10 Ways to Satisfy a Customer

As Marketing Director at ACK it is my responsibility to make sure that customers come to us for all of their paddling and outdoor gear needs. The better I do my job the more orders customers place on ACK.com. The more orders that are placed the harder our warehouse staff has to work to keep our promise to our customers…every order ships the same day!

In an effort to understand and appreciate just how hard our warehouse employees work I spent the entire day in the warehouse at the ACK fulfillment center. I thought I would share the ways our team ensures top-notch service in the 10 Ways to Satisfy a Customer.

  1. We do our own holiday shopping! Our merchandising team keeps up with customer feedback and the latest trends to ensure we offer the products our customers want. Check out the latest goodies.
  2. Double check we get what our customers ask for! As the merchandise comes into our warehouse we count each and every item and make sure it is in perfect condition.
  3. Do the heavy lifting! Receiving a shipment of kayaks is no easy undertaking. We have a system enabling employees to unload a 18-wheeler with close to 100 boats in under 30 minutes. No, you can’t hire our guys to help you move; they are busy helping our customers. You can check out how it is done here.
  4. Take care of the merchandise! We carefully put the merchandise away in a safe place until a customer places an order.
  5. Picking the right Items! Once a customer places an order we pick the items from their specific location in the warehouse. Our team makes sure they are handled with care.
  6. Send customers what they ordered! We take pride in making sure each and every customers gets exactly what they ordered.
  7. Send it to the right place! You would be surprised how often other companies can’t get this right. We don’t have robots processing orders. We have a team of people who care about our customers and make sure everything is sent to the right address.
  8. Wrap it up! We ship a lot of kayaks. Have you ever tried to ship one of those things!? Bubble wrap, tape, bubble wrap, tape, bubble wrap, tape…. You get the idea. We make sure that every single kayak that goes out the door is packed for maximum protection.
  9. Use an Ugly Box! We love our customers, and we also love our environment. We re-use old boxes to help reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. Customers will know if their shipment contributed to the environment because we slap an “Ugly Box” sticker on it.
  10. Get it there on time! Those same people I mentioned before ensure every order goes out the same day. They take pride in this, and I dare you to challenge them.

Now that I have shared the “10 ways to satisfy a customer” I need to go back to marketing so I can make my new friends in the warehouse work even harder. It is my job to challenge them with every new customer that shops at ACK.com. It is everyone’s job to make sure our customers are satisfied.

Lighten the Load with the Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender From Darby

Truck Bed Extender

Extend -A- Truck Bed Extender

Darby solved an age-old question for the paddlesports fan – How can I make hauling my gear down to the water even easier? The Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender has long been one of our more popular products and there are several reasons why:

  • It is easy to use.
  • It is relatively inexpensive.
  • It makes hauling boats a lot easier.
  • And gets you down to the water faster!

With a setup that takes only a few minutes, you’ll be sliding your boats into the bed of your pickup or on the roof (with the appropriate rack and/or pad setup) and be out adventuring in no time.

In the upright position, the Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender will adjust to a roof level from 55-60 inches. As the bed extender, it will reach 50 inches out from the hitch and adjusts from 13-20 inches above the hitch. The crossbar is 48 inches wide and has two metal loops on either end, welded on to serve as tie-down points. The Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender can hold two boats at a time and fits any two inch receiver.

While we can sing its praises all we want, our customers have the final say and according to our site, the Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender is a big hit. Based on 83 reviews at the time of this post, the Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. Here’s one review that speaks to its great problem-solving skills:

This is what I should have purchased in the first place. We have 2 large kayaks, 89 lbs. @ 15 ft each which are very hard to place on the rack above the truck bed/cab, the rack I originally purchased. I would put off fishing trips because of the hardship and hassle of loading and tying down the kayak. Now with the Darby extender I simply pick up the kayak to waist height and slide it in. Then just a couple of easily attached ratchet straps and I’m done. Just as easy to unload. On top of that I can then take the extender off quickly and easily and put the 2 pieces in the truck cab for safe keeping. It goes on and off quickly and very easily. – David F.

We took it upon ourselves to make a video to show you just how easy the installation of the Extend-A-Truck Bed Extender is. Check it out!

