The other day I was tasked by son #1 to purchase some running gear for him (because, after all, a father’s role is to be a perpetual bank account for his son, right?) Anyway, I went to my favorite US online running store, Road Runner Sports (RRS).

I’ve been buying from RRS for years and must have gone through a couple of dozen pairs of shoes in that time (not to mention shirts, shorts and socks) – so my buying history is fairly extensive.

I went online and filled my shopping cart with all the stuff needed and then proceeded to checkout. At which time I had some issues around my account – none of my historical purchases were showing and some discounts that should have appeared, didn’t.

Thinking that RRS was a global e-commerce store, I figured I’d be able to ask questions via email, Twitter, Facebook or whatever. Sure enough, all the social icons appeared at the bottom of the page.

I proceeded to send the store a message via Twitter to which I received no reply. After publicly asking them for a reply (since… name and shame), I got a response saying:

Road Runner Sports @RRSports

Hi Ben, Have you tried calling? The absolute fastest way for you to get help is by calling an agent at 1-800-743-3206. If the discount is for the Spring Forward sale it does run today also.

Hmmm – a global e-commerce store that only does customer service via phone? How 1990. Begrudgingly I gave them a call (thanks to the joy that is Google Voice) and sat on hold for 25 minutes before getting a response. After explaining what I was after, the customer service agent patched me through to a VIP support person.

Sadly (and, to be honest, as expected) said VIP support person made me repeat all my personal details again before she could offer me any assistance.

Now I totally get it – I’m involved with a business that sells via e-commerce as well and we certainly drop the ball pretty frequently. But the thing is that RRS purports to be a global player when my experience suggests that they’re far from it.

So if you’re looking to scale, please first make sure you’ve got the stuff in place to allow that scaling to happen.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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