Thank you to everyone for an exciting 2008. Professionally and personally there were huge changes made, huge challenges overcome, and great friends and acquaintances made.
To each of my friends and acquaintances and readers of my blog I want to explain the delays in responses and posts. In case you haven’t noticed, most of the time my responses have been slow and typically short. Since October, we have been making huge changes at Hobby People to better serve our customers. This has simply occupied a LOT of my time. Of course, at home there’s been a lot of time consuming activities too. My olded boy started college, my 16 year old has become increasingly active in sports and school, and my girl seems like she lives at the dance studio these days and that has been quite a challenge since she is so active at school now that she started middle school ( the kids sure don’t stay little for long, do they?)
For many of you, I’ve pointed out that we’re reworking our entire marketing campaign (at Hobby People, I’m directly involved with this aspect of our company on a daily basis). However, before we could make that happen, we needed to first change some infrastructure. I’m excited to say that most of those changes have been made and we have an AMAZING team with a more dynamic structure.
That’s a lot of hoopla for something that I think is very cool….
Customer service has consolidated and our core staff now handles, among other things, Mail Order Toll Free Line, Global Services Phone Calls, Dealer Service Phone Calls, and Service and Mail Order Emails.
Each person on that staff is a modeler of one sort or another.
Our R&D staff is now directly involved in customer service which means many times, when customers call in, they talk to the staff that test flew or drove the very products they’re inquiring about.
Simply put, it’s modelers serving modelers.
Check out this list of our core Hobby People Service Team Members:
Minh P. – Airtronics Lead Technician. Minh has been with Airtronics for 17 years and pretty much knows in his head everything there is to know about every Airtronics item every made.
Jack Albrecht – Airtronics Technical Advisor (operates the Airtronics 800 tech-line). Jack, like Minh, has seemingly been with Airtronics “forever” and yet has been in the industry far longer as he was part of the leadership of Kraft Radios. Jack’s an AMA hall-of-famer who simply is an amazing modeler. (A Hall-of-Fame member on our staff!?!?!?! How lucky am I! Pretty cool, isn’t it!)
Todd Nicholson – Technical Writer. Todd is a professional builder who simply has decades of achievement and experience. What’s better is that he’s worked at Hobby People in several positions so he truly understands the needs of our customers. Todd not only writes many of our manuals but now troubleshoots samples and even helps monitor our forums and emails.
Kyle Gittins – Mail Order Manager. Kyle, a “sport modeler” has 1st hand experience in most aspects of the hobby and has a mind for the technical. Like Todd, Kyle has been active at Hobby People for a long time and is dedicated to providing great customer service.
Craig Kaplan – Product Manager and Airtronics Team Manager. Craig is our “car guy”. If there’s anything you want to know about cars, Craig’s our guy. He’s excelled at everything he’s done at Hobby People from Store Manager to Race Director, from Product Manager to Team Manager, Craig truly loves the hobby, truly cares about our customers, and enjoys working with “the Team”.
Tiffany K – Service Phone Operator. You might say “what, a girl? What does she know about the hobby?!?!?!” Tiffany has cars and helicopters and simply gets a kick out of the hobby. What’s better is that she’s so dedicated to helping customers. Tiffany may not be with us as a career (she’s studying to have a career in medicine) but she brings a nurturing and caring side to our staff that’s special and unique. No one is more level-headed or cares more about taking care of customers, day in and day out. She, like so many women before her, points out that the hobby is truly a family activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old, men and women.
Farrell F. – Customer Service Assistant Manager. Farrell is knowledgeable in many areas of the hobby. However, I like to think of him as our resident heli-expert. He’s flown many of the 450 heli’s on the market and is our go-to guy for heli setup questions. Farrell is continuing his education right now in electronics as well making him a great help in Airtronics Service when he’s not on the phone helping customers with their helis!
John Greenshields – Engine Technician. John is my father (I’m a 2nd generation modeler and Hobby People employee…) and was Hobby People’s 1st employee when it was opened in 1972. John’s retired but helps us with Engine service. Why? He’s still very active in the hobby and has 40 years of engine experience! And, engine service is at most a part time job (we simply don’t get that many repairs!) so it fits his lifestyle.
Russ Greaves – Aircraft Technician. Russ came to us through the Fountain Valley retail store. Russ is an active modeler who simply does a GREAT job helping Todd and I sort out prototypes, test samples, building displays, and working at trade-shows! Russ is really active with electric aircraft and has a TON of modeling experience. Most weekends you can find Russ at the flying field or occasionally at Disneyland with his girlfriend. When it comes to electrics, Russ is our go-to guy!
You can imagine my excitement when I presented with a way to have this staff working directly with customers! And now that idea is a reality!
Marketing restructure. For those of you who shop with us, I’ll bet you noticed some aggressive sales and promotions since Christmas. We had over 100 items on sale on our website and in our stores, we are now able to offer the same low prices we offer in our stores on-line, and our dealers can participate in these promotions too! Right now we’ve got a coupon AND free shipping online. That coupon is good in the store too and can be applied to items already on sale!
In the world of business this is a volatile time when we find many companies raising prices. We think this is the wrong thing to do in the hobby industry. We’ve gone back to our partners in the hobby industry and tried to find ways to reduce prices, have sales with deeper discounts, and to simply make the hobby more affordable with lower prices and, more fun because you can trust that what you purchase is backed by a customer service dept that cares.
As far as advertising, watch ONLINE. Our ads are going all online, our promotions will be delivered to our customers mainly via email, and you can bet this type of advertising is dynamic, fun, and faster paced. I’ve always hated magazine advertising because you have to make the ads 3 or 4 months in advance! Online, you will see we can act FAST. It’s exciting.
2009 at Hobby People is going to be an amazing and exciting year. The hobby is promising to be exciting and interesting, filled with some really cool and innovative products. Personally, I’ll say that I’m sorry for my lack of responses some days, but rest assured, that will change for the better too!
I wish you all a very Happy NEW YEAR. Let’s make 2009 memorable, exciting, and fun.