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Am I out of touch??

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  • Am I out of touch??

    Forgive me if I am out of line here. But I really want a consumers point of view. I have a little shop I run myself. With the economy to keep prices low I have dropped my inventory down. I had a customer order something. I did not have it in stock. She needed it by the 11th. I called the company that makes them. They had one left. I seized it. However they were doing their inventory and would not ship until Monday. I notified customer immediately. Told her I would get an exact ship date. Called the company back set up two day air at my cost to get this item to the customer by the 10th. Notified customer. I get an email back saying she has never had to wait so long for shipping and cancel the entire order after myself and the manufacturer busted butts to find a way to get it to her on time. She ordered on the 2nd and did not note expedited shipping. Am I wrong in being upset? Total time from order would have been at most ten days. Had I had it in stock it would have shipped within 24 hours. What do you expect when ordering online?? If this had been you would you feel the same as the customer?? How long is too long and do you feel better when youre notified personally of out of stocks or back orders?? Sorry for the long post but I really want to provide the best service. I thought I did the right thing.

  • #2
    Seems to me you went above and beyond the call of duty.
    Took extra steps to get the item..... kept customer aprised of the sitch.... spent money of your own to make sure customer got what she wanted, when he wanted..... got it before the "deadline".
    Next time she calls, you don't have to be so accomodating. Or make her pay ahead of time, at least.
    Inhale-- exhale-- You're the good egg.


    • #3
      You definitely did the right thing, and then some! There are just some people who expect immediate gratification from everything & are out primarily for themselves. Your commitment to service is admirable - not everyone cares as much. I would do business with you


      • #4
        I too have a small tack and feed store and have done the same as you have to get an item in for customer that I am out of or do not usually carry. I felt bad when I had to start asking for deposits on special orders. It was the only way I could ensure that the customer was really going to be back to pick up the item. Even then, I have been stuck with things that have not been picked up, and are not items that I usually sell. I have actually taken to selling off items on Ebay so that I could make up the money I would have lost if I let the item sit in the store unsold.
        And it hurts even more when you have gone the extra mile to ensure getting in the item on time for someone. You did all the right things to keep your customer informed and happy, but some will never be happy.
        Keep up the good work.


        • Original Poster

          Wow, thank you all very, very much. Yes she did get free shipping so I was actually loosing money on the whole thing. I just thought maybe I was crazy and this is how business is done elsewhere. Again thank you all for your responses. I can stop stressing now


          • #6
            It does sound like you really bent over backwards to accommodate this customer.

            But - can you see the situation from the customer's point of view as well?

            I don't know what this item was, and I do think it makes a difference. If you are ordering a piece of custom tack, well - that kind of thing is rarely in stock and you'd expect to wait for a special order. But if the item was something a bit more commonplace, then you might expect to find it in stock, or at least fairly readily available. You can call it needing instant gratification, I suppose, but in this day and age, when consumers have so many choices to shop a variety of outlets, it's just part of doing business.

            If I order something from a tack shop in the US, I wouldn't expect to have to pay expedited shipping to have it arrive 9 days later. Even with a day or two to get it in the mail, that would be enough time for a package to reach me even sending it clear across the country via ground service. Heck, I order fairly frequently from a tack shop in the UK, and routinely have my items in 2-3 business days (with no extra shipping charges, just their normal and very reasonable fee.)

            If this was something you'd normally stock, and that the customer would reasonably expect you to have on a shelf... I'm not sure they behaved so poorly. Yes, it would have been nice for them to recognize that you tried hard to get the item and meet their deadline, but they might have been unsure you'd get it there on time, and preferred to get it faster in order to be sure.

            I totally recognize that you tried very hard to satisfy your customer and I am *not* suggesting you did anything wrong, just pointing out that the world may look a bit different from the customer's POV.
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


            • #7
              I'd say Luccassb and I are pretty much on the same page.

              Was the item something that you normally had in stock before so there was an assumption of it being available now? Or was this an item that you have never carried and so it was truly a special order?

              Was it something showed online or in an ad, which would lead the customer to think that it was in stock?

              To me, these are subtle but important differences.

              There is an assumption on the consumer's part that if an item is shown in a catalog or online, it is readily available; this is quite unlike the expectations with a "real" store, where the consumer generally can choose from whatever limited stock is on the shelf and may be able to special order something (usually paying part or all of the cost upfront). The average consumer gets a little peeved when a product shown for sale on a website or in a catalog -- and especially an ad -- isn't available.

              As a customer, I understand that back orders happen. But it still makes me cranky. Also, as far as shipping times, again, it depends on what the item is, where it's coming from and whether it's a special order, but for the most part, anything I order online is generally on my doorstep in a few days and seldom more than a week later (except for one big-name catalog company whose name will never darken my lips or credit card again ).

