Draven Reviews: Theory11 Customer Service

Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by William Draven, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. #1 William Draven, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2010

    Customer Service Review for Theory 11
    website: www.theory11.com
    Customer Service & Order Phone Number: (800) 511-9484
    Customer Service Rep: Bryant
    Duration of Phone Call: 18min 44sec

    Theory11 is known for being one of the industries go to for amazing effects, produced by a team of some of the most creative minds currently working in the business. On top of amazing products they also offer a great online community in which young and old magicians alike can interact with each other, share ideas, information, and thoughts through their forums. I wanted to see if their customer service is as good as their products or online community. Since Theory11 just released some new material, I figured now would be the perfect time to place an order. Since their website is no judge of customer service, I called them directly to place my order. The first attempt that I made lead me to an automated phone message which was fairly comical. The male voice was friendly, and engaging, but I didn't want to talk to a voice mail, so I called back. The second time through went to a male operator named Bryant.

    Having never ordered before with Theory11 Bryant was helpful in getting me set up with an account to which I could order from. I gave my name as William Draven, he took down my information, and was efficient with it. He asked me why I chose to call in, instead of placing the order online, (reviewing his/theory11's customer service aside) I told him I preferred the benefit of talking to a person as opposed to typing on a computer. He asked me right away if I was going to order Smoke, to which I said yes. To my dismay they are (at the time of this review) out of stock on Smoke. I of course was disappointed, but hey props for Theory11 for having that hot of a product right now! I told Bryant that smoke wasn't the only product I was calling to order, it just was the main one. It was as if he wasn't even listening to me, because he began to end the phone call, offering to call me or email me when the product became available sometime the following week. I had to stop him, and remind him that I was still going to place an order, it just wouldn't be for smoke now.

    I placed an order for half a brick of Sentential playing cards, to which I was going to order anyways. Bryant was friendly enough to inform me that the more I purchased, the cheaper the cards were. That's helpful information to take into consideration. It was nice of him to bring this to my attention. He verified my shipping address was the same as the billing address, and gave me a choice of shipping methods. I went with his suggestion of ground, so I'll be looking to do my review of Sententials by the weeks end.

    Having placed my order, I really wanted to test Theory11s metal when it came to customer service, and sales. I asked Bryant if he had the time to answer a couple quick questions for me. I explained that I had a nephew who really liked Criss Angel and wanted to do magic. He's a beginner, and I wanted to get him something to get started with. I asked if there was any products Theory11 might have to suggest to me. Bryant expertly explained that Theory11 doesn't have (at least not yet) any tutorial DVD's for the absolute bare bone beginner in magic, however the new Invisible Deck would be a great classic to get him started with. Bryant also explained that there are a lot of great videos that can be purchased through the website, and then downloaded that has material that would be good for a beginner to start on. Products like Angle Zero for example. The website's search feature would allow me to set it to sort by “easy” and I can view all products that are categorized that way. Makes shopping online way easier if you ask me.

    I asked Bryant about playing cards. I told him that I wanted the Sententials because they looked sick, but for my nephew, is there any cards in specific I should worry about getting him. Bryant was again honest and insightful. More expensive decks like the Sententials may be a bad idea for a new beginner, since you'll trash a lot of cards just learning the moves. He recommended Tally's (which are also available on the website), since they are inexpensive, and a great deck magicians swear by. Since I myself am a magician, I know he's not lying just to make a sale with that statement. I myself swear by Tally's, if I'm not using bikes, which brings me to my next point. Bryant explained that my nephew could use cheaper decks like Bikes, but those cards aren't built as well as the decks offered by Theory11. They will break down and wear out faster, obviously going with a deck Theory11 sells as opposed to the 99cent Wal-Mart brand has it's long term advantages.

    (To Be Continued...)
  2. #2 William Draven, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2010
    (Continued from Above...)

    My last question I directed more at myself. I explained that I was interested in expanding more into Parlor magic as opposed to street magic that I currently did. I wanted to start performing effects that could be done on a small stage for twenty to sixty people or so. I asked Bryant for any suggestions he may have to Theory11 product that would be suitable for this purpose. Bryant suggested that I once again go back to the website and look at Torn & Restored, Crush, or Pressure. All three would work for my needs. His reply was insightful, spot on, and applied to my question. I'm well aware that Theory11 caters more to a close-up worker, so I wanted to test him. His reply was honest, and informative.

    About the only part of the conversation that I found odd was at the very end. Once things were all wrapped up, I was satisfied that I had enough information to write my review, and I had made sure the order for product was in, I thanked him for his time. I asked him to verify my shipping information once more, and bid him a good day. He replied to me “No problem Chris.” which is odd to me because I never said my name was Chris. Mistakes happen, and so long as I'm not over charged, my product arrives safely, and it's what I ordered, I'll consider it a good day.

