Good Service Makes All The Difference

I feel like social media is very quick to point out when companies or brands do something bad/wrong. Which is totally fair… I appreciate knowing things like that so I can take it into consideration when buying something. There have definitely been several times that I’ve used my own social media and blog to vent and warn people about situations that I was frustrated with or times that I had a dissatisfactory experience.

I also make an effort to commend these companies when they do something great, or go above and beyond. So today I’ve got two goods and one bad to share… settle in for story time, my friends.

It just occurred to me that I also talked about Romitelli the other day, letting me switch out the custom boots I ordered for something else because I didn’t like how they came out. They get some bonus points for that also.

On that note, let’s start with good ones.

I think at this point a lot of saddle brands – particularly French ones – have a bad reputation, the CWD/Devoucoux conglomerate of brands in particular. So many of them are known to have horrific customer service, or – best case scenario – your experience depends entirely on your rep and how honest/willing they are to stand by their product. Unfortunately a lot of those brands also seem to run through reps like Kleenex, so… that part becomes a bit sketchy. The internet is full of horror story after horror story of saddles that don’t fit and the brand refuses to make it right, or just completely ghosts people, or what they got isn’t what they ordered, etc etc.

I had never ordered a new saddle before so that was something that really freaked me out last year when I was thinking about buying something. Its a lot of money to fork over to someone you don’t really trust. Which probably makes my decision to go with Arion even more head-scratching, being that they’re a newer brand, but 1) I knew the FL rep via a friend, outside of his involvement with the company, 2) I dunno y’all, I just had a good juju feeling, ya know?

And I will say with confidence that they will stand behind their products 100%. Let me tell you what had happened.

Everything went pretty smoothly when I ordered. Rep came out, I tried saddles, horse got fitted, I ordered, saddle came like 4-5 weeks later (which is insanely fast for a custom saddle, most companies were telling me 12-16 weeks). They did forget to do the blue piping that I’d ordered around the cantle, but they offered to either take it back and put the piping on, or I could have some accessories for free. I chose the accessories because honestly I didn’t love their blue that much anyway, it was a little bright, and I was by that point already questioning my commitment to the blue. Worked out fine. I love my saddle.

Fast forward a bit and the bottom of one flap was starting to wear weird. I sent a pic of it to my rep, who responded immediately and said “it shouldn’t look like that, let me talk to the owner of the company.”. Half an hour later I have a text back that says it looked like a defect, they basically went too deep with the stitching so it caused a weak spot there in the leather, and they would make a new saddle for me for free.

They did want to check the fit again on my horse though before they re-made it, since it’s been almost 10 months and Presto is a young horse, which could mean he had changed since the first fitting. I appreciated that, and their desire to make sure it was right. In the meantime there was a different rep, Kristin, that was specific to the Ocala for the winter season (my original rep was based in Wellington), and when I saw her set up at one of the shows we got to chatting and I mentioned the whole situation to her. When I saw Kristin again last weekend at TerraNova she was like “Did you get your new saddle ordered?” and I was like “You know what, no I haven’t done that yet.” and she immediately offered to put me on her schedule for this week. Even though she wasn’t the rep I originally went through, and none of this is her issue to solve. She knew it would be faster and easier for me since she was already here in town, so she offered that to me completely of her own free will, which I appreciate a lot. She didn’t know me from Adam, there was no reason for her to offer me that.

Kristin came out on Tuesday and immediately thought that we should change the panel configuration a bit. Presto is definitely wider than he was last June, and she thought he needed a bit more room in the tree. She had me ride in one of her demos that had a slightly different spec with the panel, simulating the fit she wanted, and I could definitely tell a difference at the canter, so I think she’s spot on with that. When I mentioned that I wished they had glitter piping (their sample photos only have a few basic colors) Kristin was like “Oh we can order that if you want it!”. Um, yas please. Give meh the glitterrrrr.

So now I have a whole brand new saddle coming, with an updated fit to the panel, and black glitter piping – even thought its been almost a year since I ordered the first one. It should be here in about a month, so stay tuned for the conclusion of this story, but I have to say that I’m extremely pleased with Arion’s customer service and their willingness to stand behind their product and make sure that’s it’s 100% right. A lot of other companies would not have gone to anywhere near this length, that’s for certain. They have been so incredibly pleasant to deal with, and their company seems to have a heavy emphasis on customer service. It actually feels like you’re working with the whole company instead of just the rep. It’s refreshing.

Good story number 2 is (thankfully) much shorter. This one goes to Design by Dalia Lehmann, a Polish company.

A few weeks ago I lost my whip, so I had to go into Tack Shack to order a new one. I love my black and silver glitter theme, but it does make for a mega-boring whip that isn’t very distinct, so after much deliberation (like SO MUCH… color is hard for me) I opted to add a little purple to it. I got black with a purple stripe, a silver glitter stripe, purple stitching on the popper, and silver lightning bolts on the popper. It’s not bright but it’s still fun, and purple was my mom’s favorite color so it’s a bit of an homage to her.

I ordered the whip and, because of who I am as a person, I was like “you know what I need – A SHOW COAT TO MATCH IT”. Specifically this one, which has had a grip on me for several years.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it here before. I dunno why I love it so much but I just do. The super dark purple, the black crystals… it’s just chef’s kiss. Did I need it, no. Did I want it, yes. Y’all know how this goes.

