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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's a Wrap 6 month report card

Well, we have passed the half year mark and so time for another IAW report card. As I said in the last report card, the auctions were supposed to last 6 months, but anyone who saw the History Channel special and saw that warehouse knows that there will be at least a year of these auctions.

Life has gotten a lot better as IAW has gotten more experience, seen what works and what doesn't, and added staff. I think we are all a lot happier these days, and I think the number or problems are well within line with the overall eBay population. When you do 100-150 auctions a week, there are BOUND to be a few issues. What is important, is that IAW has recently taken steps to help sort those issues out by adding staff and even adding phone support.

I graded IAW on 6 categories:

1) Customer Support

2) Quality of Descriptions

3) Selection

4) Shipping

5) Web Site

6) Overall Improvement

And this time I am giving them an overall grade as well.

So here goes.....


1) Customer Support

In my last report card I gave IAW a D because frankly, the lack of responsiveness was totally unacceptable. Tiara Nappi, the owner of IAW, took some action here as she wasn't happy with the complaints she heard and felt they were justified, and so she added staff as well as a new phone number for people to contact that goes directly to the warehouse. (818-362-7234).

Over the last 3 months, things have improved a great deal. I still feel the lack of a comprehensive technology solution (and the refusal to even entertain using one) hurts them here. They just aren't using the state of the art, and this means they are being inefficient.

GRADE B- (previous grade D)


2) Quality of Descriptions

The descriptions are good, but sometimes inadequate. Too much time spent telling us about the episode or the lot, which is totally irrelevant. What we want to know is the condition of the item, and whose names are in all the tags in the piece. They do a very good job researching each costume and noting what episode it comes from and even what scene, but tmore attention to condition and tagging is critical.


GRADE B
(previous grade B)



3) Selection

As I said last time, one needs to appreciate that there is a ton of mediocre costumes and props mixed in with the gems at that warehouse. Not every piece is a hero costume or prop. But IAW has put up a nice mixture of both props and costumes, and the themed weeks are a nice.


GRADE A
(previous grade A-)



4) Shipping

The effort put into packaging is excellent. Everything arrives safely and well packed.

Unfortunately the amount of time it takes to get an item can vary from days to weeks. However, IAW is very clear that shipping takes 3-6 weeks. If you are patient, the items get to you.

Again, this is lack of a technology system to manage the process, which I think IAW has overly complicated. Shipping out 50 items a day is a no brainer. It isn't that tough with the right tools. If they had one they could spit out packing invoices every day and ship in a timely manner.


GRADE B
(previous grade B)



5) Web Site

I am talking here about just the Star Trek portion of the IAW website and ignoring the rest. Basically, the site hasn't been updated in 6 months. Well, talking to the IAW staff, even they don't like their web site. They know the issues, basically they can't update the site dynamically, and it can't be integrated with their eBay sales (again...there are technology solutions for this). After talking to their staff though, it is obvious this just isn't a priority due to bandwidth limitations, which I can appreciate.

However, there are so many great solutions to be had cheap, they could solve this problem rather easily. Last time I gave them an F, which I am upgrading to a C- as now it is pretty obvious that they aren't happy and would love a better solution. Basically the web site has become a display ad for their auctions.

GRADE C- (previous grade F)


6) Overall Improvement

How has IAW improved all categories over the second 3 months? Well, their customer service has improved in that they have more staff and a phone number now. But getting a straight answer isn't always easy. Again, this is a technology problem, and as long as they resist implementing what most other large scale eBay sellers use, they will not be able to answer questions efficiently.

GRADE B+ (previous grade C)


So what has happened in regards to changes I suggested in my last report card? Well I made three recommendations, two of which they have acted upon (not through anything I did, I just think Tiara is a smart businesswoman and saw where they needed to improve).

1) More staff - They have added two CSRs to their staff according to Tiara.

2) Better technology - Done nothing here. Still biggest weakness.

3) Make customer service a priority - I think Tiara did just this. I am not sure the result has quite been seen to its fullest extent yet, but Tiara made no bones about this being a priority.


So overall, I am giving IAW a solid "B". If they had implemented a technology solution, I think this would have cleaned up all the areas where they were weak and they would have gotten an "A". So maybe in 3 months we will see that, but a solid round of applause for good overall improvement from IAW!

Alec

1 comment:

Daryl said...

Outstanding work...and after watching and bidding over the last 6 months I absolutely agree with your observations!

In addition I appreciate this leg work. This reassures me of who I am dealing with!

Thanks again!!!

Daryl