              I shop through catalogs and online because I **can** get a wider selection of items and often at better prices than my local "real" tack stores. But it's usually not worth it to me to buy something online if there will be a delay before I get it. Now, sure, I **know** that a special order -- monogramming, color designs, special leather -- will take longer; but if a "standard-issue" item is shown in a catalog or on a website, again, there is an expectation that it's available and ready to be bought and sent.

              It sounds like you went above and beyond for your customer, which is GREAT and you're to be applauded for that. Still, clearly something went wrong in the communication between the two of you; I wonder if the customer thought your store/website is a bigger venture than it is and thus thought that the item was sitting in a warehouse. If that were the case, then I can see the customer's POV.
              Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!


              • #8
                It's the internet's fault.

                Sorry this happened to you!

                You are making a good decision to keep inventory low when you still need to pay rent, employees, taxes whether or not we are buying.

                And you are put in a hard position by the possibility that the consumer can get their stuff elsewhere, pronto, or believes she can.

                As another poster pointed out, many of us have generally lost faith in our local tack stores because they have cut other corners in terms of customer service.

                What to do? Keep trying to offer something that generates loyalty in your customers. While that didn't pan out in this case, it may be generating repeat business in others. Try to please those customers worth pleasing. There are some of us out there who remember special efforts made and will come back for that reason alone.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                  What to do? Keep trying to offer something that generates loyalty in your customers. While that didn't pan out in this case, it may be generating repeat business in others. Try to please those customers worth pleasing. There are some of us out there who remember special efforts made and will come back for that reason alone.
                  Absolutely. I go out of my way to patronize businesses that provide a higher level of customer service. In this day and age, sometimes that's the only thing that distinguishes you from the competition. Good for you.


                  • #10
                    If it's something I could get in 2-3 days by ordering online, and I 'needed' it, I would have a hard time justifying waiting 10 days to buy through my local tack shop --

                    Saturday my trainer mentioned a bit that he had ordered Friday at a local shop -- They told him it would take 2-3 weeks to get in -- He asked if I could get it faster online -- I checked, and it can be ordered directly from the manufacturer online -- If he's willing to spend $25 on overnight shipping, he could have the bit on Tuesday since it will not ship until Monday -- Even if he chooses the free ground shipping, the bit would take no more than 5 days to ship --

                    I'm guessing the tack shop is dealing with a distributor or just tells everyone '2-3 weeks' for everything -- When the customer can get the item overnight by ordering online from the manufacturer, '2-3 weeks' doesn't cut it --

                    OP, I do see that you bent over backwards to provide good service -- One of my best friends used to run a tack shop, and I know the efforts she made on special orders -- I do wonder if this customer was able to find the item in stock elsewhere --
                    "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                    • Original Poster

                      It was an item that I had just ran out of and the company that makes them (breeches) seriously only had one pair left. If I had shipped them out in 24-48 hours with the ground shipping she had chosen she still, with the holiday would not have gotten them until the 7th. So I choose to have the company 2nd day air them to her with them still arriving on the 7th. (east to west coast) The biggest problem now is not only are shops keeping their items down but makers of items have also cut production. It makes it very hard. Backorders are the highest I have ever seen. I do not like to wait either. I notified the customer right away and was still going to get it to her on time. I too want my stuff as fast as possible. I just thought she would be more appreciative that I had done all that to still get them to her before she needed them. I guess it felt like a slap in the face is all. Most of the time I get things to customers in a couple days. When out of stocks happen I still can usually do it in a week to ten days. Its when there is a nationwide backorder that things get bad, but at that point you wont find in anywhere else anyway. You may not notice these days but a lot of online tack shops are drop shipping to save money. Its just not possible in todays world to keep every size of every color of every item. We would go bankrupt. Thank you all again. Its nice to get this feedback.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by Beezer View Post
                        I shop through catalogs and online because I **can** get a wider selection of items and often at better prices than my local "real" tack stores. But it's usually not worth it to me to buy something online if there will be a delay before I get it. Now, sure, I **know** that a special order -- monogramming, color designs, special leather -- will take longer; but if a "standard-issue" item is shown in a catalog or on a website, again, there is an expectation that it's available and ready to be bought and sent.
                        This is what I am looking for. I think that people generally assume that when shopping online they think that everything they are seeing is sitting on that stores shelf. I can tell you that is not the case except for maybe Dover and my stuff from them always takes like two weeks to arrive. I dont think that many people think that the store offers everything a maker has but does not necessarily carry it all. I stock the popular colors and popular sizes. I know a few other online shops much bigger than me do the same. It used to be when someone orders something we dont have, we call that vendor, drop ship and the customer never notices anything. Now, like Irideon as an example. Half the time I call the item is on backorder. Production is down everywhere. Saddles are the worst! Its the times, I know, and it will get better. But I do see now that the expecations are still there and I will have to be careful and maybe drop some items off the site altogether and just do what is popular.