So I left it in the hands of fate and decided that if I could find a good enough coupon code, that would be a sign from the gods to buy it. I looked around for a while and discovered that I’d actually missed a coupon code by just two days. Dangit. No coat for me then I guess. I commented on the post something like “Darn, saw this a couple days too late!”, not thinking much of it, and within 5 minutes they had PM’d me a coupon code to use.

Look y’all, who am I to spit in the eye of the gods. Clearly it was their will.

But really though, I appreciate that the company did that for me because they certainly didn’t have to. They could have just as easily ignored me or vaguely hinted at a future sale, or some such thing that most places probably would have done. This is the story of how I became the owner of a coat I know my mom would have totally loved.

Now we’ve saved the worst for last. Or mostly just… the confusing one? The annoying one? I dunno, I’m puzzled by it.

Back during the Christmas/New Year’s time frame Empire Research, a supplement company, was doing several days of giveaways. Most of the days were to win a certain supplement, and then the grand prize last day was the entire product line. They have a salt and an oil and some cookies that I was interested in, so I entered and won. They tagged me in the post, sent me a PM asking me for my address, and I shared the post to my stories as a thank you.

Nothing ever showed up. I have messaged them several different times for an update. The first time they told me they had already sent it and it should have been delivered, and they said they’d look into it. I never heard back. A couple weeks later I messaged them again, no response. A couple weeks later I tried again, still no response. They’ve read all my messages. I’ve given up.

Did they “wrong” me? No. But it does leave kind of an icky taste to do a big giveaway thing, clearly pick the entrant with the most followers as your winner, get your shout out from me, and then ghost me entirely. Like… why? They’ve continued to be active on social media, their website is up and running, so there’s no particular reason that I can find. I’m also not hard to please, if you just respond to my messages and tell me what’s up, I’ll happily wait a really long time. I am the queen of taking forever to do shit because I am a busy human being, so I completely understand that part. But… the reading my messages and choosing not to respond at all part. That part I don’t love. At least respond and tell me something. Now the whole thing just seems sketch.

I have to assume I probably dodged a bullet there with that one?

Have you had any good or bad experiences lately?

8 thoughts on “Good Service Makes All The Difference

  1. Just curious about what will happen to your current “sewn too deep” saddle when you get your new one – do you have to return it, or do you get to keep it?

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  2. That purple will sure look good on a grey pony!!
    That is nice that you are getting a new saddle. I will definitely try that brand when I get a new saddle. Bring on the customer service!!

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  3. Horrible experience at a local Dover. I ordered boots online and couldn’t even get them on even though they were the size I always wear. So when I went to the store I got yelled at that they couldn’t even sell them because they were damaged. They looked brand new. I did not damage them at all. Definitely not going back even though it’s the only actual tack store for miles… I’m glad some companies actually do customer service!

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  4. That dark purple coat 😍

    The supplement company sounds shady. They wanted free publicity and didn’t actually follow through. Hadn’t heard of them before, but won’t be considering them at all.

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  5. I recently had a great experience at a local ski shop, does that count? Haha. I was shopping for ski boots, called one place and they said “We don’t even sell a boot that’s less than $600, and that doesn’t include fitting” [my budget was $500]. Somewhat dejected, I called another place and asked the same questions, the guy said “Oh we have at least 3-4 boots in your price range, come on by and we’ll see what we can do.” So I stop by, work with the same guy to get fitted, and he says, “Well, we don’t have the boot I really want to put you in here, in stock. But, uh, here’s what you’re looking for. Call around.” So I did, found it at another place (there are 6 ski shops in town…), and bought it. But the other place couldn’t fit it like the first place, so I took the boots to the first place and said “Paul told me to get these and have them fit this way, but the other place wouldn’t do it.” So while I didn’t buy the boots from Paul’s shop, I did have them fit there, and had such great service, that I sent a friend to buy boots there (which he did, and goggles, and potentially skis as well…)

    Any shop where the personnel care so much about getting what’s RIGHT for you that they actually suggest you “call around” to find it, has permanently earned my business as my “first choice” in shop.

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  6. I love this! I’ve recently been on a tack-buying binge and purchased several bridles through Masego Horsewear, based out of Sweden. They specialize in bitless, and (my favorite) bitted/bitless convertible bridles. Their bridles are lovely, their prices are great, their shipping is fast and free, and their sparkly browbands are 🤩. Most important, their service is fantastic, they have helped me apply coupon codes, and when I wanted a browband that showed out of stock, they found one for me, as well as finding me an oversize browband that wasn’t even on their website. I left them great reviews of course, and when people in a bitless FB group I’m in ask for recommendations, I always suggest Masego with a description of their excellent service. I have to stop buying tack because I would like to stay married, but I’m keeping my eye on them!

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  7. Wow, that’s really impressive from Arion! A whole new saddle and even suggesting on their end you might be ready for a DIFFERENT one. I’m impressed. I was fortunate to have a similar (but different) experience with my Butet for Al. I ordered one last spring and by the time it came, Al had outgrown it. They made me a whole new one, all the while allowing me to use a loaner that was brand new when they handed it over to me. I’m not sure if it was just my local rep being above and beyond (shout out to Ride Bedford) or if that’s the norm for them, but I was very appreciative.
    As for the supplement company, I’ve actually had that happen twice. I once won a giveaway that was via a blogger, but donated by Ovation and never got the prize. And another time I won a gift certificate from a tack shop that never materialized either. I really don’t get that. Like, no they haven’t wronged me per se, as I didn’t give them any money, but why offer something like that if you don’t plan to actually do it? It just makes them look bad.

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