Compliment Sandwich

Whoops, this is kinda long.

Let me start off by saying that is a great site. They do plenty of things right. It's easy to use, it's flexible, they have affiliate and referral programs, and their products are good quality.

For those of you that don't know what CafePress is, it is a custom printing service that allows you to upload and print your images on a variety of items (over 80 options), including apparel, bumper stickers, and even print-on-demand books and CDs. You can make something for yourself or as a gift, open a public store for free and collect a markup, or browse the other public items and shop for yourself.

However, it seems there are some kinks in their customer support system.

My first experience with their support system began with me filling out their support request form, asking if i could use product images on my site. It took them four full days to get back to me, however, I would say that i was satisfied with this experience. Why? I didn't get a form letter, they apologized for (and explained) the delay, and, the answer was yes! They even provided instructions for saving the images in case i didn't know how.

In the process of creating the Robot Monkey store, I created my first CafePress audio CD. These can be created either by uploading MP3 files or by mailing in a physical master. I chose the MP3 option and uploaded the necessary MP3 files. There was no notice (that I saw) of any verification process beyond the technical verification of the MP3 files, which was completed within a couple minutes of uploading. Because of this, I was confused when hours later, my CD was still stuck with a "PENDING" status. At this point, I posted on the support forum (after searching first) and filled out the support contact form because I wanted to get this squared away ASAP for the April 1st launch. The next day, having remembered the long response time for my previous request, I decided to call them. The representative was very friendly, but wasn't able to do much besides search the same help pages I had access to. He suggested that I wait until about 1:00 (it was 9 AM EST) and check back to see if the techs in California had replied to my forum post. I called back called back after 3, and the same rep answered. He apologized for the wait and explained that there was 1-2 day wait to verify quality of the tracks and to make sure there were no copyright violations.

I was satisfied at this point, since I knew it was just a matter of time for the CD to appear, and that there was nothing wrong with the system and I didn't miss something. When the image fiasco was over, the CD appeared on the store with the restoration of the rest of my products. A couple hours later, I received an email response to my support request, telling me that the CD was unavailable because I had not yet physically mailed them my master CD, even though I had explained in my request that I used the MP3 upload feature, AND the CD was at this point publicly available on the store! Oh well, at least the CD is working. I'm glad to see that the series of random beeps was up to quality standards.

The good news is that there are signs CafePress is focused on their customers, with discussion forums, chats, contests, and even meet & greet events. So, get going to and have fun.

Posted: Tuesday - April 04, 2006 at 05:50 PM