I think customer service is a big deal. I grew up in the retail business & restaurant business so I know the impact GOOD customer service has on a client and after working for AT&T for 10 years I also know what bad customer service can do for someone too.
Over the past 2 days, I have had quite possibly the best customer service experience ever, in my lifetime, and that’s saying something.
Let me preface this story by saying that while preparing for my first triathlon over these last few months, my greatest fear wasn’t that I would drown. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t finish or come in DFL (dead fucking last). While those were each a fear I had, even combined, they weren’t my greatest fear.
My biggest, most ominous fear was how I would look doing my first triathlon after I learned that you typically wear a “kit” when you compete. For those of you who follow my fighting, you know my set of armor is also called a “kit”, which comparatively I would almost prefer running the triathlon in, but I would most definitely accomplish all 3 of those fears listed above if I did that.
A triathlon ‘kit’ is the spandex suit that athletes wear that can go from water to bike, to run, without the need to change clothes during the transition between each.
Spandex. I hate that word.
No skirt, no camouflage, no hiding. My abdominal panniculus or ‘pontoons’ as I call it will literally be on display for the world to see. There is no way around it. I have spent pretty much my entire fat girl life trying to hide it, downplay it or simply just cover it up with baggy shorts, long shirts and whatever else I could figure out.
At the end of last year, I joined a facebook group for Athena class triathlon athletes. It was a tremendous resource for figuring out this whole adventure and it set me on discovery paths that I would have never found on my own. It’s also where I first heard about wearing a “kit” and seeing photos of Athena athletes rocking their kits regardless of their size. I felt empowered but also terrified.
I’d finally been able to get past the flaps of excess skin on my upper arms when I lost my weight, and now I train in tank tops and don’t think anything of it because I am doing the work. Yet, even after that huge milestone, if someone suggested that I go out on the town in a sleeveless sundress, I would find every excuse under the sun to wear a jacket over it, because I can’t have my ‘waterwings’ waving in the wind. (Yes this is how my crazy mind works).
The thought of letting my tummy show in all its spandex glory horrifies me beyond words. In the back of my head I think, hmmm maybe I can wear a girdle under it and still manage to survive? WHO THINKS LIKE THIS…its not rational, I completely understand that, yet…here I sit…terrified.
Now, I am sure you are wondering how this all warps back to customer service.
Two days ago I bit the bullet and purchased my very first Triathlon Kit, and let me tell you, dropping $180 on one shirt and one pair of shorts felt like I’d entered crazy town, that is NOT an inexpensive “oh let’s see if I like it” kind of purchase, its flat-out commitment.
I have known I what I wanted since the moment I saw the Owl Tri Kit on their website and when Rsport posted on their Instagram page that certain sizes of their very first Tri kit were sold out I panicked. I knew I wanted their Owl design and so I hopped on the website and bought it. Terror (and my bank account) be damned.
Then the next day I get an email from the owner, CJ, who sends me a super nice letter explaining that they have had some folks need to exchange their kits due to people not getting the sizing correct. She asked if I was comfortable enough to send them my height, chest, waist and hip measurements, and so they could make sure I was ordering the right size so I wouldn’t be disappointed.
I, of course, was happy to send them my measurements, I had them because I’d spent the previous night measuring everything to be sure I had the right size…thus, it was all pretty easy to send. I also replied that this whole thought process on their part was phenomenol customer service and that I was quite impressed.
I imagined my order would go out once they got the email and boom, the “bodyhuggingdreadsuit” would be on its way. Yet today, I get another email from CJ, this time explaining that while my thoughts on sizing were mostly right they think I could go down a size and be much more comfortable in the “suit of doom” (spandex and comfort are not words that go together in my world, just to be clear). But, to be on the safe side they were going to send me the 3XL shorts that I ordered AND the 2XL they think will fit me better, free of charge, along with a free return label, just so I can pick which ones fit me the best so I have the best race possible.
Yes, they are sending me 2 pairs of shorts, just so I can decide which ones will work best, then I send them back the pair I don’t want because they want me to have the best tri experience I can.
I literally sat in my car crying when I read the email, head over heels in love with this company and I haven’t even GOT THE DAMN CLOTHES YET!!! The fact that they care so much about the fit of their clothing on a complete stranger makes me want to wear it, pontoons be damned.
Once I get the kit, I will post photos, and I will tell you now, facing 21 fighters with axes and swords is easier than committing to putting that photo up for public consumption. But, CJ and Rsport has made that commitment a little easier for me and for that, I have to say Thank You.
I never really admitted out loud that I’d already been dreading crossing the finish line and having to face that Finish Line photo with my pontoons bouncing in the wind…but when I think about it now, all I can see is me, doing what it takes to get there, in a tri suit that was designed for my Athena body and knowing no matter what I look like, I did the work and someone took the time to reach out and make sure my experience would be the best it could be without having to worry about what I am wearing and for that, I am thankful.
Athena athletes have a lot of hurdles to jump through just to find the right equipment to compete in this world of ultra hard-bodied athletes, and stepping up to the start line is a feat in and of itself, but knowing companies like Rsport exist to help us where we need it most is a really rewarding experience…
and tremendous customer experience!