Today we kick-off a fun collection of articles written by our users! Consider these an even more in-depth look at what customers are thinking about re: Group Breaking. The first topic is very fitting – Group Breaker Pet Peeves – but is also a great set-up for Part 2, which Shani is already working on.
Shani Pelled (Twitter @spelled78) is a proud native and fan of all things Pittsburgh, and prouder father of 2 boys, who are responsible for bringing him back to the hobby after 20+ years away. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he met his wife of 15 years. As you would expect, he and his boys focus on collecting Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, and former Pitt athletes.
Without further ado…
My 5 Pet Peeves about Group Breakers
by Shani Pelled
The opportunity to share our experiences as consumers in the Sports Card hobby is one we should take seriously. Despite the fact that the Group Break has been around now for several years it remains a very loosely regulated aspect of the hobby. It seems that anyone with an Internet connection, a camera, and a pack of cards, can call themselves a professional group breaker. It is against this backdrop that I will approach reviewing breakers with a serious frame of mind. Not to provide a friend another 5 star review that is completely devoid of any substance. Not to completely bash or attempt to embarrass or railroad a breaker that I am not a fan of.
Which brings me to the question – how does an article about Pet Peeves help us as a community toward that end?
My hope is that a conversation about the Pet Peeves that we have as consumers, and that breakers have of us, will enlighten us all. Providing a better understanding of each other.
I did not approach this from the most scientific perspective. The majority of what you will read is based on my thoughts, as well as information I gathered in conversation with folks I’ve met through group breaking, as well as group breakers who were willing to take the time to speak with me. For the sake of time and space, I will focus on the Pet Peeves that Customers have of Group Breakers.
Lack of Information/ Product Knowledge:
When a breaker clearly hasn’t done any homework on the product that they’re asking you to spend your hard earned money on. If any of us were guilty of this in our day-to-day jobs it would be grounds for termination. Most folks wouldn’t even expect expertise, just a minimum level of ability to help inform the process, and what to expect from a new release. To be fair, mispronouncing a name is kind of funny, especially in a hockey break. However, not knowing that a certain team doesn’t have any hits, and selling them anyway! Flat out Disturbing. We are all aware that the Pre-Sale cannot account for the lack of a published checklist, but ask yourself, were you contacted by the breaker the last time this happened to you? Or did you have to take it upon yourself to ask the uncomfortable question about a refund?
Often when something goes a bit sideways all someone wants to hear is a simple “my bad” or “I’m taking care of this right away“. Most of us have probably experienced having purchased a team to find out at break time that it was oversold. Maybe this is a weak example, as there is a fairly simple fix. In many cases there is negative banter in the chat directed at a new release…that is bad, or a case that’s a dud. Not even focused on the breaker, or anything that he/she could have controlled. So why take it personally? Why respond at all? If anything I appreciate it when a breaker is willing to call out a manufacturer for having released a bad product. It demonstrates that they get it, that they care, and that they may even be interested in their customers having a good experience.
3. False Claims:
…That your pricing is the cheapest – it may have been for one product, one time, when you started this venture as a breaker, but hasn’t been so since the rainy season of ’78. This could easily be an article in its own right, as it is often confusing to find such a wide disparity in pricing across breakers, with respect to products, be it a random spot, or a specific team. If you have taken the time to research and truly determine that your price is the lowest, you absolutely should use that as a marketing tool. And…if it were true you would never have a spot available in a single break. It’s NOT! Many astute customers can probably tell you which breakers are cheaper for specific products. They can tell you with an even greater degree of accuracy which breakers are the most expensive. Ultimately, if it is your desire to market your business this way, just make it the truth.
4. Poor customer service:
This is obviously a broad topic, and is far more encompassing than just ten sub-topic descriptors. For the sake of brevity I will list the 3 most common issues I heard (and experienced)…
•shipping – slow & unwilling to include base
•communication – slow or no response to email at all
•attitude – like my mom always told me, you get more bees with honey
5. Not being made to feel a part of the “community”:
This is one of the tougher aspects of being a good great breaker, so allow me to expound a bit. I think most of us are aware that the majority of breakers have a small core of regulars. They are generally the ones that provide the majority of the banter in the room, and therefore the breakers tends to engage with them a bit more. I completely understand that a breaker wants to engage with these folks, as they are likely their best and most loyal customers. However, it seems that with such a crowded market where customers have so many choices, you would want to engage the other folks as much as possible as well. I know I have felt left out in the past, and as you may be able to tell, I’m a pretty vocal guy that enjoys the participation and banter. For me a good social experience can be the saving grace to going hitless in a group break…well, maybe…a little at least!
Part 2…. is a continuation of this topic, but on the flip side. What are the pet peeves that Group Breakers have about their customers. Oh yes, there are plenty. 🙂
Thanks for listening!