Learnings - Part I
We believe this blog is a good medium not only for sharing knowledge on the brands we sell, curious facts about selvedge denim, or ideas for outfits, but also to give visibility to situations that we, as a small business, often have to face.
We want to share things we’ve learned that we think are of interest for you to know about, and that some of you will perhaps find useful or will inspire you if, like us, you own a business or are thinking of setting one up.
We normally tend to share only the friendly side of the things that happen to us, and social media is a good example of this. In our case we share positive reviews by our clients, how quickly a product has been sold, the number of orders we prepare each day… but we should all know that this does not represent 100% of the day-to-day reality.
Last week we received an email from a customer who was disappointed with our customer care service because we had not answered their query as quickly as they expected. They wanted to acquire a pair of jeans but hesitated over the size and, in the time it took for us to answer, their size went out of stock.
We understood their fury at their size going out of stock in such a short time, but we explained that, as we inform in our auto-reply emails, the customer care service hours are M-F from 9 am to 7.30 pm. Despite this, it was a Sunday afternoon (outside service hours) and Eduardo and I were working from home on answering emails, among them this customer’s, which they had sent us only the day before.
The customer was not satisfied with our answer. They could not understand that we had not answered on a Saturday morning, when that is a day when shops are open.
This led us to several thoughts that we want to share – here are some of our LEARNINGS 📖
1️⃣ The first of them –which we also shared with the customer– is that, even though our online shop is open 24/7, we who work at Redcast are not available 24/7.
At Redcast there are few of us doing the work of many –customer care, daily contact with suppliers, launching new ideas and products, preparing orders, managing social media; and as in any business –whether online or offline– we believe we need to work a certain number of hours and have leisure time for enjoying, disconnecting, getting inspiration… something which, in our opinion, is essential so that we can go back to work with eagerness and thus provide a better service.
As entrepreneurs, Eduardo and I spent several years working tirelessly, even feeling guilty whenever we took an occasional break. However, we reached the conclusion that this did not make our business better but quite the opposite, since it caused us high levels of stress and exhaustion and, consequently, demotivated us.
2️⃣ If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that running a business is no easy task, and in a shop such as ours, customer care is one of the biggest challenges.
In this regard, we want to give visibility to the frustration, for both owners and workers of a small business, of dealing with unhappy customers and being faced with comments or criticism that are occasionally unjustified. It can sometimes be very discouraging…
However, we believe that it is all useful, even more so when it involves our customers’ feedback.
Of course we make mistakes, so keeping all of our customers satisfied is no simple matter, but we do want to emphasise that if there is one thing where we make a daily effort at Redcast, like many other businesses, it is, insofar as we are able, to give you the best experience and customer care.
3️⃣ As a last thought, we know that it may be complicated but, between us all, we need to make an effort to learn to differentiate between buying from a small business and from a large ecommerce platform. Sometimes customers demand from businesses such as ours the same conditions offered by other giants in the sector (free shipping and returns, 24-hour customer care, etc.) without taking the size of the shop into account, or that your order comes from another country, or that the production costs of those products you buy are high and therefore profit margins are smaller…
Those giants have spoiled us and we would like to raise awareness that the reality faced by the vast majority of businesses such as ours across the world is totally different.
We hope you’ve found this post of interest. And if you want us to write more about these kinds of topics, please let us know in your comments👇 Thank you for reading us!
Comments on this post (17)
Hi, I have ordered twice from Redcast Heritage now, and both times, my order was shipped to me extremely fast and I was very impressed. I am in the US, and both times it took two business days for my order to arrive. I have placed orders domestically in the US with other shops, where sometimes it can take 5+ days to arrive.
I did my own research on the sizing I needed (UES polo shirts) so I was confident that they would fit and they did.
This is probably one of the best shops in the world for Japanese denim and quality clothing in general, and I’d highly recommend them. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, there are always going to be unsatisfied customers. I have worked in the customer service industry too, and it is just impossible to please everyone.
Thanks so much for the UES polo shirts, I wear them all the time, and hope to order some more stuff from you guys again. Don’t let the hate mail discourage you, you guys are doing a great job!
