Customer Service is the New Marketing

This post is slightly away from the norm when it comes to sports cards, but I will round it all together in the end. Customer service is the new marketing. This is not a new concept, but a concept in that which has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. In the past, you didn’t have sites like Yelp or Google Reviews or social media like Facebook and Twitter.

With social media getting bigger and wider with more people having the ability to post their experiences to a worldwide audience, a bad customer service review can cost you money. And in the other direction, a good review can make you some additional dollars.

I know most of us have made a decision based upon an online review of a company or a product. Hell, you probably visit this site for an honest review from my perspective on any of the products that I have reviewed, or even previewed. You take a look at my opinions, click some links, view some images, and look at all the details and price. I know I do my best to keep you guys happy. I hold promotions, contests, and try and engage you all in discussion. Luckily, I do this for a hobby and not a full-time job.

But when it comes to actual companies that rely on your hard earned dollar, customer service is more king then ever. Let’s take a look at the card companies and everyone’s favorite customer service department, the redemptions department.

We all know that redemptions are a pain. We all know that calling or emailing someone in that company’s customer service department in order to get our redemptions filled is a pain. But what is it that collectors really don’t like…is it the redemptions or the customer service in order to get our redemptions, or a replacement, in a timely manner?

Has your experience created an environment in which you don’t want to collect a company’s products or are apprehensive about buying a company’s products? How would you improve the customer service aspect of card companies? I’m interested in knowing so if you want to share, please post a comment!

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3 Responses to Customer Service is the New Marketing

  1. Harley Edwards says:

    My opinion is that redemption cards have no place in the hobby, especially ones where the manufacturer does not honor their end of the bargain regardless of an “expiration date”. Don’t know about you, but I have yet to see a sports card “expire” or go bad like milk or produce. As a consumer, I would rather wait for a product to become 100% live, than have it 2 months early and deal with redemptions. I feel the manufacturers have enough to deal with from the consumers without redemption hassles and complaints. If a guy doesn’t sign or is late signing, eliminate them from the product. Creating a redemption for an autograph that may or may not be signed is a waste of my hard earned money. From the manufacturers stance, they get paid either way. The product is sold to distributors and then is not their problem. They still have their money whether a player signs or not. If a player does not sign, they sue him, get their money back, and I still have no card as promised. An IOU is only as good as the person or company issuing it. I say make life easy, postpone a few products or eliminate them, and get rid of redemptions for the sanity of both parties. Have redemptions or redemption customer service created an environment or atmosphere where I will not purchase or collect a certain companies product? Yes it has, and it is entirely the doing of the company. I did not choose to put redemptions in the products, they did. I did not choose to not honor my end of the bargain. I purchased products as I have done for many years. They chose to not supply the cards as promised, creating an environment where their IOU means nothing to me anymore and I will not accept being duped out of my money. Once again, an IOU is only as good as the person or company behind it and I will not support a company which does not honor their IOU’s.

  2. KJ Lamb says:

    Redemptions are one of the main reasons I no longer buy wax,and will only purchase PC singles. I had a simple redemption from Upper Deck in 09,it was of Rudy Carpenter. It took nearly 4 months to receive the card,and even then I didn’t. I received an empty bubble mailer that showed no signs of tampering. Upon calling UD,I was called a liar. Now,for one thing I’m not going to lower myself to that level to gain a piece of cardboard with some ink on it.After sleeping on it, I was angrier than ever,so I gave UD one more opportunity to correct the situation. After nearly an hour on the phone,once again I was called a liar. Not once did UD think that they were the ones who made a mistake….only that I was lying about not getting a friggin auto of RUDY CARPENTER!!!!!!! I immmediately opened a case with the BBB in San Diego,and within two hours,I had a representative from UD on the phone kissing my ass trying to make things better and get the BBB off of their back.I received my auto within a couple of days as well as a follow-up call.but it was too late,the damage was already done.I vowed to never purchase a UD product again and I have stuck to my guns.
    UD is not alone though. I have dealt with all of the big 3 and all of their customer service needs to be updated,but It’s no longer my problem because the wax they keep producing…..I”m not buying!

  3. Matt G says:

    I will say that when it comes to customer service that Panini and Upper Deck are tops for me. But i think i will give the slight edge to Panini. Topps is awful. They dont ever respond to people on their facebook page who have questions. They dont respond to writings, emails, etc. The problem is, is I like their products but I dont buy too many because of it. Panini has great customer service and always gets back to me within usually minutes. I have only had one bad experience with them was with a redemption a couple of years ago, i had a redemption for a somewhat name player numbered to 25 and asked for a replacement since it had been 6 months and got a garbage no name no numbered player autograph player in teh mail. Unlike my Upper deck redemption replacement I got. I had a Carrie Fisher letter auto that I had replaced and got a Ken Griffey Jr jersey/auto in its place. I have had no other problems with Panini though. They are pretty awesome. Upper Deck is good at responding as well. Just not as fast. I would say I have seen a ton of redemptions being pulled from panini products this year. but, i understand its not there fault players wont sign in time. I would rather have the promise of getting a player that might be good instead of them pulling the person from their checklist cause they didnt have time to sign and replacing them with someone off the street. I find that this blog helps me decide whether to buy a product or not and honest opinions like yours helps me decide whether to purchase them or not. I try to give my honest opinion as well to help guide others with experiences i have had. I would say for facebook pages…Panini soars with all of their contests and interacttion with their fans. Upper is right behind.

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