As our customers already know, I am a stickler for excellent customer service (poor customer service drives me mad in my personal life, let alone allowing it to feature within my business!). In fact, we have just taken on another fantastic person to join our Team (official news coming soon on that big announcement) because I don't ever want our customers waiting too long to get an appointment.
Most people are pretty sensible about the logistics of coordinating our visits to you all and understand that to get to where you live we may have to strategically plan our journey with visits along the way and coordinate other customer visits within your area. We endeavour to organise these visits regularly, because for us, all our customers matter.
However, this passion for customer service is not at the heart of many of our competitor brands. Some saddle brands can invest hugely in event visibility by attending all the big shows and will throw free saddles at hundreds of riders to get a brand presence and talk a really good sales talk (or so we hear).
Sure, it must look impressive at first glance, but have you ever taken a more in-depth look at the longer-term picture for you, your horse and your choice of saddle?
A little reminder on us:
a). Our brand investment mainly goes back INTO our business by supporting our customers with fantastic customers service (hence another new team member) this is why we don't appear at every big event on the UK show circuit.
b). We don't throw free saddles at riders either (our riders choose to ride in Childéric and are not paid or getting freebies).
c). We aren't pushy in our sales tactics. We're Specialist Childeric Saddle Fitters foremost, not salespeople. Our team have no targets to achieve other than customer satisfaction and happy horses!!
Ultimately, we want a long term relationship with our customers. We also want a long term business plan, which can only be based on customer satisfaction! Without happy customers, you have no business model. Childéric Saddles UK is here for the long term. With new brands emerging in a flame of glory and then fading in a puff of smoke - where does that leave you and your horse? Let alone a saddle worth a fraction of the price you paid?!
We do inherit plenty of unhappy customers from other brands. They have had bad experiences, and their lack of trust can make those early days challenging for us all.
The sad fact is that it’s often the same story; they bought a saddle that they weren't 100% sure about, but felt pressured to do so. Or they had seen the brand about a lot and thought they would give it a go, then were pushed along the brands' sale funnel and ended up by buying something that ultimately wasn't right for them or their horse.
We don't operate as a sales team - we genuinely care about our customers and their horses' welfare and happiness. The problem is the bigger picture. What happens when the saddle needs a check? For one unlucky person we heard from - who had parted with a good part of £5K on a new saddle to discover a week after riding in it, that it didn't fit their horse, only to be told that they would have to drive the horse for 3 1/2 hours to the saddle manufacture to get it checked?!
You wouldn't choose a farrier just to put shoes on your horse without knowing their expertise, training, reliability and reputation. So why would you invest a considerable amount into buying a saddle only to discover that you don't have the follow-up customer service you need with a saddle and that no-body cares?! It's like buying a car without wheels! You need the wheels (saddler fitter) to ensure that the car you've just bought is fine to use and will continue to be suitable for the job for years to come.
Very rarely, we too might get the complaint that a customer rang one of us and we didn't call them back. If this happens to you, we apologise, we are only human (and usually either in the middle of checking customers' saddles or driving to customers to check saddles!), and yes, occasionally we might forget.
If you don't reach us the first time, then drop us a text, and we'll come back to you. I always ask customers to contact me on the phone, as each morning I have six different places to check for messages (Instagram, Facebook, Text, WhatsApp, Contact Forms, Emails) so, if you want a prompt response, please ring me!
We are fast approaching our 10th anniversary in June this year, and I put this down to not only working with beautiful saddles but having a Team of talented individuals around me that care so passionately about our reputation and our customers. Most of the people I am working with today have either been with me from the start or known us for many years before joining us. We worked out that for a brand that is only a decade old, collectively the length of time that our brand ambassadors have been associated with us for spans over 143 years between about 24 riders! (average 6 years) Yes, our riders too, have long-standing relationships with us.
So, if we do ever forget anything, please do ring us. Take reassurance that when you choose a Childéric Saddle, you are buying from a business that is built on a solid, proven reputation and a Team that genuinely cares about every single customer and horse, not just for today but in the long term.
Discover Tricia’s Expertise In Fitting Saddles In Her Blog On The Importance Of Choosing The Correct Saddle Cloth For Your Saddle.