I have been collecting for just over 5 years and my interests have changed a lot since the first purchase. I started with a simple Dark Knight DVD Special Edition that had a Batpod. Over the years I dipped into Marvel Selects and DC Collectables and slowly entered the Kotobukiya market. I started to buy anything and everything, but as most of you collectors know, soon we get a better understanding of what we really enjoy. As my knowledge grew I learned that Sideshow was one of the more premium manufactures and distributors. However here in South Africa it always felt difficult to source directly from them mostly due to high shipping costs. I relied mostly on local retailers.
Don’t get me wrong, I do and will always support the local market as I know these guys work hard to get us great items at the best possible prices. But as I collector buying from Sideshow is a birthing right and I had to come of age.
An so the story began
So last December I decided to take the plunge. My timing could not have been more perfect as they had some fantastic deals. So after some extensive browsing, I settled on a PCS (Pop Culture Shock) Chun Li. This was the Black Exclusive limited to 150 pieces. It was discounted and had free global shipping. I was elated.
So I confirmed the order plus an additional discount for subscribing to their Newsletter. However, I forgot to check my balance on my credit card and when they ran it, it bounced further than a Gummy Bear who overdosed on gummy berry juice. I was unsure of their policy and so popped them an email, explaining my idiocy. The response was quick and helpful, stating not to be alarmed and they will re-run it on a day specified by me. I advised the new debit date and all went through smoothly this time around.
Once payment was cleared I was amazed how fast everything them occurred. I was getting regular updates that the item was dispatched and within 2 days it was in South Africa. DHL called to help with my customs charges and the next day the parcel was at my door. Under normal circumstances, this was amazing times. But they delivered the day before Christmas. That’s right they were early in the busiest part of the year. This was an amazing service from Sideshow and DHL.
So needless to say I was stoked to open my statue, but alas there was some chips and broken shards on her head. My heart sank, all the joy had left me and what started as an early Christmas present had quickly become a nightmare before Christmas.
So I took a few photos and sent an email, not really expecting much help. Once again I was surprised by the quick response. Of course, there were the obligatory apologies but more than that there seemed to be a genuine concern. I was assured this will be looking into thoroughly. A few days later I got a follow-up email stating they were trying to source a new head for me. I still was happy however I was impressed that I didn’t have to chase them and they seemed to be genuinely trying to resolve my issue.
The response was swift, and I was assured it would be resolved. Within a day they had combed their warehouse but were unable to provide a head. Two days later they sourced a new head and informed me it would be shipped the next day. This again was undertaken by DHL who lived up to the precedent they set on the previous delivery. And because this was a replacement there was no duty.
Service Trumps Price Every Time
The truth is there will always be problems in manufacturing and transport, but how a company responds to a clients query or problem makes a huge difference. As a company abroad Sideshow could easily hide behind the courier or international shipping claims or what not. I mean I am not a mega buyer. I am a small time collector who just bought a statue. But to them, it mattered, every client matters. They want one hundred percent satisfaction. To me, this meant the world. I felt as big as the guy who buys 20 statues a year. I felt like I was important. See discounts are always great, but the impression it makes is fleeting. There will always be a better deal. But service, especially of this caliber, that can last a lifetime.