BBB all that you can be…

Since the CafePress business model and this blog are founded upon an invitation for open conversation, we’re thankful to a local blogger for bringing something to our attention that started a conversation within the green walls ’round these parts.

It seems that CafePress carries an “unsatisfactory” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) due to not having resolved a handful of complaints with said agency/the consumer. Yikes.

We are a Customer-first company that prides ourselves on being an industry leader in Customer Service. That we had this rating was bad enough; that we weren’t aware of it was pretty embarrassing, and we don’t look good blushing what with the chartreuse walls and all. On the plus side, the situation let us know that our process for handling these kinds of complaints was broken, and we’ve now taken the steps to fix it.

As of the time of this writing, we’ve responded to the BBB with documentation to close out all
the outstanding issues.
We’ll follow up and make sure that our online profile is adjusted accordingly, as that is now part of our new process.

The first thing we did when we saw the rating was investigate the complaints. Most of them are from
2005-2006, and a couple are from 2007.

It’s worth noting that during 2005 and 2006, both our “main” office and our manufacturing facility moved. Since we had 4 different addresses on file and since, at the time, complaints were sent via snail mail, we’re pretty sure that a few were lost in the mail. Yes, it’s a lame excuse – and that’s why it’s not an excuse. We should have kept our mailing address up-to-date, and we didn’t. Shame on us, and apologies to our postal carrier as well as those folks who, it would seem, couldn’t find us. (How many holiday cards did we miss? We’ll never know.)

We hired a seasoned Customer Service Manager in 2006. Once he started, he changed our process for BBB complaints to allow for self-management and e-mail notification. This is a great system unless you forget to check into the system and clear out resolved issues, which is apparently what happened with a couple issues. Whoops. On the plus side, the consumers had their issues resolved and are none the wiser.

We measure our Customer Satisfaction scores regularly and work hard at putting programs in place to improve customer satisfaction. Although we will always strive to improve customer satisfaction, we have made great progress. We’ve improved from a 7.7/10 rating in 2005 to a 8.3/10 rating in 2007, which makes us happy that we hired aforementioned Customer Service Manager.

Truthfully, the blog post and the BBB report made us happy overall. We were happy to find a simple way to fix a broken process, happy to be able to close the loop and revisit a handful of folks who deserved better service, happy to have a conversation started that’s of import to our business, and happy to see that we had such a small number of complaints given that we are the industry leader and, as such, do ship significantly more orders than others in the space.

Which is to say that our Customers’ happy:peeved ratio is one that we’re smiling about.

[buzzcowboy note: these unresolved issues have all been closed as of 5/9/2008, and we’re back to a satisfactory rating.]

  1. wow…a cs mgr and all you did was make a .5 jump? hoorah

    monitoring your own blog and only permitting “approved” comments?

    maybe your rating is tied to the fact that your prices are absolutely ridiculous.

  2. Hey a.c. –

    To expound a bit on our CSAT scores: Total Customer Satisfaction went up .5%, which is a step in the right direction. Please know that we are, as ever, working to continue that score. In the same time period, our CSAT on Customer Service actually went up to over 9/10. So yes, we’re glad we hired the Customer Service Manager, as he’s the one most responsible for the latter rating.

    As for moderating blog comments: we moderate blog comments to spare readers the irrelevant litter of SPAM and commentary unrelated to a blog post. I moderate comments on my personal blog for the same reason, and so do most I know. Generally, readers don’t want to sift through “6 easy questions and a chance to own an iPhone!” while trying to read legitimate comments.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Wow, I was shocked to discover CafePress had issues with the BBB. I’ve been a customer since fall of 2007 and have never had a problem. In fact their return/exchange policy blows me away!
    I’ve always had prompt service, great products and superior customer service!

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