-Trent @ ACK

Camp Foods in The Cubicle; Just Add Water

Camp Cooking Made Easy

Dehydrated & freeze dried camp foods have always been a favorite method for adventurers looking for a lightweight and low-footprint method of cooking. That’s because they only require three things: the meal itself, water and a heat source to boil the water (although some dehydrated meals can be made with cold water!). Well, four things counting the utensil! I give a run down on how easy it is in the video below:

We're going to be doing this all week.
We’re going to be doing this all week.

Need Some Help Deciding Which One To Get? We’ve Got You Covered.

There are so many different meals to choose from so how do you decide which one to get? Trent, ACK’s Media Manager, and I are going to make it a little easier for you. We both forgot to go grocery shopping this week so we snuck into the ACK warehouse and helped ourselves to ACK’s stock of camp food. Shhh, don’t tell our boss!

Each day this week we’ll be trying three to four meals from Trail Foods and Backpacker’s Pantry. We’ve put together a cooking gear kit including a Jetboil Flash Cooking Syetem, a pair of Light My Fire Sporks, a 4L Platypus Water Tank, an Optimus Titanium Long Spoon and our own personal bowls. Catch all the action on the ACK blog and other social media sites. We’ll be updating things every day with new food talk, starting later today!

ACK Fishfinder Installation Package

ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit
ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit

Installing a Fishfinder on a kayak can be a daunting task to people who try it for the first time.  Trust me, I know.  The first time I tried to install a fishfinder I had wires running all over the place and parts laying all around because I didn’t know what they were, where they went or what they attached to.  I even came out of the whole experience more frustrated than relieved. I am pretty sure I even questioned if all that work was even worth it.  Let’s face it, sometimes it just helps having a more “seasoned” installation veteran show you the ropes or even install it for you.  Here at ACK, we recognized this problem and came up with a solution.  Not only did we come up with our own ACK Fishfinder Installation Package, but we created a full set of instructions including detailed photos that are extremely easy to follow.  As if that weren’t enough, we filmed a step-by-step video to help show you how the installation is supposed to go so that you’ll have a visual reference if need be.  Pretty cool, right?  I sure wish I had that when I did my first installation!  The ACK Fishfinder Installation package gives you everything you need to help get your fishfinder up and running with fairly minimal effort.  Now you don’t necessarily have to follow the rules to a “T”. If you want to tweak the installation to fit your own personal wants or needs, feel free,  the instructions in the kit will help guide you down the right path to get you to your end goal….a working fishfinder! As always if you have questions or need advice feel free to send us a email at customer@ack.com.

Here’s the video:

-Jerron @ ACK

What Sunglasses Should I Buy?

Photo by Tifosi Optics

Buying sunglasses is never an easy task. There are dozens of manufacturers out there and usually each one offers anywhere from 50-150 different styles of sunglasses. A retail location may carry up to 10 different manufacturers at one time! With all of these options presented to you, it is hard to even fathom where to even begin.

There is a way to help eliminate a lot of your selection right off the bat, and that helps narrow down exactly what you should be looking for. The key to all of this is determining what the shape your face is and also what face size you have. I know it sounds silly, but it is really just as simple as that! There are a ton of different face shapes and sizes, but it really just comes down to 4 distinctive types and those are Round, Oval, Square, and Diamond. Lets take a look at what characterizes each of these face types:

Round – Your forehead, jaw, and cheekbone width should all be equal. Typically your jaw will be slightly rounded as opposed to angular (such as in a square face). Round faces also generally have soft features. What consists of soft features? All of that lies in the lines of your face. For example a square face will have hard lines defining the jaw line or forehead. Round faces will have these areas transition smoothly from feature to feature. More often than not, people with a Round face typically have a Large face size so some of the best frames out there for people with this type of face shape and size are sized Large and Extra Large. The best frame shape at this size is typically a Square or Angular frame. A good example of this would be the Costa Del Mar Blackfin or the Hobie Escondido.

Oval – This is by far one of the easiest face shapes to determine. An Oval face shape is typically 1-1/2 times longer than it is wide. A benefit of this type of face shape, but at the same time a nuisance, is that almost any frame size and shape will look good on you. Most people with an oval face fall in the Small to Medium face size category. One piece of advice for people with an oval face is to pick a pair of frames that are at least as wide as the widest part of your face. A couple of good examples of sunglasses for Oval faces is the Costa Del Mar Caballito’s or the Tifosi Tempt.

