Wednesday evening was crunch time, Kendal was calling and I was on the road with Ben to represent Alpkit at the annual TGO magazine awards ceremony. Our marketing team (Col) had told us to be there by 8, but as we hit the motorway we received new beta.. we needed to be there for 6! Fortunately we had been nominated for the award of Best Online Retailer and not Most Punctual Marketing Team.
It was nice to have been nominated for the third year in a row but I wondered what award if any we would give our customers if the tables were turned, Ashleigh can be relied upon to come up with a good idea...
Our customers should be awarded a ‘Living Life’ award: be it that bivvy in the garden, trek up Kilimanjaro or camping with family- all our customers are out there doing great things and I love hearing about it and seeing our kit in all these amazing places.
But why? oh why should we give our customers an award if we are so awesome? Jay is never shy to speak his mind...
Our customers deserve the award for being the most understanding and patient guys and gals out there - from delays in delivery to a sometimes unruly website, they stick with it and with our help find what they need.
The realities of customer service are harsh; just when you are ready to stand up and (hopefully) bask in a few seconds of glory you get served a spoonful of reality... and that's how it is at Alpkit. We know we don't get everything right, but we do try to get more things right than we get wrong, and when we do get it wrong we own up and try to do it better next time. It is human nature to complain and less common to praise, but that is what this award was all about; praise for people doing things right.
We dove headfirst into Burgundys Wine Bar, yes we had indeed missed the presentation but we didn't have to wait long to hear the news we had been hoping for.. "congratulations guys you have won an award!"
The world span around us as we tried to make contact with AKHQ. We were receiving messages but we couldn't send, it must be easier to send messages from the moon than it is from Kendal. The messages got more intense.. did we win? who won? they came faster and faster, it meant a lot to our crew. Ashleigh is not one to shorten her sentences...
Winning the TGO Best Online Retailer award? Well, I hate to rhapsodise but it is absolutely awesome and I am so proud of everybody here for their constant enthusiasm and passion for the work we do. Sure, there are hard days or tired days but there is always the sense of being in it together for a common aim and you can feel that everybody has the same passion and deep rooted belief in what we are trying to do. Most of us regularly start early and finish late- completely willingly- that says something, right?!
We were thrilled to first win this award in 2012 but we slipped up in 2013. Rather than getting down we have worked hard to get it back. It hasn't been easy and we have had to prioritise, dropping a few things we love along the waysuch as the Big Shakeout to concentrate on the basics, to concentrate on the product and getting it to our customers.
And what fine customers we have. It is difficult to describe our customer base, we know a few from events such as the Big Shakeout but Izzy took a shot...
Weathered, pink glow to cheeks, out on the hills,loyal, eager to promote AK, happy to listen, speaks the truth and accepts that some circumstances cannot be avoided, loves to be outdoors and doing the things they love!
As a company, as a small team of people we stretch ourselves, we are part brand, part retailer, part time event organisers and now a busy factory but we see this award very much as an indication of our level of customer support. From Ashleigh, Jay and Izzy on the front line, to Degs and Ed in the warehouse.. this award is for them and throws down the gauntlet to the rest of the team for the coming year!
For a full list of winners check out the TGO Awards website.