Dear Isabel and Eduardo
I’m Konrad from Berlin. I have only purchased from you 2 or 3 times since there are several shops in Germany with similar offerings. From the times I purchased from you and had e-mail contact with inquiries I can tell you are very professional, well organized and friendly.
Having read the negative comments you received and the circumstances that lead to these comments, I want to tell you that you’ve done all one can expect from a business your size.
In fact you are doing much more than many competitors who don’t provide measurements at all.
My girlfriend also runs a clothing store and fashion label and she has to deal with the same kind of customers. There are people who just can’t handle disappointment and act childish as a reaction not knowing how negative public comments can affect a small business.
That being said you have reacted to these people’s issues in a very professional way. Sending out this “learnings” mail, shows how much you care and that you still want to improve even though there is nothing to improve.
To sum it up: you guys do amazing work!
I’ll definitely be watching your shop as closely as I did before and will be happy to purchase from you again.
Keep up the great work!
All the best,
— Konrad Seifert
Thanks for sharing this! I really appreciated the “behind the scenes” view of what it’s like to run a small business in our lovely little niche. The internet clearly brings out the worst in some people and unfortunately no place seems to be completely impervious. I find it especially hard to understand how some can’t separate “shopping” and “shipping” these days. Sure, there are some tricks to quicken handling, but in the end we’re dealing with a different service provider to your shop altogether. Anyway, let’s not get bogged down. Stay positive and know that many of us appreciate what your provide to the community.
GOOD QUALITY NEEDS TIME.
To refere to this sentence Isa & Edu are a high quality, friendly HIGH SPEED TRAIN.
Two years ago the two and me sent four times!!!!! exchange parcels until I got the best fitting pair of jeans at my german home. In less than 3 weeks! In cooperation with the Chaos twins “german&spanish post” !!!.
All the complaining Sissys and MFs shall order their Quick, flimsy shit at Amazon and shut the f**k up.
Due to Isa&Edu I learned such a lot about quality denim.
THANX A LOT,
being self-employed for almost 25 years I had my fair share of bad experiences with discruntled and moody customers, who cannot be reasoned with. So I can understand your frustration.
In the early years I always thought, it was my fault and so I did everything to fulfill their wishes. I still do the latter, but without the self-doubts, that it was all my wrongdoing.
Plainly put, there are many misanthropes (i.e. a******s 🙈) out there, who wrote it on their plate to make other people‘s lives miserable, because they are miserable.
As a business person you cannot ignore them, but with a different mindset fade out their rants into white noise. That‘s how I do it. So much better now. 🧘♂️
Anyways, you guys are awesome, your shop is great and your customer service is impeccable.
Keep up the good work!
As a relatively new customer my experience has been excellent. Great product range & service.
— Ian Vickers
Love your shop and your customer service in person and online has always been excellent! Keep up the good work :)
Dear Isabel and Eduardo,
I am from India and have purchased twice from Redcast (including an exchange once on account of size :) ). Your learnings blog was quite insightful. Many a times we are focused on getting what we want, that we fail to understand that the Redcast team is striving to do the very best for us, its customers. And we let our emotions take over us for minor hitches and react. You are doing an amazing job and spoiling us for choice. Thank you for doing what you are doing. I am cheering for you!
Hey—this is a great idea for a series. I’m considering starting a retail store in Detroit, where I’m from, and I’m curious about how you went about getting brands to allow you to offer their stuff when you were just starting out?
— Steven Zacks
I think your customer care is among the best and most personal anyway…period!
I remember being unhappy with import taxes adding significantly to a Rogue Territory jacket I brought a couple of years ago, but ever other part of the experience was flawless, especially the hand written note and pin badge (which I kept). I raised it and later noticed that you had fixed this very issue. Thanks 🙏. I went on to but a second lined Rogue Territory Jacket, but it was because of your care and attention to details and that you listened and made the application of such taxes clear in the experience. You could add chat bots but I’d hate that! In the example above I’d have worked with you and given you a chance to find me those jeans next time around!