Square – People with this face type are sized almost exactly like someone with a Round face in that fact that the width of your forehead, cheekbones, and jaw are equal. The distinguishing characteristic however is that someone with a Square face will have very distinguished angular facial features like a very sharp jawline. People with a Square face are historically classified as having a Medium or Large face size. With this face shape and size combination, a Medium to Large frame size is typically what people will go with. You will also want to go with a frame that has a circular lens shape as well to help lengthen your face out a little bit. The Costa Del Mar Fathom and Optic Nerve Rohtan are two great examples of this.

Diamond – Typically a Diamond face shape is the widest at the cheekbones. Your jawline and your forehead should be about the same width but narrower that your cheekbone width. Right after an Oval face, this is the next easiest face shape and size to fit. More often than not, a person with a Diamond face shape goes with a Large frame due to them having a Large face size. One other important feature of the glasses you pick though is to make sure you pick a pair that has a top heavy frame such as semi-rimless frames. The Hobie Rockpile is a good example of what you should be looking for.

Just figuring out what kind of face shape and size you have will greatly assist you in finding the best fit of glasses. Check out our selection and use your new found knowledge to help guide you in a now un-daunting task! Also note that in the lower left of each of our sunglasses product listing pages we call out the Face Size to help you with this determination.

Jerron @ ACK

New Video: How To Properly Secure a Kayak to a Roof Rack

Transporting a kayak can be a little tricky. Trust us. We’ve seen or heard of improperly secured kayaks and canoes tumble to the road from a speeding car more times than we’d like to recount and it breaks our heart every single time. With that in mind, we went ahead and made a new video to help teach you how to properly secure a kayak to your roof rack even without special cradles and saddles. With a simple and inexpensive cam buckle tie down strap system you’ll have a good secure fit for your kayak. There’s plenty of explanation in the video and I’ll let Jerron show you how its done!

FYI, we used the ACK Vehicle Tie Down Kit and show a set of optional Roof Rack Pads in the video.

As always, thanks for watching and let us know if there’s anything we can do to assist you in outfitting your adventures. Leave a comment here or shoot an e-mail to Customer@AustinKayak.com and we’ll be happy to assist!

Trent @ ACK

Google+ Hangout: How to- Hatch Install

We’re having a lot of fun with our Google+ Hangouts and Monday night’s was no exception. ACK’s Chris Hackerd took viewers through the installation process for a large hatch and a 6 inch round hatch with a cat bag on an Ocean Kayak’s Venus 11. Even if you own another boat, this how-to should come in handy if you chose to make the installs yourself. If you’ve ever been hesitant, there’s no better time to learn than now! While the live event has since passed, you can view the video of the Hangout right here! We will certainly keep you informed and up-to-date about our next Hangout and are happy to take suggestions for future Hangout topics.

Trent @ ACK

Google Hangout: Hatch Installation

Venus 11 Hatch Kit

Time: 6:00 PM CST

Date: Jan. 21st, 2012

How to View Broadcast:

Google+ Members: Click here to enter the Hangout

Non Google+ Members: View the broadcast below at the scheduled time

The Hangout will star ACK’s very own Chris Hackerd, co-owner and VP of store operations, who has offered to lend some of his time to demonstrate how to install a new hatch for your kayak.

Google+ members can view this broadcast either in Google+ or within this blog. Only the first ten Google + members to log in through Google+ will have the option to participate in the Q&A. If you are not a Google+ member you can still view the presentation here. The video will stream live below at the schedule time. Stay tuned!

How to Video: Install a Flush Mounted Rod Holder

Streamed live on Dec. 18th via a Google+ Hangout, Chris Hackerd, ACK Co-Owner and VP of Store Operations, shows how to perform a flush mounted rod holder installation on a kayak. This was our first attempt at a live presentation and I gotta say, Chris did a great job! What do you think? What type of install would you like for him to do next?

Roland @ACK

The following products

Flush Mounted Rod Holder from Select Designs

Pop Rivet Black Anodized from the ACKessories

Locking Flush Mount Bracket 244L from Scotty

Baitcaster Rod Holder from Scotty

Rod Leash from ACKessories

Stainless Steel Bolt #10