    When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 exceeding all expectations, making a score of five the bare minimum for acceptance. The four points that I grade upon is Friendliness, Product Knowledge, Sales Technique, and Over all Quality.

    Friendliness: 7
    Bryant didn't kill me with customer service, but he was helpful, and friendly. He should have listened to buying signs more though, I had to bring him back into the sale after he told me smoke was out of stock.

    Do they introduce themselves? No.
    Are they polite? Yes.
    Do they ask for your name? Yes
    Do they address you by name? Yes (all though he gets it wrong at the very end)
    What is your Reps name? Bryant
    Do they offer their name, or Did you have to ask? I had to ask for his name.
    Do they offer to inform you of any specials or current promotions? Yes. Bryant told me of the bulk discount on ordering cards.
    Do they ask to put you on hold? N/A
    Do they wait for a reply? N/A
    Did they build rapport with you? Kind of. I'd probably not remember the rep's name had I not written it down to do this review.
    Was the wait/hold time acceptable? The hold time was very short.
    Could I hear a smile? Yes.

    Product Knowledge: 9
    Bryant was very knowledgeable about his products. He was able to listen to my questions, and provide detailed, informed, and fair suggestions based on the information that I gave him.

    Is the Rep knowledgeable in their products? Yes.
    Are they able to make recommendations based upon the info given them by the customer? Yes.
    Are they able to give satisfactory answers to all questions asked? Yes.

    Sales Technique: 5
    Bryant really didn't try to sell me anything, more to the point he was taking an order over the phone. I had given him the opportunity to make suggestions a couple of times, but I don't feel he took as much advantage of the phone call as he could have. I had a preset budget that I was willing to spend when I placed the call, and I ended up spending less than half (shipping included) of that budget. Bryant directed me at the website when I was asking about products for my nephew instead of asking me if I wanted to add those to my purchase. To be fair we are talking about a virtual download vs physical product, so I don't know if the transactions could be done together, but I feel that the effort could have been made and wasn't. Bryant didn't try to up sell me on anything either.

    Did the Rep try to up sale with reasonable suggestions or add on products? No.
    Was the ordering process quick and efficient? Yes.
    Did the Rep verify shipping and billing information for accuracy? Yes.
    Did the Rep inform you of shipping details and/or options? Yes.
    Was I thanked for my purchase? No.

    Over All Quality: 7
    My over all experience ordering with Theory11 has been an okay one. I'm not jumping up and down at my computer as I'm writing this because I'm excited about my call, nor am I rushing back to my phone to place another order right this very second, but I think it's safe to say that I'd order from them again. The one thing that I realize is that I'm applying customer service and sales protocol to a business that is mostly based in cyberspace. Their website is more set up to help a customer order than the phone lines are. I suspect the phone number is more for resolving customer service issues or whole sales calling in. To which I was neither. The questions that I asked Bryant were very typical of what you'd expect in a brick and mortar style magic store, and I'm sure are the furthest from what they'd typically get on a phone call. To be honest, I wouldn't expect him to need to up sell me anything. After all I'd need to have gone to the website to get the phone number, so to a degree, I'd have to be already knowledgeable in what I was ordering myself. In other words, taking down my order info, credit card info, and shipping the product out is usually the extent of what I expect they deal with over the phone on a regular basis. However, that being said, certain amenities like asking for my name, building rapport with me, using my name, asking to verify my information for accuracy, etc shouldn't be skipped. Most importantly, neither should the “Thank you for doing business with Theory11” at the end of the phone call!!! I'm almost insulted that I wasn't thanked, it's like my business really isn't needed or appreciated especially after getting my name wrong. Theory11 continues to provide an amazing community for magicians to participate in, and produce quality product that is in demand. The few issues I experienced with this phone order is not enough to dissuade me from giving them my business in the future. That being said though, I think I'd direct you to order through their website as opposed to calling it in, there really isn't anything that a phone rep could do for you that the website can't.
  3. #3 JetEyeNight, Aug 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2010
    Hey Draven, thanks for the review! I don't think theory11's business model is designed to take a lot of orders over the phone. I doubt that the training for customer service emphasizes sales, especially when they have such a well designed website to take orders. Do you appreciate it when customer service attempts to sell you something or up-sale you? I work in sales, and sometimes the customer appreciates it when I sell them something or up-sale them, and sometimes the customer sees it as poor customer service. The company I work for recently acquired a competitor, whose customer service had absolutely no sales goals, yet they were the industry leader in customer service.
  4. Well I think really that's where the Rapport building part comes into play Jeteyenight. There was a magic store out in Hollywood called Hollywood Magic which was owned and run by a bunch of sales men. These people didn't care about the person, or their magic. They just cared about selling you the most expensive items that you'd be willing to buy. I remember going in there once asking for a manipulation deck and the guy behind the counter tried to sell me on a 200$ manipulating ball set. This kind of tactics are annoying. I can see why someone would think that kind of up-selling would be bad service. However there are other times in which I appreciate the effort.