Don’t lose heart – most of your customers globally know what a treasured experience you provide here. Thanks from a happy customer in the UK.
— Barry Kartar
Nicely put, and running customer care (amongst at least 3 other things) for a fairly small business I completely empathize. Truth is there will always be one person who’s maybe had a bad day or who just can’t see things from other peoples perspective and they will make you feel that the customer isn’t always right but feedback is always valuable and even the harshest most unjust can be learned from. I’ve yet to make a purchase from you mainly due to financial constraints but when I’m ready to invest in my dream denim rest assured it will be with you guys
Good luck and well done for raising this.
Hi Redcast!,I love this blog post. People need to realize what small business owners go through. I personally do not know, but hoping one day life will take me down that path. I completely agree with people being a bit spoiled with big e-commerce stores. It would be wonderful to see a blog post about how little stock you guys recieve. Both old and new customers need to have a little insight into how little stock and products you get. New customers need to understand that brands like Pure Blue Japan or Samurai Jeans don’t mass produce their products. They are not a Levi jeans company. Seasoned denim heads know that when a new release comes out that it’s possible we may not see that particular denim fabric or maybe that color, style of shirt for years to come. Or possibly never again! :( and as true lovers of these brands we jump on the opportunity to grab those special pieces. Unfortunately causing them to sell out pretty quickly.
— Matthew S
Hi Isabel and Eduardo,
I consider myself a new customer since I have just entered the world of raw denim, but I have already purchased two pair of Jeans from you and one was gifted by my girlfriend.
I shop online weekly and honestly I have never or close to never found owners who are so nice and caring like you guys.
Prior to purchasing my first pair of Samurai, I wrote so many emails to Eduardo that I must have given him a headache; however, he always responded and helped me without sounding annoyed, ever.
I just wanted to share my experience. No one is perfect, but when dealing with you it is clear that you care about your job and don’t do it only because of the economic return.
I’ve had nothing but great dealings with Euardo and his team. Sure, things might happen, nothing is perfect. Eduardo will email me back as soon as available, I do not expect 24 hr around the clock service, this is not possible or acceptable for a small business or shop with normal business hours.
I have great communication before any purchase ensuring fit, to avoid any possible return. Everything I’ve ordered has been a spot on fit because of this great communication.
The person upset about samurai selling out should have purchased a pair then sent an email asking about fit, at least he or she wouldn’t have completely missed out. Sort of illogical if you ask me and unreasonable, then to leave a “disappointed” note, c’mon of course limited 25oz samurai jeans are going to sell out!I just want to say don’t let a few bummer customers get you down, I too work dealing with customers and one thing I’ve learned over the years is no matter how hard you try, you simply will not be able to please everyone. Some people have a different expectation how they should be serviced, which often times is more than unreasonable. I buy from the bigger shops and the smaller ones and red cast heritage has turned into one of my go-to places to shop online for great clothing. Wicked selection and service all around!
Keep up the great work! I ordered several times now at your shop and I’m more than happy with your service and responsiveness.
Dear Isabel and Eduardo,
I think you are doing an excellent job
Having shopped at Redcastheritage multiple times I have had nothing to complain about. Your customer service is very good and deliveries have always been quick.
There will always be dissatisfied customers – learn from them and as you do try always to get better.
Having my wife who also has her own firm I definitely understand your need to take time off and charge your batteries.
Balance is important
And sharing your thoughts on these subjects shed light on your business and struggles
and make you ‘only’ human 😁☀️
Coming to Madrid next month I hope it will be possible to drop by you ?
— Torsten Termøhlen
Hello.last week I was trying to track down a pair of Redcast heritage x tanuki limited to 100 pairs . As I had not been able to buy from your site as they are out of stock . But I found a site selling the same pair of jeans the site is Redcastshop . They posted on their site the afore mentioned jeans for sale in their discount sale priced at 92 usd . When I made the buy their through PayPal it turn out that the only way to secure the jeans was by donation via PayPal . They then sent confirmation that I had got the jeans and as yet I have heard any more .the reason for my email is to make you aware of this site . Best regards Peter .
— Peter Brigdale