I have long believed in the importance of a wedding album and have often written about this or the many different types of wedding albums but this time I want to tell you about a recent experience I have had with two different album suppliers. I too have been reminded of the lessons ‘you get what you pay for’ and ‘all that glitters is not gold’.
I have always offered albums from one company for the purposes of this article we will refer to them as Company A, I have over the past 15 years come to love their service and products and attention to detail.
Company B as we will refer to them have been a more recent introduction as seeing some of their amazing products at a trade show I was wooed with their dazzling display and vast array of products and promises of speedy turnarounds and a UK based service rep. So, for the last 5 years I have offered their products also.
Now on to the scenario that has led to this article.
On the 11thof September I place an order with Company B, as a matter of course I insert the required image number for the cover and attach the file to the order. I have in the past few years had a few issues so as a matter of precaution I email customer service on the same day in the UK and ask them to double check the order to ensure the images are correct. On the 17thof September they respond and say they have sent a message to production to make sure, this email has taken a week to respond to.
Ok so seemingly things are looking good. On the 5thof October almost one month later I place a different order with Company A. No extra emails to confirm as I have confidence in their production and team.
Over 5 weeks later on the 18thof October Company B delivers the album, but it is not correct and the image on the cover is not the right one, despite the order clearly stating which image to use and the alleged email from customer service. Immediately I call the UK customer service as surely that is why you have a local rep ? A message is taken and no call is returned. I also email photos of the error and original order to ask this to be sorted asap.
After I have called and left a message again Company B responds by email on the 19thof October that they have contacted production and will let me know when they hear back from them. On the 22ndof Oct still not hearing anything I call again and eventually get a call back from someone I have never spoken to or emailed saying that they will let me know when they have heard back from production, still not feeling assured and increasingly angry and the inability of customers service or production to communicate.
Finally, on the 23rdI have an email telling me that production would like the album delivered back for fixing, surely this is not news? We have wasted 4 working days in which time it could have been sent back to the production team? Without hesitation I fill in the courier paperwork and it is picked up within 3 hours, that’s great service from the courier at least. I am notified of its arrival at production by an automated email on the 26thof October.
Now back to Company A, on the 31stof October, whilst we are making dinner and putting out the jack-o-lanterns for Halloween the DHL man arrived and instead of ringing the doorbell he just threw the package over our side gate. This is over a 6 ft drop and of course no amount of padding on a large album will cushion the fall. I am alerted to this with a text saying my album has been delivered to which we are perplexed but eventually find. I open the package and find that only the album cover and box are damaged. I call DHL, to which I get a very pleasant customer service agent who is incredibly apologetic and requests I send photos of the package and damage and reassures me that they will ensure it is returned to the supplier for reprinting or repair immediately. I also email Company A who are in a completely different time zone and currently sleeping.
Within 4 hours of DHL catapulting Company A’s album I have had an email from DHL apologising and thanking me for sending images, and an email from Company A reassuring me that they will get the album picked up and asses what needs to be done. The very next day, the 1stof November the paperwork is through and DHL picks up the album and it is off to be repaired. I am notified that it is received and they are able to reprint and repair the cover on the 6thof November.
On the 5thof November I call and email Company B again, it is now 8 weeks since the original order and the clients are wondering what is taking so long. Again, I am not called back, the question of any sort of refund is completely ignored and I do not get a response until the 7thof November when I am told it should be shipped by the end of the week. On the 9thof November I am told it has been shipped via the automated email system. This is 10 working days after it has been returned.
Ironically Company A also lets me know that the repair is complete and the album has been shipped on the 9thof November a mere 4 days after receipt. So, on the 12thof November in the afternoon DHL actually delivers not one but two albums.
Both albums are finally present and correct and I can now look to personally delivering them to their homes. If we look at the timeline we will see that Company A took just over 5 weeks from the original order to complete. The service was seamless, the communication was clear and quick. The album was also much bigger and more complicated. The reason for repair was also not down to anything they had done.
Company B took 10 weeks from the original order to complete and the stress caused from lack of communication and lack of action was immense, and only added to my furry. It occurred to me that Company B was more interested in its “rock star’ ambassadors than the little gals like me. The other interesting thing is Company B is less than 3 hours flight away and it is over 23 hours flight to Company A.
What this experience has taught me is several things. The first and most important is that customer service is so important, a problem can be made so much better just in the way you deal with it. I was ready to let rip with DHL but the customer service agent was absolutely brilliant and could not have been more apologetic and helpful that there was no way I could stay angry. The second is that I too can be lured by the shiny new products and the promise of cheaper and faster turnarounds and not to beat myself up about it but to learn from it.
So, from this day forward I will no longer be offering Company B’s products and I will only be offering the beautiful hand-crafted products of Queensberry (Company A) to all my clients.
If you want to find out more about the wonderful Queensberry then I suggest you check out their website. They are a small New Zealand company with a big heart, and their products will last a lifetime and their service is second to none, and they treat every client even the little ones like me like a ‘rock star’.
Below is just one of the wonderful albums they have created for me and my clients over the years.