Friday, November 16, 2007

The land in which customer service is king

I'll be honest with you- if I'm treated poorly in a store, I won't go back. Having learned the valuable lesson about financial independence at the ripe old age of six, I have always believed in the power of the consumer. [This lesson was courtesy of Auntie Wolf, which I'll likely post soon.] Good customer service always warrants praise; bad customer service warrants the dreaded word-of-mouth anecdotal kiss-of-death.

I shop at stores where I am treated well, and I buy products that are of the quality that their pricing dictates. I won't post pictures of yarn from companies that do not stand behind their products. If I have noticed a problem with their yarn, and they have not dealt with it to my satisfaction (knots, deceptive labeling, etc), they won't get any promotion here. I'm not so petty as to rip down posts where I had previously mentioned them, but I also won't give information that will help support what I consider to be bad business practices. I hold myself to certain standards of integrity, and as a reader, you are entitled to the fruits of my experience.

So, here is how I go about dealing with a product problem:

Step 1: Notice the problem.

Step 2: Call the LYS that I bought it at. If I ordered it directly from the company, call them. Politely address the issue.

I'm going to emphasize the politeness. Nobody likes dealing with a raging knitter. Take deep breaths, and remember that these are generally nice people who like knitting, knitters, and what they're doing. The nasty people are the exceptions, not the rule.

Try to laugh about the mishap, while still gently impressing the importance of the problem.

Step 2a: Call the company directly, if possible. Repeat schpiel from the LYS discussion, let them know that you've talked to the LYS.

Step 3: Work out a solution.

Step 4: Knit happily ever after.

So, for your reading (and shopping) pleasure, here is my most recent customer service experience with Claudia's Handpaints.

Phase 1: The Issue

The yarn: Claudia's Fingering weight merino- Ink, dyelot 004.

The project: Andrew socks, men's size 12. [For those playing the home game, that's 7" of cuff and 12" of foot.] One pair of many in the "Black Sock Project".

Ink socks, Take 1:

I cast on, and plowed through the first 6" of cuff. Knot. Okay, knots aren't cool, but one, I can deal with. Knit another 1/2". Four knots in less than ten yards. Uncool.

Go to Purlescence, show the Purl Girls. I fork over the cuff (7" at this point), and they happily hand over a new ball, and apologize for the inconvenience. Awesome.

Ink socks, Take 2:

Cast on. Plow through cuff, heel, instep. Go see Dan in Real Life. In the theater, knit 8" of foot. Knot. Sigh, consider the [7 + 8] 15 inches of sock knitted, plus the lost 7 inches [Home Game: 22" of menĂ¢€™s sock knitted so far], and decide to continue. Hit 7 total knots before the end of the foot, most of them, in the toe. Sigh, and complain at Andrew.

Phase 2: The Solution

Call Purlescence, show them the frequency of the knots (marked with stitch markers), laugh at the horror. E-mail Claudia.

At this point, I'm a little miffed. I weigh how much yarn I have left on the ball (5g), and talk to Andrew about using something different for the toes, because I'm not comfortable with so many knots being in the toe box of his shoes. What's the one thing I like less than knitting black socks? Darning black socks that Andrew has grown attached to.

I got a lovely phone call from one of Claudia's elves (whose name slips my mind at this moment), where we talked about what had happened, and how to resolve it. At the end of the call, everyone was happy, and I had a preview of what Purlescence is getting in the mail next week. (Bwa ha!) I also have the distinct pleasure of knowing that Claudia (& Co) really do care about putting forward quality products

Now, so do you.

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