Somewhere along the way, Woot dropped the ball. Between the huge delay for those who bought a shirt with a bonus and the issues with the Shirtoberfest sale …
The previous shirt.Woot-off went quite smoothly, I think. I got the email from support that very same day and arrived two weeks later; what happened this time, I’m not going to guess, but something needs to be done to assure that it won’t happen the next time around … if the customers are even going to be back then. Folks are buying shirts/hoodies/etc. because they want them … and it’s disappointing when told 3 weeks later “sorry, we’re sold out - here’s a refund.”
Hmmm - perhaps they changed that. My past experience is that replying does go back to support. Nonetheless, it doesn’t diminish the issue at stake here, which include the lack of inventory and communications not passing through to the proper department(s).
Several months back, the founder of another shirt site had this to say:
“I know a large number of you have been experiencing long wait times, especially when it comes to receiving responses to your emails, and I wanted to apologize to you if you have had a bad experience with us up to this point.
Nobody should have to wait to hear back from us, especially when there is an outstanding issue that has not yet been addressed. …”
I can’t imagine that it was something easy to admit for the founder, but it was the truth. While I don’t have every detail to the changes, more shirts did go into production, and many orders were replaced, not refunded.
I know it’s different here at Woot, but some sincerity and assurance, from someone with authority, that fixes are in place goes a long way in mending a customer’s impression.
Good catch! I thought I’d fixed that in my reply, but I had not! Now my reply is going to the proper place.
ETA - How difficult would it be to have a designated email address for this, say ShirtBundle@woot.com, that routs back to the person handling this? That way, all mass emails go out from this address, then all replies got right where they should.
I know it’s too late for this sale, but maybe in the future - an ounce of foresight is worth a pound of hindsight.
I’ll hope my posting is somewhat reassuring, but frankly we need to deliver and not simply reply to comments. There’s not an excuse for keeping people in the dark, but please know there is nothing deliberate about the lack of transparency. In this particular case, our email transition is likely to have exacerbated the situation. The other contributing factor is that we’re trying new things that we have to develop processes for. I feel like we spent too much time over the last year avoiding doing new things because we were concerned with developing these processes in advance. The truth is, we don’t know what we don’t know and the best thing many times is to try something and revise the next time through. I can see that might be annoying to you guys since that may mean some hiccoughs along the way. If it is reassuring, know that we take this super seriously and it’s all meant to keep us interesting, relevant and fun. Thank for keeping us aware of the impact to you guys and all I can say is I hope you know we’re making every effort to improve with each new promotion.
Thank you, Joel, for taking the time on a Sunday morning on a holiday weekend to address this.
A couple snippets …
Reiterating this part, as such planning is understandable.
With that said, don’t be afraid to use the board for feedback ahead of time to help with the processes - Purplepalooza is a great example (heck, it brought me back.) Such can also guide when and where attention needs to be paid towards (the print placement on the mugs). Does it remove the element of surprise? Yes, it does, but it builds anticipation too - both in the desire for the product (like!) and if there will be hiccups (it may take a month is more acceptable when it’s disclosed up front).
Shirt.woot has always been very community oriented, but practically everyone knows how it’s been (sadly) diminishing over the past year and a half - some of it over self-generated reasons. I feel that letting the community get involved ahead of time can certain enhance their experience and keep them more active with shirt.woot.
One huge aspect that might not be readily apparent is that when someone orders an item, it is because they really wanted it; they’re buying it because of the artist and/or design, not for the quantified ink and fabric. Production snafus and logistics may dictate otherwise, but when an item isn’t delivered, the disappointment it creates can go well beyond that sale.
To Woot, it was a refund; “no sale.”
To the Wooter, it may well be “no sale … ever again.”