Trustpilot - 10,000 Customer Reviews

Thanks to you, we've just passed the 10,000th review mark on Trustpilot and we are over the moon with both the quantity and the quality of the feedback we get! trustpilot_badgeHere it is, the review that took us to 10,000:

Having spent an age making my mind up what to buy from the humongous list of pens and pencils, the whole process was straightforward and hassle free. My order arrived at least two days faster than I was expecting and everything was just as I wanted - and I even had a sample of another type of pen to try! Really happy with the whole process and the result -- Mrs. Christine Elsom

How our approach to customer service began

In our former lives, we spent most of our lives in back-office IT environments. Our customer service experience came from dealing with the good, bad or indifferent customer services at whatever companies we dealt with as domestic users or as professional IT people.

Then we gave all that up and bought a stationery shop in a small town (long story for another blog post!). We learned customer service the hard way, in a place where everybody knows everybody else and where we were firmly part of that community, so getting it too wrong wasn’t an option.

When we launched Cult Pens in May 2005, we created a facility that simply didn’t exist in the UK at that time — the ability to buy a wide variety of pens, in packs or singles, plus all the associated refills.

We quickly discovered that the customer service that goes with providing such a specialist service can be challenging. Customers want you to track down increasingly obscure items; refill strange pens; advise on unusual uses; or just ask for advice on purchasing for themselves or as a gift. We thought we knew a fair bit about pens, but every other email or phone call challenged or added to our knowledge. ‘Which marker should I buy to re-touch the lettering on my grandmother’s headstone?’ was a memorable one, but not untypical.

We discovered that people love their pens and that we needed to match that passion.

Customer service became a game: How fast can we respond? What options can we give? What solutions can we dream up? What on earth is this customer talking about? Can we persuade surprised manufacturers to dig out information on pens they thought nobody used anymore?

And it worked! Eight years later we’ve gone from a few hundred items online to nearly 11,000; from 0 employees to 18; from a few dozen orders per week to a few thousand.

Customers seemed to like us — several times a day they would email or phone us just to say thanks. We always found this a little baffling — as mostly all we’d done was what we said we would. We hoped we were getting it right for all those customers who didn’t contact us, but how to know for sure? So we thought we should find out , and took the plunge by asking all customers to rate our service on the independent Trustpilot review platform.

The results were overwhelming to say the least. 97% of respondents give us 5 stars out of 5 for service. 3% give us 4 stars, and a handful 3 stars or less. More than that however, was a surprising level of passion back from our customers. Minor essays, humour, endorsement and even poetry have been regular features of our feedback reviews. Pen puns as well. Lots of pen puns. More pen puns than you can shake a Staedtler Stick at!

Some classics include Pentastic, StuPENdous and Penfect, but below are some of our favourite review titles from 2013 so far:

In fact, we enjoyed the poetry of the last review title so much, that we selected it from hundreds of reviews as the winner of our inaugural Trustpilot competition. Each month we highlight a Trustpilot review in our monthly newsletter, Penorama, that has made us laugh, smile or is simply brilliant! The winner receives not only fame, but a great prize as well. If you would like to find out more and keep up to date with all Cult Pens news and offers, you can subscribe (if not already) here.

Thank you

It's taken just 17 months for us to hit 10,000 Trustpilot reviews, and we’d like to thank every customer who has bothered to leave a review, good or bad. Your lovely reviews remind us why we’re here and keep us focused on what’s really important. We’re proud that despite our growth, we still despatch orders same day (thanks to our brilliant operations team); have no irritating phone menu and we answer every email within a couple of hours (thanks to our brilliant customer service team).

Something worth celebrating

10,000 reviews is quite a milestone and something we think worth celebrating, so we did! Not only was there a little 'party' but we also had a special cake made, as well as "Cult Pens Trustpilot 10,000" engraved onto Sheaffer 100 pens for all staff.

Here are some of the 'party' pictures from Cult Pens HQ:

A very chocolatey but delicious cake!

Herbert J Spaniel inspects the cake. It gets his approval!


Engraved Sheaffer 100 Ballpoint Pen

  No they haven't just got married! Louise from Customer Service and Matt from Operations cut our 10,000 review cake!

Thank you again for all your kind and amusing reviews! Roll on the next 10,000 :)

Update 5 July 2013: If you're a business looking for a review partner then we strongly recommend NOT using Trustpilot! After a good start their service has, ironically, been dreadful. For some inexplicable reason they think that they understand customer service better than their customers and some fundamental aspects of their service defy logic.

26 March 2013

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