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We are excited and honoured to announce that earlier this month the PumpEase hands-free pumping bra was named a winner of the Parent Tested, Parent Approved (PTPA) Seal of Approval!
After our last attempt at being recognized for our product, you may think we were a glutton for punishment, wouldn't you? Well, I dusted off my pants, dried my tears and did some extensive research on the other programs out there before I got back on my horse. And I am pleased to share with you that, after doing said research and narrowing my choices down, I found myself chatting with the people at PTPA Media (before I submitted my product), and my faith in these "awards programs" was somewhat reinstated. At least enough to give it another go.
During my "pre-submission" chat with PTPA Media, they were completely up-front about ALL the fees involved to be evaluated by their product testers as well as the licensing of the Seal of Approval if you indeed are named a winner. Everything we discussed was also clearly outlined on their website on an easy-to-find page.
Let's be blunt here. These awards programs are a business, plain and simple. They are out to make a profit just like the rest of us. Having said that, there are businesses out there that provide a good product/service/customer care and then there are others that.. well.. don't. Guess which one I am going to choose to deal with?
However, I'll admit that I was nonetheless expecting the worst (still licking my wounds I suppose), but was pleasantly surprised with the level of customer service that I received from PTPA Media. Every email, every phonecall, every voicemail and every letter that I was promised, I received. There were no surprises, no delays and no misunderstandings. Everything that I paid for, that was CLEARLY explained to me, I received. This makes Wendy a happy girl! (I love happy endings!) :-)
As you may already know, I am a huge proponent of extraordinary customer service. Not just good, not just excellent, extraordinary. And if you've ever had the occasion to deal with me on a customer service issue, then you already know that I won't stop until you are happy. Really happy. I want to make you say, "Wow!". Aside from the obvious reasons that customer service is so important to us, I believe that this, along with web 2.0 practices (I'll quote Peter Shankman here) transparency, brevity, top-of-mind and relevancy, FLATTENS THE PLAYING FIELD for smaller companies like ours to compete with the "big guys". This is the beauty of doing business in today's world. And I love it!
But let's get back to the award! We received some great feedback (both positive and not so much), all of which is super useful for us going forward with new product development and current product improvements. I will now share some of the accolades with you... *blushing*
"This product more than met my expectations. At first, when wearing the hands free pumping support, I was very stiff and slow in my movements as I was unsure how supportive the product would be in holding my breast pump. In a short period of time, I realized that the breast pump was secure and I was able to move normally without worrying about my breast pump falling off. I inserted batteries in my breast pump so as to not be restricted by the cord length and then attempted various activities. I was able to clean my house, prepare meals, surf the internet, type emails, read books, knit, and interact and play with my 2-1/2 year old and 6 month old, all while pumping. In addition, I pumped with the PumpEase hands-free pumping support while nursing on the other side. With all these activities undertaken while wearing the support, the breast pump was held securely. At no time did it feel like the breast pump felt loose or in danger of falling off. The hands free pumping support held the breast pump on my breast with evenly distributed pressure in such a way that was more consistent and secure than holding the breast pump by hand, resulting in an increased amount of milk being expressed."
"The quality met my requirements. The product appeared very well made and was very easy to care for. It cleaned up very well and dried quickly. I wore the product for lengthy periods on its own and with the breast pump in order to see if it would begin to sag or stretch out. After lengthy and day to day use, the support maintained it's shape, and comfort without stretching out or becoming loose."
"The hands free pumping support is very comfortable to wear. It is supportive enough to hold the breast pump in place securely, while not feeling restrictive. There were no parts of the support that scratched, poked, pulled or pinched the skin. I wore the support both alone and over my nursing bra. The product was just as effective either way."
"I received the "Tuxedo" style which is black with white trim. It is very appealing and classy looking. For others that enjoy more colour, there are other prints available which are just as fashionable."
I could include more, but don't want to bore you.
And here is some of the constructive criticism...
"There were a lot of latches on the front of the bra to close it. Too many for my liking."
"I didn't really care about the style and colour because no one sees it but me."
"Taking the equipment out and apart was a little challenging and sometimes my milk would leak onto the bra as I was taking the equipment off."
"I found it took extra time to set up to pump rather then just pumping like I normally do, it took me some time to get comfortable."
"I think the product is over priced. I think that $30-ish would be fair. I think that the competitors are over-priced as well."
At this point, I'd like to thank all the product evaluators for their thorough and honest opinions. As I've said many times before, we LOVE feedback because that is one of the many ways that we can make things better for YOU, our customer! And isn't that what it's all about?
So keep your eyes peeled for further announcements about PumpEase as this marketing campaign unfolds. If you have any feedback about PumpEase, please leave it in the comments below. Bring it on!
And for the record, I have STILL yet to hear from iParenting Media. I guess they're not calling me back huh?