products.  As someone once said (sorry for not being able to attribute the quote) “They are a customer service company that sells shoes”.

Now, last night our beloved Red Sox played Game 6 in the ALCS.  Steve & I and the boys got ourselves settled to watch the end of the pre-game and of course, the game itself.  I had even told the boys that they could stay up late (knowing full well they’d fall asleep while watching).  When we went to TBS, there was no pregame.  Then, as 8:07pm approached, there was no game!  We flipped to FOX, NESN and even TNT to see if for some reason the game was moved.  Nothing.  Back on TBS, a crawl along the bottom of the screen indicated “technical difficulties”.  Now we were grumpy.

We get our cable service through Comcast, as well as internet and phone service.  I attempted to call the 800# but got only a busy signal.  Naturally, every other member of Red Sox Nation was calling them too!  I knew whatever the problem was, it ultimately was not theirs, but since they are the provider I send my money to every month, they needed to know that this was not okay.

I remembered someone once mentioning that Comcast is active on Twitter.  I took a chance and tweeted their ComcastCares id asking what the problem was.  In under a minute, I had a response – a router in Atlanta had failed and it was being worked on as quickly as possible.  Okay, now we knew.  I was so totally impressed with the response. Rather than sitting on the couch, yelling at the tv and being mad at Comcast, we were able to start thinking about turning on the radio and/or going to Redsox.com.  Fortunately, the problem was resolved quickly.

The point is that both of these companies have figured out that the traditional means of servicing the customer are no longer good enough and are working really hard to utilize new technologies to reach their customers quicker, fast and more efficiently.  I’m feeling quite Comcastic today, I must say.

Steve and I often tell you all how much we appreciate your business and how grateful we are that you choose to shop with us.  We mean every word.  We know there are lots of places to buy yarn and we don’t take it for granted when you choose to buy from us.

We also realize that we’re not perfect – we make mistakes and that is just the worst part.  Knowing we’ve disappointed someone who trusts us enough to spend their hard earned dollars with us.  It happens and the best we can do is fix the mistake for the customer, fix the internal problem that caused the mistake to occur in the first place and move on.

When I first went to work for Stride Rite back in ’92, Erv Shames was the CEO.  I interviewed him for a paper I was doing as part of my MBA.  I asked him for his best piece of advice for anyone wanting to succeed in business.  He told me to never be afraid to make mistakes, because that’s how we learn and grow.  He followed that up with “but don’t make the same mistake twice – that is simply unacceptable”.  He was 100% right.

Besides upgrading the blog, we’re working on several other projects that will help us be better and make the shopping experience with us the best that it can be.  Stay tuned!


P.S.  Go Sox!


10 Responses to “Shoes, Sox & Service”

  1. ccr in MA Says:

    I agree with you that service is all-important, and too many companies these days don’t get it. The Comcast-Twitter thing is interesting, and for the first time I’m considering joining Twitter. If that’s what it takes to get through to Comcast…
    I’ve gotten good service from Webs, and I love the swift and ball winder my mother sent for my birthday. I think you’re doing a good job yourselves!

  2. kathy Says:

    ccr – I am still in a bit of shock over the Comcast-Twitter thing myself. The busy signal on the phone was exactly what I expected to get – I called almost just to validate my expectation!

    Thanks for the compliment on our service. We’ve got work to do to make things even better. Quite honestly, I get so excited about the possibilities!

  3. melissaknits Says:

    I love Webs. Just sayin.

  4. Mollysmum Says:

    Even the drop in the Aussie dollar exchange wont put me off. When you find something that works for you and you feel like you are treated the best way you can be, you stick with it.

    Im looking forward to your future projects Kathy. Hey, who doesnt love shopping!!!!!

  5. Cirilia Says:

    The upgrade is fabulous, and thank you for the linkage!

  6. Janice Says:

    Kathy – So glad you wrote about the importance of customer service, because so many businesses seem to take it for granted and don’t seem to prioritize it.

    And I am sorry about the Sox, even though they stuck it to the Rockies (my hometown team) last year in the Series!

  7. Melissa Says:

    I rarely watch sports on TV unless LSU or the Saints have a big game (isn’t that pitiful!), but I did watch last night with my hubby and cheered on the Sox just for you. Sorry it didn’t work out! 🙂

  8. Jennifer Says:

    Ahhh, Kathy. Sorry you missed part of the excitement due to a router in Atlanta. I am not, however, sorry the Sox lost. Pooooooorrrr Sox fans. (tee hee hee)
    Don’t like the Sox, but love your company!

  9. kathy Says:

    Jennifer – given the choice, I’ll take you liking WEBS over the Sox 🙂

    Thanks for the extra cheers Melissa!

    Janice – thanks for the support! Our youngest son was in tears this morning when he found out they lost. Very sad morning here.

  10. Pat Morello Says:

    Glad you wrote about customer service. That’s what it’s all about now, IMHO. People are going to spend money, but they are going to go where they feel appreciated. It’s what I strive to give all the time.


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