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Ten Good Reasons We Don’t Answer the Phone Anymore

Why don’t you answer the phone?

We get this question a lot. This was a controversial policy when we first introduced it, but we are standing by it. Here are ten good reasons why.

Reason 1 – The Final Straw

We made the decision to stop answering our store phone in 2017 when we discovered that some people were arriving at our store when there were line-ups and then calling the store from the parking lot in order to jump to the front of the line.

At this point we decided that fair is fair. Customers who take the time to come into our store deserve excellent service. They do not deserve to have impatient people with cell phones jumping in line ahead of them.

Reason 2 – Background Noise and Crappy Reception

People call us from cell phones with crappy reception and all kinds of background noise. So we can’t understand them. People call us from cell phones and refuse to hold the microphones near their mouths. So we can’t understand them. People call us with language/accent issues. So we can’t understand them.

Please forgive us for not being smart enough to understand every one of the world’s many and diverse accents when we are talking to somebody we don’t know on cell phone with crappy reception and a whole lot of background noise. When a customer is standing in front of us in the store where we can see facial expressions and body language, we can always figure things out. So our preference is to deal with customers in person. This is the best way to ensure to everybody, regardless of where in the world their accent is from, gets the best service possible.

Reason 3 – Lack of Knowledge

People call us asking questions when they really don’t have enough information to ask the right question. Example: people will call us from Sport Chek asking us if we sell “the blue Babolat tennis racquet.” We sell lots of blue Babolat tennis racquets. Which model? Which year? Which length? Which weight? Graphite or Fused Graphite? We need more information than customers are usually able to give us over the phone. Trying to help somebody over the phone who does not have enough knowledge to ask the right the questions is not helpful to them. Customers who want technical advice like this, really need to come into our store and talk to an expert face to face. If they aren’t willing to do that, then we can’t give them good service.

Reason 4 – Price Checks

Our prices are on our website. They can be accessed 24/7. There is no need to call us for price checks.

Reason 5 – Inventory Checks

Some customers call us to find out if we have something specific in stock in store. Today. Right now.

We used to answer these questions. Then the customer would take a week (or more) to come into the store, by which time the thing they were looking for was gone. Or the color they wanted was gone. Or they would not come in at all. Or they would come in to find out that they asked the wrong questions about the wrong thing and would then blame it on our staff. They only way to prevent these issues is to conduct business in-store in person. That is the best way to ensure the best service.

Here’s a tip. If you want to know we have something in-store, come into the store and ask us. If you don’t want to waste a trip on something we might not have, order it online and choose SHIP TO STORE. We will notify you when it gets here.

Reason 6 – The Amazon Problem

Another major reason we stopped offering telephone service is the number of times a day that people would call our experts, keep them on the phone for 30 minutes, grill them about every detail, and then flat out tell us that they were buying the thing from Amazon. Really, dude? GFY. If you want to know about products being sold on Amazon, call Amazon. If you want customer service from us, visit an expert in-store.

Reason 7 – No Pen

Customers would call us with a long list of questions. We would say: “OK. Do you have a pen to write this down?” The response would be: “Oh. I’m sorry. I’m in my car on my way to Banff right now. Can you just send me an email?” … Click.

Reason 8 – The Secretary

This one is major waste of everybody’s time. The boss tells the secretary to call us to order a $300 racquet. The secretary — who really has no idea what she is ordering — relays the order to us by phone. We fill the order and customize the racquet based on the secretary’s words. Then we ship the order to the boss who immediately says the order is wrong. Of course, the secretary insists that she did everything right and we are to blame. Solution: bosses (or their secretaries) can place orders online. No need for phone service in this instance.

Reason 9 – Mr. Last Minute

The phone rings.

Voice: “Do you have time to string a racquet today?”
Staff: “Possibly. What kind of racquet?”
Voice: “It’s a Head racquet.”
Staff: “Is it for tennis, squash, badminton, or racquetball?”
Voice: “Tennis.”
Staff: “OK. I would have to see the racquet before I can make any promises, but we MAY be able to string it today.”
Voice: “I need it back today.”
Staff: “OK. There are 19 racquets ahead of you right now. So if you want to jump to the front of the line ahead of all of those other customers you can do it, but you have to pay for one-hour rush stringing.”
Voice: “How much is it?”
Staff: “Rush stringing is $XX.00 plus the price of the string.”
Voice: “What? That’s outrageous. I can get it done at this other place for less.”
Staff: “Cool. Is there anything else I can help you with.”
Voice: “I’m giving you a one-star review.”
Staff: “I’m sure you would give us zero stars, if you could.”

Reason 10 – The 30-Minute Call Problem

When a customer with a problem comes into our store in person, we can usually solve it in a few minutes. When we try to solve the same problem over the phone, it invariably takes 30 minutes. So please visit us in-store in person where we can help you solve your problems in a fraction of the time it takes to solve them over the phone.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that we want to offer our customers good service. We can’t do that over the phone. So please make an appointment and visit us in person.

