Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Customer Service... The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

I have had some really interesting run-ins with customer service in the equine industry lately...

My first experience, I detailed when I bought my beaaaautiful Jeff Smith Cowhorse Saddle, the people at Frontier Western Shop in Claresholm, Alberta were absolutely WONDERFUL, and coddled, guided and helped me via email, phone, and in-person, every step of the way. Including taking in my old Circle Y, letting me return an ill-fitting saddle, and guiding me to one that I love and fits well! They also threw in a cinch for free, and guided me toward a saddle pad they thought would work best (Classice Equine ESP). In the end, I don't really like it as much (... post for another time), as my old standby - professional's choice SMX, but that doesn't matter - they honestly tried their hardest to make sure I was happy, and my horse was happy. I'm the type of person that appreciates that, and spends more money as a result. Isn't that the whole point behind customer service?! - Treat your clientele like gold so they continue to always come back, and spend lots of money.

Secondly, I went to Horse Life to get a saddle pad repaired and cleaned, they have a wicked fast, and cheap, cleaning and repair service. The store manager then educated me on a range of blankets, and I ended up buying one. He did make a semi-snarky comment about western riders, but he was pleasant and really easy to deal with. I was happy, and impressed with his product knowledge, honesty, attitude, opinions etc.

Then... 2 weeks later, I had to call them to see where my pad was - they had told me repairs were 10 days at the very most. Apparently the lady was a little behind due to a big order, and mine would take a couple more days. I wasn't bothered, but if I had needed the pad ASAP I would have been. However, when I went in to pick up my pad the staff was really nice and attentive, the repairs on my pad were excellent AND when I brought in tags showing I didn't think I had recieved my 20% off from last time, they were quick and no questions asked, refunded me the difference.

& then... there is the third customer service experience... which was not good at all. Atleast for this week, Lammles, you lose, big time. I shop at my local Lammles pretty regularly, especially for clothes. They definitely aren't the best with their immediate customer service, atleast at the location I shop at, they don't say "hi" and you have to go to them if you need help - but, that's okay, i'm a pro shopper, so I don't need to have my hand-held and don't mind being left alone.

However, one day, i really did need help and when I asked the lady working she seemed less than happy to oblige. I was looking for a cheap rain sheet for these hot days-cool nights we've been experiencing. They had tons of stuff on sale, and when I asked if they had my size in something on sale, she just stared at my blankly. Okay... I started to feel customer-guilt, I'm not some bargain-bin only shopper. So, I asked her for full-priced items, it then took quite a bit for me to finally get her to walk over to the blanket display (a big wall, requiring a ladder) and help me look. Then, that took her quite some time. Then when she finally found something, she threw it on the ground and kind of wandered off... No product knowledge, no assistance, no nothin'. Okay, one bad egg, I've worked, and been a manger, in retail - I get it.

I went over to the desk to see if I could order in a cinch I need. I had been in a couple weeks previous and was looking for the particular cinch and they were out of stock. I was later informed by a friend that works at another location that, they can order things in for me - that was definitely not offered that day... So, I went back, same day as blanket fiasco, and was handed over to a young boy who seemingly didn't understand what a "cinch" was. Okay... now i'm being snarky, but after 10 minutes he finally got me a Weaver catalogue, threw it on the counter and told me to find the cinch.

So... I proceeded to sit there, looking for this random cinch. Once I found it, I told him that I could take one of two, depending what they could order in, and what size I needed. I then had to prompt him to write my personal information and the cinch information down. This was all under the eye of the man I know to be the Store Manager...

Whatever. Atleast I got my cinch ordered, right?


I called today and spoke with a girl who sneezed, coughed and sniffled into the phone without apology, who asked me "Well... like... did anyone write your information down?"... Yes. "Did they like, write, it, in a like book?" .... No? Maybe? I don't know? Well.... she then went to speak to the store manager and came back and said "Oh ya we got an email back awhile ago, your order would have to be a special order. So like no one called you? Wanna order it? It'll take anywhere from 5-8 weeks to get here."

No. I do not want to deal with you at all.

& so, in a last ditch effort for her to redeem herself, I dropped the customer service F-bomb, "No, that is fine, I will just order it online off of Irvines."

Her response, "K bye." click.


So, Frontier - you win this week. Your personable, happy to help, well educated staff, never fail to impress. I am more than willing to take the 1.5 hour trek to your store because of how amazing you guys are, and if my gas light is low - your online store is the one I go too first.

Honestly, all I do is spend my time on the internet looking up tack stores, tack sets, funky tack, etc. etc. So perhaps I should just go and open my own tack store - 50% all my original blog readers ;)


  1. It is really hard to find good customer service anywhere, seems they are either overbearing or totally missing. We go to a smaller store in strathmore called K and K livestock and she is really good in there too, and we too go to Lammles in strathmore just to look, but I find there stuff to cheap mostly so just buy clothes there and there is one lady in there that is always super helpful. I am so picky about what I want no that it seems I don't need anything that I sometimes think I annoy staff, lol.

    1. I agree, and with horse related stuff I do expect a lot of product knowledge and good customer service from people, so maybe my standards are too high? haha

      I've heard good things about K & K, but have never been. Lammles in Calgary are really hit and miss, I understand that the ones that are purely clothes and cowboy hats wont have the best knowledge of tack, but the ones that carry tack should atleast hire people who have an understanding of what they are selling too you. But you're right, I find there stuff cheap as well, and rarely buy tack there unless it's little things I need to pick up super quick.

  2. Come to the Lammles in Olds! They are fantastic! I think they have addapted to the fact that we have an equine program at the college and the only tack stores in town is Lammles and a small private company called the Tack Coral. I got my blanket from Lammles and my boots and I had to order my boots in, When I go in there there is always someone that follows you around asking if you need help haha kinda annoying. And they are all really knowledgable and helpful. especially this one guy, knows a shit tone about hats and how to keep them in good condition.
    Come to Olds haha best Lammles.. good for when you don't want to fork over your college discount and go to Irvines.. :P