Sunday, April 17, 2011

Del Toro Shoes: A Qualified Perhaps

The Rapture is scheduled for May 21st. But at least I can go out with my Del Toro shoes on that I ordered five months ago. They arrived yesterday and barring the protracted interval involved in actually getting them, they are a home run.
The boys at Del Toro have already received my feedback. You can read it below if you want but for now, here's some feedback for those who might be interested in the Del Toro experience.

1. The quality equals or exceed Stubbs and Wootton.

2. The same basic custom monogram order option at Stubbs will cost you almost double the price of Del Toro.

3. You will need to at least go up one half size or maybe a whole size. Do not order a pair without trying on their sample shoes first.

4. Four to five months is a perfectly reasonable time-frame for waiting on this level of value. But you need to expect to wait that long so that you avoid getting frustrated with the process. And the Del boys need to clearly articulate this up front. In fairness, their drop down menu on customer orders now states I think, "3-4 months".
These guys have a good product for the money and I recommend it with qualifications. Hopefully they'll tighten up some of their process glitches and become a bit more customer centric and service driven. These are needed tweaks, not overhaul imperatives. So go over to Del Toro and order yourself a pair. Hell, order five pairs. After May 21 it's gonna be irrelevant anyway.
Onward. On the cusp of a week long Spring Break with LFG. First stop on the LFG express next week...The Waldorf in NYC.


From: ADG
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2011 8:33 AM
To: ADG; James Bohannon
Cc: Matthew Chevallard
Subject: The Shoes Are Here....Home Run...Sort Of

James and Matt

My shoes arrived and they are perfect in every way. And thank you James, for your email below regarding my satisfaction with the entire ordering experience. The 25% discount offer on another pair is a nice thing to include in the update letter that came with the shoes.

Guys…please…let me offer you some free consulting... ( I know, I know…you’ve had a zillion people try to tell you how to run your business and it gets old after a while. I’m a management and strategy consultant who’s been helping businesses with this stuff for years) …please hear me out.

1.      1. I understand operational and growing pains with businesses. I run one.

2.      2. I appreciate the fact that global suppliers and manufacturing partners can sometimes get you over a barrel re manufacturing consistency and delivery deadlines. If this is a problem, then consider building-in additional performance incentives to your contract with your maker.

3.      3. Service is at an all time low. Therefore you have an opportunity to really impress people with what used to be standard service. But you are fumbling the ball here.


A.     A. You promised a mock-up of my monogram choice to assure accuracy in the set-up. It never came.

B.     B. Your system never loaded my order into the personalized order page after I signed on. Never. So either have that as the function you currently offer or remove it from your website.

C.     CI requested try-on shoes and you guys delivered them promptly. I promptly returned them via UPS. Sometime later I get an email from Matt informing me that if I didn’t get the shoes back to you, he was going to charge me for them. What do you think that communicates to your customers? I had to track down my UPS proof of delivery information to assure Del Toro that I didn’t steal your shoes. This initial incident gave me an uneasy feeling regarding how you run your organization. It says that you don’t have processes in place to assure that you are executing consistently on basic procedural stuff.

D.     D. Unanswered emails. I understand staffing and workload issues. But it’s no excuse. When you have customers who have legitimate concerns regarding their order status, you need to respond to their emails on a timely basis. This is the moment during the process when I began to get pissed off. You need a 36 hour turnaround time for all emails that come from customers with purchases in works. Period. No excuses.

4.      When orders are delayed, you need to over communicate with your customers as opposed to allowing them to simmer and become aggravated. Come on guys, this is business management 101.

5.      The drop down menu for your custom shoes now clearly states that the order interval will be 3-4 months. Guys, your product is worth a 5 month wait. So make sure people know this clearly from the get go. State it prominently in the email confirmation that goes out after the order is processed.

And finally guys, if this business is just a little folly of yours and you don’t see it as a long term endeavor, just ignore my advice. Or, if the percentage of your revenue coming from these one-off custom orders like mine is inconsequential, then ignore my advice and grow your business for the less than demanding masses, not the persnickety custom order asses…like me. But I can tell you that you are developing a less than stellar among some folks in the of the social media realm.

You’ve got a great product for the money. Don’t fumble the ball by not having a basic level of service to complement it.


LPC said...

The Waldorf, New York? Hmm. I seem to remember, yes, yes, hmm.

Toad said...

Very well said. I will now safely order the pair in linen I have coveted for a while.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Very nice slippers. Beautiful colour.

I'm sure your unsolicited advice to the Del Toro gents was much appreciated. Well done.

'The Rapture'...May 21?! Are you sure?! I've been invited to a very important cocktail reception that evening.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

I've purchased a bunch of their slippers, and all without a hitch. They make all of the slippers for a particular club in Boston as well, and since moving their manufacturing to Spain, they have shortened the wait time. I always dealt with Nathaniel, who it seems is not really involved in the business anymore, but even the other gents are pretty attentive. Growing pains can be fumbled easily (as you state), but I think that they will pull out of it well.

ADG said...

YankeeWhiskey...Has not been my experience at all. They have major glitches and process issues to close gaps on.

Toad...I think you are safe with a less demanding order.

LPC...yes. The Waldorf. We are in the Prunella Suite

ADG said...

Ps...After I reformat and reload my hard drive. Microsoft lost me this weekend.

Patsy said...

