One More Great Customer Service Story

Several years ago, the mother of a Staples athlete volunteered to help sell team t-shirts as a fundraiser.  Naturally, she went on the internet; isn’t that where you find the best deals?

Sure enough, internet vendors sold shirts for $3.49.  But — surprise! — there were other charges:  design, set-up, shipping, you name it.

AThletic Shoe FactorySo the team mom checked out Athletic Shoe Factory.  Though hers was a low-profile item — nothing like the high-volume gear bought by Westport Soccer Association or PAL football players — manager Chris Buchner spent hours helping the mom with the entire process.  She received more patient help from Tim Nash, ASF’s designer (and a Staples grad) who’s earned praise from teams in countless sports, at many levels.

Recently, I saw ASF’s magic first hand.  Traditionally the Staples soccer captains design their team t-shirt.  Tim worked with our captains to create a compelling look.  It was great on the computer screen — but when the shirts came in they didn’t look right.  Without waiting for a complaint, Chris initiated a fast re-order.  The replacement shirts were in by the start of tryouts.

The start of fall sports — and Homecoming — are crazy times for ASF.  Teenagers order mind-boggling custom shirts and hoodies.  Meanwhile, stressed-out parents and little kids clamor for shoes, shorts and equipment.  ASF is a scene of controlled chaos.  The staff is always cheerful, never harried — and very helpful.

ASF is the 1st business to buy a program ad, donate a raffle prize or do whatever is asked.  The response is the same:   “We’re happy to help.  What else do you need?”

No, ASF’s t-shirts are not $3.49.  Then again, neither are the $3.49 t-shirts on the internet.

And when was the last time any web vendor cared about Westport kids?

asf Hoody

A sample of the logowear designed and sold by ASF.

5 responses to “One More Great Customer Service Story

  1. Agreed, the team at ASF is amazing. Patient and creative.

  2. Patty Haberstroh

    Westport’s Department of Human Services also appreciates the generosity of Chris and his team. For several years now, they have donated hundreds of pairs of sneakers and cleats to our Back to School Program, thus allowing our client families to choose new shoes for their children’s return to school. Hats off to Chris!

  3. It should also be noted that both of Chris’ stores – Athletic Shoe Factory and its neighbor, ASF Outdoors – have always hired Staples students (like my daughter) as part-time workers

  4. …and their ability to compete against the national chains such as Dick’s and Sports Authority is quite amazing… shows how customer service and customization is a true brand differentiator…

  5. Chris Buchner is the messiah of Westport.