A new 4 Part Series here on Sport Card Collectors is giving our opinion on how to improve the hobby and its weak points.
Today's topic you knew had to come. Customer Service is crucial to the hobby. There are some companies that are better than others. And one that is really bad. But a lot of my buying anyways is based on this. I am sure you are the same. I am not going to buy from a company that doesn't respond to its customers and respect them.
Here is my breakdown of each of the three main companies and my thoughts on their customer service upon my experience. And what they need to do to improve their customer service so it helps improve the hobby.
Panini- I have seen complaints on their Facebook about their Customer Service but I have never had a problem with them. Their redemption process is the best of the three companies in terms of entering in your redemption and turn around time. I do see some people have been waiting for cards, but others wait much longer with the other two companies especially Topps. At least with Panini, you can get a card replaced. I have also had missing hits and damaged cards before and they led me to what I needed to do to get the problem fixed and within a couple of weeks I had my card(s) back.
When I call their CS phone, they answer within a reasonable 10-15 minute time span usually. I email, they answer within a couple hours. And on Twitter, the CS is outstanding. I can ask for a replacement on a redemption and BOOM its done. Plain and simple. Their customer service at one point was not great, but in the last two years, by far they have the best.
What They Need To Work On: The one place Panini doesn't do well is on Facebook. I have seen a lot of customers with questions and complaints but not getting answers. I think they should do what they do on Twitter on Facebook as well. Maybe set up a Panini CS Facebook page.
Upper Deck-Upper Deck has always had a decent Customer Service. I have had luck with them, however my luck has been better through emails than by phone. Phone calls can put you on hold for up to an hour. And yes, the elevator music can get to you.They are pretty good about getting replacements out for your redemptions or damaged cards upon asking when you do get through. And sometimes will ask if there is a specific team or player you collect for a redemption replacement (and as I once learned they don't always give you what you tell them).
What They Need To Work On: Cut down on call times. I have to put my phone on speaker and leave the room cause I got things to do in a day and don't want to sit and wait. When I hear someone pick it up, I run back to the phone.
Topps- Words cannot explain how horrible their Customer Service is. They never respond to you on Twitter or Facebook when you have questions and actually they got rid of their CS Twitter. That alone has got to have you scratching your head. Phone calls to them can take up to more than an hour. And sometimes they can't even answer the question you ask. I have tried mailing in stuff before with them to get a card replaced, never got my card back and never heard a peep from them upon trying to get in touch about it. And I know they got the letter. And I know I am not the only one who knows how bad Topps CS is. I have seen it all over forums, Facebook and Twitter.
What They Need To Work On: EVERYTHING. Respond to your customers on Twitter and Facebook and point them in the right direction at least. Get more people to answer the phones. My biggest nod against Topps. It's so frustrating to have a question about a redemption, a card or a product and get no response anywhere.
I think sometimes Card Companies don't realize how much customer service means to people. I don't buy much in terms of hobby for Topps products fearing I would have to deal with CS. It's sad too cause some of their products I do like. So I just stick to retail when it comes to them and hope I won't pull a redemption. Since I have had the best experience with Panini, I give them my money when I have it. I am sure you guys do the same thing with companies you have had problems with.
Another thing I am certain of is that everyone's opinion will differ from mine as everyone has had their own experiences with each company. I am just laying it out the way I feel. But as always, we like to hear what you guys think. Who has the best, the worst or just the plain ugly.
This closes up our 4 part series. We hope you enjoyed it. We will have more future opinion stories as well.