OK... I believe it is time for me to step forward and clear the air. It appears anyone can display whatever they want to gossip about without getting the facts from the source. Well, I am that source. To me this is not the manner in which to handle complaints.
Have I been totally perfect in all my dealings? No. The biggest complaint has been time factors on custom items. I do want to encourage you to go to other builders too and check out their turnaround time and you will see a whole new perspective. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to show integrity in good customer service and make things more than right with complaining customers? Yes! Will this posting ruin my reputation... possibly. However, I am willing to say... yes... we have made some mistakes along the way of growing our business (which is now in a 3,000 sq. ft. workshop and still growing) and I am trying to do all I can to rectify the issues at hand. I would like you to please read a letter that I sent to my customers who's orders I have fallen behind on. I wish to share this because you need to know both sides. You be the judge of wheather or not I truly care about building a strong reputable business. Just for the record, I am sure I would be banned from here if I complained about certain dealers that have well established names. I am a small business guy trying to grow and do the right thing, yet somehow that gets overlooked in the who's who of magic. Perhaps this is why I belong to no organizations or the reason you do not see me at conventions. Yet somehow we must be doing something right if we have repeat customers of international proportion. Anyway, here is the letter I sent out on Wed 4/30/03 at 8:59 PM.
Dear Extreme Reality Illusion Customer,
I have decided to sit down and write an email to my customers that have been experiencing excessive delays with their shipments. Please allow me to apologize once again for the lateness on your order. To say that you have been patient is an understatement, but I am sincerely sorry.
As you are aware, your order is not the only one in which I have been behind on. I also know that many guys in the magic community do not believe me when I say that I will do what I can to get you your items and then some, but I will. Frankly, many guys are irate and have threatened to hit the message boards, bad mouth, and/or take legal action as a personal attack on me and my business. These are the guys that I am trying to keep happy, but because they are unwilling to give me the chance to make restitution they will only receive what I owe them. On the other hand, many of you have been extremely considerate as I try to get caught up. I understand the frustration you and them face. Especially when you may have been told that it would ship on a certain date and then nothing. I could offer a ton of excuses, but I wont. Bottom line. I am highly embarrassed and have literally been sick because I want to make things right. My goal has never been to just collect your money and then never deliver what is owed you.
While we are still catching up on orders my new policy is that I do not collect payment until items go out the door. Getting behind has taught me some valuable lessons. We also now work with a building contract which states deadlines. I have also limited myself to taking minimal new orders until I am caught up unless I have the stuff already in stock. I have been working 18 hour days in which to catch up. I just drove a Shadow Stretch Box illusion 800 miles to a Canadian magician because I felt obligated to let him know that he is important to me and my business. Additionally, he allowed me the opportunity to make things right. Now if I can just somehow show you that I care about and value you as a customer. Yes, we have had delays. There is no doubt about that, but we are growing and sadly we are having growing pains, but at a very high risk of losing you our customers. I do not want that to happen, even in spite of the present situation.
The good news is that I just hired my first full time person for the shop. This means that I can concentrate more on good customer service and better communication. I understand that seems to be a resounding gong, but I assure you that I desire to show you my integrity whatever the cost. We are pulling out of this present situation and are on our way to a more successful business. Obviously that success depends not only on our integrity, but having customers.
Please allow me the opportunity to make this whole thing right with you. My turn-around time is diminishing and we expect to be caught up COMPLETELY within the next two weeks. I wanted to find out if I could do anything for you in addition to shipping you your order.even if it is a custom piece? In the interim please be watching for your order to be shipped out very shortly. I will be notifying you of the airbill numbers as stuff goes out the door within the next two weeks. Feel free to call me on my international toll free line (below) with any questions that you have.
Still truly yours..
Illusion Designer and Builder
Extreme Reality Illusions
There's my letter. All I can do is my very best and that is exactly what I am doing and plan to continue to do.