I hope they take your advice. I know I would. It's a lot more helpful than an email that says 'you suck and I hate you.'

I so love the Waldorf.

Anonymous said...

How fuzzy of you!

I went with Broadland for my first pair of slippers recently, both because their pricing for a custom order was less than Del Toro and they offer metal wire instead of thread. I was a little put off by hearing the difference in service between Toads standard order and my custom one, but they arrived perfectly none-the-less. I'll definitely do business with them again.

CeceliaMc said...

The Basso Driving Shoes are nice too.

I picture them paired with a european collared jacket.

Very smooth.

old said...

One of the best examples of Irish Diplomacy I have seen in years. Tis "Dev" himself could not have done a better job of telling the vendor how the cow eats the cabbage.

I also pine for the BRG XK120 in your earlier post.

Well humored by your Barbour/AAO specs note. Without my googles correcting my poor eyesight, I failed to notice the significance of your brilliance. Then again my Beaufort is so battered and need of a re-waxing that it vaguely resembles a Vietnam era US Army fatigue jacket procurred at the local Army surplus store.

Always forward!

Best regards,

Old School Prep

T said...

Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen a monogram service that offered 4 initials for those of us with 2 middle names? Nice shoes...well worth the bones, then huh?

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft lost me this weekend."

Dump em. Apple's where it's at. IknowIknowIknow. Buy it online, max it, you'll never look back, thank me later.

Anonymous said...

I have a pair and love them, but I have the same questions about the business. Del Toro could take off, or it could disappear. Let's hope it's the former.

Gail, in northern California said...

Follow Flo's excellent advice -- dump 'em and get a Mac.

Unknown said...

ADG - love your posts. Your taking the time to be concise, factual, and offering a free usability study of the 'customer experience' should be greeted with gratitude (and probably a free pair o' shoes, no less). I'm an American temporarily living in Sydney and I have been beaten down by the lack of very basic service expectations here. Your Del Toro post made me think I'm not crazy to expect more from people. Hope no Aussie's are reading but this is a daily experience here. Hope LFG enjoys some strawberries & cream from room service with Dad. BTW, I am also from South Carolina but only for the first 6 months!

ADG said...

Marianne...thanks. I only wish that LFG and her friend stopped at srawberries and cream room service. We are having a great time.

GailNorCal...I bought a 450 dollar Dell just to get me back in biz for the moment. But rest assured...Windows and I are over.

Flo...I'm there. Butcept I gotta pay for a 560SL first. You can't have for monogram characters on anything. And that's coming from the fuzziest guy around. Pick the three you most like. can fix that Barbour in about and hour with some wax. Can't help you with the Jag thang.

Cecilia...what's a European collared shirt?

David...yes....fuzzy indeed.

Patsy....I try not to hate anyone.

j.mosby said...

Nice new fuzzy friends! Are going to wear them around Old Town?

Fantastic Mr Fox

CeceliaMc said...

Silvio Berlusconi?

ADG said...

JMosbyFox...of course I am. Only an ussypay would restrict their slipper wearing to the house. Ask mama if you can wear yourn outta doors.

LagunaFogey...You shan't worry about cocktails on the 21st. The Devil and I are gonna swing by and get you on the 20th.

Cecelia...Silvio? Nope. Smoove B. Loveman.

Memphis88 said...

I wish I had ordered a pair a while back. I got as far as trying on the sample shoes before deciding to hold off. Now, I can't afford the suckers. I wonder if the problems you experienced are symptoms of their seemingly privileged upbringing. Don't know the guys, but having learned about the origins of the company and followed them on twitter (had to unfollow them due to their pretentious attitudes) it would appear that they might have learned about life and
( and how to treat people) in a different way than you or me. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's a thought.

Memphis88 said...

I wish I had ordered a pair a while back. I got as far as trying on the sample shoes before deciding to hold off. Now, I can't afford the suckers. I wonder if the problems you experienced are symptoms of their seemingly privileged upbringing. Don't know the guys, but having learned about the origins of the company and followed them on twitter (had to unfollow them due to their pretentious attitudes) it would appear that they might have learned about life
and how to treat people (in this case customers) in a different way than you or me. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's a thought.

ADG said...

Memphistonopadapolus88...I decided to make you a Greek guy this morning as opposed to the Tennessee elf that still owes me a pair of Gucci loafers...I have no idea if you are correct in your assumptions but I do hope that these guys can tighten their gig up a bit.

Unknown said...

Prunella Suite - is that a Fawlty Towers thing?

Gentleman's Gazette said...

Del Toro shoes are nice indeed. I own two pairs as well but haave not looked into their custom options yet. Your slippers look fantastic!

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

"Bad manners" are not a function of privileged upbringing. Quite the contrary, I would say.

Perhaps the Del Toro chaps have been driven to irritation by the wrong sort of customer.

ADG said...

Marianne...Fawlty Towers...nope. Prunella is LPC...our beacon of all things proper.


LagunaFogeyMon...Are you kidding me? I've met just as many privileged assholes as otherwise.

Andrew said...

I had an awful experience with Del Toro - which is a shame, because the slippers, when they finally arrived, were wonderful. But before that point, I dealt with delays of almost a year, nearly no return phone calls or emails, website glitches, ordering a sample pair and then being instructed by Matt that I didn't need the sampel pair and had to jump through hoops to cancel the order for them, etc., etc.