A reader survey in the November 2013 issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly reaffirmed something that many collectors have known to be true for quite some time: Panini America is the industry's clear-cut leader when it comes to handling redemption cards -- by a wide margin.
A reader survey in the November 2013 issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly reaffirmed something that many collectors have known to be true for quite some time: Panini America is the industry’s clear-cut leader when it comes to handling redemption cards — by a wide margin.
According to magazine editor Chris Olds, more than 800 readers participated in the magazine’s “20 Questions” poll revolving around the thorny issue of redemption cards. But it was question No. 16 that likely resonated the loudest online, in hobby shops and in manufacturer boardrooms across the country: “Which company handles its redemptions the best?” Panini America received a resounding 39 percent of the vote, more than twice the number of votes received by the nearest runner-up.
“I wasn’t that surprised to see Panini get the approval of about 40 percent of our readers based on the constant/weekly updates it provides,” Olds said. “That’s actually something other companies have recently adopted to help satisfy us collectors a bit more.”
Few will argue that Panini America has made tremendous strides in the customer service arena in recent years, the result of new leadership, a new staff, improved accessibility and the embracing of social media as a primary consumer touch point. In addition to providing comprehensive weekly redemption updates that began more than two years ago, Panini America Customer Service representatives now attend every major card show to conduct live redemptions on site and to interact with customers.
“No one likes redemptions at Panini and we’ve made it a priority to establish multiple touch points so that we can engage with collectors and work hard with them to resolve redemptions, and create a level of transparency so they see what cards are going out each week through our Weekly Redemption Card Updates on The Knight’s Lance,” said Jason Howarth, Panini America’s Vice President of Marketing. “Customer service is one of the most important things we do here on a daily basis, and it’s rewarding to know that our efforts are noticed and appreciated by Beckett readers. The survey results for this question are something we’d prefer to not even be a part of, but we will continue to do everything we can to minimize redemptions and create a more engaging experience for collectors.”
While question No. 16 in the Beckett poll was the only one to single out individual manufacturers, answers to the other 19 questions revealed many interesting insights. And according to Olds, they also illustrated that the word “redemption” just might not be the dirtiest word in the collecting language.
“Redemptions are a hot-button topic for collectors as well as card companies — something nobody likes among either group — but I was surprised by the response to the poll,” Olds said. “More than 800 collectors offered their views — a higher number than normal — and the results were perhaps not as doom-and-gloom as I had expected considering the typical kinds of comments from collectors online about redemptions. Many of them showed that they do understand the process and it might not be as bad as people can sometimes make it sound.”