Panini’s Customer Service Improving

With a recent transition from old customer service personnel and starting once again from the ground up, it looks like Panini is on the fast track to repairing one of their biggest issues, customer service.

One of the biggest complaints coming from collectors who collect Panini products has been reaching someone to deal with their redemptions, and then having someone actually follow through on handling it.

Well, this recent experience by yours truly is definitely one of my top experiences I’ve had dealing with a card company’s customer service department.

I was browsing on Twitter one night and I follow the Panini Customer Service Department on Twitter (@PaniniCSM). I saw that they had offered through Twitter to take some reference numbers for old redemptions. I jumped at the chance because I had a redemption that had been sitting in there since March 2011. The card was a 2010-11 Panini Crown Royale Scratching the Surface Rick Nash Autograph #/100.

I had tried contacting Panini in the past through their redemption part of the website with little luck, but did make sure I put in the request, “If this card is not manufactured, I am an Edmonton and Carolina fan if you take requests.”

So I sent off my reference number to the Panini CSM Twitter account and the next day I got a reply that replacements have been pulled and shipped. It was then updated on my account by the end of the day what the replacements were.

While the sale value may not be the same (I remember seeing the redemption selling for $20), I had these cards sent to me. And honestly, I don’t care about the sale value when it comes to something that isn’t valued extremely high. I like getting cards for my personal collection in return, which I did.

2011-12 Crown Royale Scratching the Surface Bill Ranford Auto (Bruins uniform but Edmonton rink, meh. I know I’m picky.)

2011-12 Crown Royale Scratching the Surface Ales Hemsky Auto (Hooray, my first Hemsky auto!)

2011-12 Crown Royale Heirs to the Throne Jeff Skinner Patch #/50 (Nice!)

Overall, it was definitely an improvement over the past issues at Panini. I didn’t even have to pick up my phone and it was done extremely quickly.

If you haven’t followed @PaniniCSM on Twitter, it’s time to do it. Voice your Customer Service concerns and questions you may have. I think it’s finally in capable hands.

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!

Blowout Cards vs. Dave & Adam’s Card World

Recently many of you have been reading and viewing my card reviews on YouTube and on this very blog. Since I have not been in contact with the sports card companies yet as far as helping review products, I have purchased those boxes in which I have reviewed. The exception being 2010 SP Authentic football and 2010 World of Sports as I won a contest on Upper Deck’s Facebook and those were my prizes.

When I purchased the 3 recent boxes, I used two different companies online in order to kind of rate and review each company on customer service, price, and shipping methods. Basically each of those things is something important when you are purchasing your cards online. After this post, you will have the information you need to make the best decision if you are choosing between these two online dealers.

Customer Service – Edge DA Card World

DA Card World has a premier buyer program which I qualified for the last time I made a purchase from them in which they will give you even lower prices then they have on their website. Having a little reward program for being a customer who has bought from them before is definitely an incentive when choosing to buy from a store. Including these incentives is the free product they give out for purchases. Now the products they choose aren’t great and aren’t worth a lot, but it’s nice to get free things just for ordering from them. Lower prices + free stuff is always nice for being a repeat customer. Blowout has never contacted me for anything after I have bought cases of product from them in the past.

Price – Edge Blowout Cards

Blowout Cards name exemplifies the types of prices they sell their products for. Blowout prices. I would guesstimate that 85% of their products are the lowest prices on the internet, or anywhere for that matter. Every product I purchased in total was cheaper on Blowout then anywhere else online. Not only did they beat DA Card World in price, they beat all the competitors in price. If you include the free stuff I received from DA Card World, you could buy that amount at Blowout Cards and still save money. That’s how low Blowout Cards prices are. Plus, the box I pre-ordered from Blowout Cards didn’t even have a price on DA Card World. Obviously I’m going to choose the store that has an item up for sale and the price.

Shipping – Edge Blowout Cards

Both companies provide free shipping for orders over $150 which is great. There is nothing I like better then free shipping. But free shipping often is the slowest shipping available. Blowout Cards leaves this open for their choice of shipping at the cheapest rate. Here is the skinny on my shipping experience:

Ordered on Monday.  I ordered 2 boxes from Blowout and 1 box from DA Card World. But this is the most important part, one of the boxes I ordered from Blowout Cards was a pre-order on an item that didn’t come out until Wednesday. DA Card World shipped that Monday. Blowout Cards shipped the Wednesday the product came out.

First package arrived on Friday. Which one do you think it was? Definitely not what I expected. Blowout Cards’ package actually arrived in 2 days via USPS. I had to wait a full week for the DA Card World package to arrive via UPS. Both companies shipped from the east coast to the west coast. I was very impressed by the speed and choice of shipping by Blowout Cards in this transaction.

Overall – Edge Blowout Cards

Overall with these transactions I would go with Blowout Cards. The fast shipping and lower prices are definitely the more important things then customer service. The only thing that makes me sad is that DA Card World is an authorized Upper Deck dealer and Blowout Cards isn’t. I don’t know why Upper Deck ruled them out, but I’m sure it had something to do with politicking and all that mumbo jumbo. I will continue to use both companies as I see fit. If you can find a lower price on DA Card World, by all means, go for it. They are still a great company and their services are top notch. I will still use both companies as I see fit per transaction. But this time around Blowout Cards took the cake, and that cake is not a lie.

You can go to their respective sites by these links. Blowout Cards & DA Card World