    For example, When I first bought my Sony PSP, I got the game system, and a video game. That's it. The entire time, from the moment I walked into the store to the moment the clerk had me behind the till, he was building rapport with me. Talking to me, engaging me. Hell I think at one point in time we were reminiscencing on the old school Mario 3 days. By the time it came to check out, I felt like I was talking to a friend. My new friend also had some insight for me too, specifically about my new game system. The store clerk up sold me on a memory card and caring case. How upset would I have been if I would have gotten home and realized that I couldn't save my game?! The protectiveness of the caring case was an after thought, and one that has proven a good idea on more than one occasion. His casual advice lended itself to bettering my enjoyment of my new game system, and it got him a few extra dollars in the process.

    I understand, as I've already pointed out, that phone sales/ up sales may not be part of Theory11s business model. It's not something I expect them to really engage in, as the need to do so doesn't look like it would regularly present itself. Now I don't have any figures in front of me but I'm willing to bet that most of their sales are done over the internet, and not in person or on the phone so upselling becomes a moot point.

    I guess in magic it's like buying a DVD about card tricks would only seem wise to ask them if they needed quality cards to practice with, a card clip, and perhaps a subscription to the monthly news letter that has new card plot ideas in it. But that's just me. I'll get off my soap box now... Sorry if that turned into a bit of a rant.
  5. Great points all around Draven! Hey since you mentioned a card clip, wouldn't it be a great idea if theory11 started selling their own custom card clips? It would be nice to see some custom theory11 accessories.
  6. keep a look out.
  7. Oh how neat!
  8. Sweetness. Definitely looking forward to that.
  9. Hey guys, I just thought I would give you an update with my experience with Bryant via email. I contacted theory11 support because when I received my Sentinels in the mail the first pack I opened had cards that had surface errors. I provided very clear pictures of the issue. The Ace of Spades had a large line running through it as well as about 10 other cards. I was told by Bryant that the marks on the cards could be something other than a printing error, and I was told that he could not replace the deck with the pictures provided, and said that if I wanted a replacement, I would have to send the cards back. This made me feel like he was hinting that I may have caused the marks. I'm not very happy right now, especially after spending $160 on cards and new releases.
  10. Also anyone with sentinels....did any get a deck that has uneven border? I got and its kinda annoying me right now.
  11. I bought one from a nearby store and it was abit off centered.Measured it but it isn't Q1.It is still not very noticecable.I like the deck andI will definitely get more.
  12. Not all Q1 decks are centered, it's not like every deck will be perfect. And how the hell did you already find Sentinels in a grocery store? I thought USPCC only has distribution rights on the Guardians... and what grocery store is this?

    T11 needs a black porper card clip with "Theory11" etched into the face of the metal in a sick cursive font... That would be tight. And theory11 lightly etched into the "spine" edge of the clip.
  13. #13 Bill Charlton, Aug 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2010
  14. #14 Bryant, Aug 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2010
    JetEyeNight - check your email from this morning, I think you'll be happily surprised. On a related side note typically companies don't offer the option to email verifying photographs of an issue as proof enough to warrant a return. We're much more accommodating than that as we realize ship costs are higher than ever.

    My original review and conclusion of these photographs was incorrect--admittedly. After realizing the consistency between the markings on each card, it's clear they were not a result of you handling them. I hope this resolves any disappointment you may have had. Enjoy the new deck!
  15. NICE!

    I remember JB saying to watch out for all new Gear items.
  16. Oh damn, good point. ONCE AGAIN, my order will have to be put off to wait for YET ANOTHER thing. Can't wait..
  17. I certainly appreciate the acommodation Bryant! Thank you for reconsidering! Way to go Theory11! I certainly will enjoy the new deck.

    I do have a story about Ellusionist. I had a stainless steel card clip and it scratched my Shadow Masters. They replaced the card clip and the Shadow Masters without me having to send back the product. All I provided were pictures. And another time, I had an extremely warped deck of Shadow Masters, and they replaced it with just pictures. So while most companies may not allow pictures as proof, in my personal experience that hasn't been the case.

    Perhaps if there is a defect on a deck, just tell the person to send back the Ace of Spades or the defective cards.

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