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Racquet Network (Re)Joins Tumblr

Racquet Network Tumblr

Now that Tumblr has decided that it will be reorienting itself as a family-friendly blogging site, Racquet Network has decided to activate our long dormant Tumblr account.

Although our Tumblr account was set up several years ago, we chose not to do anything with it due to Tumblr’s reputation. That changed on December 17 when Tumblr committed to removing all adult-only content from their service.

Racquet sports players who are also Tumblers can follow us at where we post regular social media updates.

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Happy Anniversary: Racquet Network Turns 5

Racquet Network Logo
Racquet Network Logo
[CALGARY, AB] – It’s hard to believe but Racquet Network launched five years ago today as a network of two Canadian squash players from the community of Oakridge in southwest Calgary.

Today, on the fifth anniversary of those small beginnings, we have more than 500 members in Canada, the United States, Australia and China. We also include much more than just squash. This year we have added nearly a dozen new sports to our long-time mix of tennis, squash, badminton, racquetball and table tennis.

The origins of our growing network can be traced to a broken-down old squash court in the back of the Oakridge Community Centre in January of 2002. Built twenty-five years earlier when squash was a booming sport, the court had long since been abandoned by squash players. Its only use, in 2002, was as a tiny gym for the tots of the community centre preschool.

Nothing is better testimony to the rough state of this court than the fact that the plywood of the front wall was slowly disintegrating. Every time a ball hit it with any amount of force, a small cloud of disintegrated wood dust would puff into the air. By the end of every match, the air in the room was visibly saturated with dust particles. At times it looked like we had spent the past hour smoking cigars instead of playing squash.

By the end of our first year, a wide, crumbling depression had formed in the front wall around the spot where serves would typically make contact. But our little network had grown to 26 squash players, so we considered the year a success.

In year two, we added tennis to our activities and our network swelled to 75 players. Meanwhile, the depression in the front wall of the squash court was spreading like a giant stain. Small holes, just large enough to poke a finger through, were beginning to appear and multiply.

That was enough for the facility manager. Earlier attempts to repair the front wall had failed; it was time for a new wall. With the new wall came new players, fortunately. So we ended year three with a network of 150 squash and tennis players, most of whom lived in southwest Calgary.

Today, Racquet Network has enough squash players in Calgary (250) to fill five squash courts. We have enough tennis players (350) to fill seven tennis courts. As a result, the Oakridge Community Association has applied for funding to build eight new lighted outdoor tennis courts and six new international squash courts.

Racquet Network has also contributed to the revival of squash at the Southland Leisure Centre and the Acadia Recreation Complex. Use of the squash courts at these facilities has increased significantly in the past 24 months, thanks primarily to Racquet Network members.

On the badminton front, Racquet Network is now working cooperatively to boost the numbers of the Kingsboro Badminton Club, Calgary’s oldest badminton club. We are also working with Racquetball Alberta to increase the number of people playing that sport in Calgary. And we are doing our best to work with Tennis Alberta and the inchoate Calgary Tennis Association to promote involvement in grassroots tennis.

Alongside the development of playing opportunities, Racquet Network has helped grow the number of racquet sports coaches working in the Calgary area. In the fall, we had a dozen people lined up to become PTR tennis instructors. Two months, later, three of our members were trained by Squash Alberta as Level One squash instructors. Next month, February, will see at least two more of our members trained as squash coaches.

Has our network been successful? I would like to think so.

I now run into Racquet Network players everywhere I go. I see them on tennis courts and squash courts and badminton courts all over Calgary. In the summer, I see groups of students taking lessons from Racquet Network tennis instructors. During the winter, I see some of the same students attending squash lessons and programs with our instructors at the Acadia Recreation Complex.

In spite of the fact that Racquet Network is a for-profit enterprise, we have never made a profit nor have we have ever issued a pay cheque to an employee. Over the first five years of our existence, it has been our pleasure to act as promoters and cheerleaders for the sports we love to play.

The only people to profit in all of this have been our members, many of whom are living healthier, richer lives because of what we have all created by working and playing together.

Happy anniversary, everyone!! We hope you will stick around for the next five years. It has been wonderful meeting and getting to know each and every one of you.

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Johner Wins $5000 Grand Prize

[CALGARY, AB] – Racquet Network’s founder and executive director, Brent Johner, has been awarded the $5000 grand prize in Alberta Health’s STAND UP FOR YOUR LIFE contest.

The grand prize winner, announced yesterday, receives a $2,500 customized Be Fit For Life Personal Health & Wellness Plan and a $2,500 Sportchek gift card.

Johner entered the contest in mid-December after seeing a commercial broadcast during a Calgary Flames game on Sportsnet West Television. His winning entry described how he “stood up for his life” by stopping smoking, changing his diet and creating Racquet Network.

As part of the terms of the agreement, Sportsnet Television is flying out from Toronto in early February to shoot a commercial featuring Johner and (we hope) at least some mention of Racquet Network.

“Racquet Network changed my life,” said Johner, “and I’ve heard from dozens of other people how it’s changing theirs. With a little publicity and some momentum, we can help change the lives of millions more.”