It all happened in a matter of minutes late one Sunday evening at my desk. I was on-line ordering promotional visors for our new book from Stitch America in Bremen, GA. I had selected the visor color, style, and words to be stitched in a particular font and thread color. After loading in my credit card information, I sent off the order into cyberspace.
I was about to turn out the light to go to bed when I received a text message on my smart phone, “Mr. Bell, are you still up? May I call you about the order you just placed?” I responded, “Yes.” Within less than a minute, the phone rang. “This is Tonya. Thanks so much for your order. I want to give you super-fast turnaround, but I want to make sure you get exactly what you wanted.” I was thrilled someone cared on a Sunday night about an on-line order. “The font size you have chosen will be too hard to read. May I suggest doubling it? I can send you a PDF photo showing the front of the visor in actual size.” I agreed, hung up the phone, and went to bed.
When I turned on my computer early the next morning there was the photo from Tonya. With it came a short email note, “As soon as you give me the word that this is the best-looking visor you have ever seen, I will get it into production.” Two days later I got an email and text message from the production department that the visors were finished and being packaged for shipment. Later that day, I got an email with a photocopy of the tracking order. Two days later a follow-up email came indicating that their system showed the order had been delivered. And, then, Tonya called again. “Are you totally thrilled with your order?” I totally was! But, the Switch America service made me want to give up shopping centers forever.
We are in the era of self-service and automation. It enabled me to place an order when I wanted to and the way I wanted to. But, Stitch America left all the people-serving-people in their cyber-technology. They made me feel valued and important. And, they made my order seem like the most important work they had done all year. It was new old-timey service at its finest.