Timbuk2 Bags just gets it

Every day, we hear stories about companies that just don’t get it. I’ve even written about some of them on this blog (cough, Rogers, cough).

In branding, we often talk about creating an end to end customer experience and how important it is that the entire process is seamless. This includes everything from your logo, to the copywriting on your website, to the purchase process (no legalese, please!) to customer support when something goes wrong. This overall customer experience approach helps to create stronger bonds with an organization and makes the whole thing click in your head. So few companies get this right though.

Last year, I was looking for a messenger bag, so I started looking around online and asking questions amongst the hip and famous as to what bags they liked. I had a bag from Staples that was big, bulky and boring. Blech. It was also broken. Sorry, no more alliteration, I promise. @pirie had a Timbuk2 and I really liked it, so I visited the website. From the first look, I found that the language was friendly, the products looked well made and overall impression was one of quality with a quirky edge. I was sold.

I pulled out my trusty credit card and ordered two bags. One for me and one for my wife. The process was simple, straightforward and even fun to customize.  Here’s the email I got once I clicked submit.

Thanks for picking us. Your new bag is gonna ROCK!

Here is your order summary email.

We suggest that you actually read it and like it because this is what you are getting and the Lucky One’s address below is where we are going to send it. If you must be That Person, we can TRY our best to make changes or cancel your order. This is only if we have had enough coffee and our warehouse hasn’t. You will need to send your email to Remember, this is only if your order is NOT IN PRODUCTION. Once your order makes it to our production line, we can’t change it for you and if it’s custom, we can’t take it back. Not because we don’t love you; but because we already have really, really nice custom made Messenger bags from Timbuk2. It’s part of the uniform.

How can you not love a company that puts that much effort into making you smile and feel good about your purchase? They even ship their bags out in awesome recyclable bags that double as waterproof bike messenger maps of San Francisco. Not that this is much help to me as a desk monkey in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but the thought is still cool.

I’ve enjoyed many happy days with my Timbuk2 bag since I received it. However, all was not well. One day, I noticed that the handle was pulling out of the top on one side. So, I went back to the site and found (quickly and painlessly) the process for warranty returns. A few fields later, and I had submitted it. The next step was to pack up my bag.

I use FedEx for all international shipping, and I like to do as much as possible online. So, I went to their site, put in my info, printed my shipping label and ordered the pickup. I’ve shipped dozens of things to the US before and never needed a Commercial Invoice, but when the FedEx dude came to pick it up, he wouldn’t take it without one. So, back to their site I went. They make things impossible to figure out. They needed to know the country of manufacture, the harmonized code (whatever the hell THAT is) and more. The form was impossible to figure out and kept throwing errors.

In desperation, I emailed Timbuk2 and asked if they knew what their harmonized code was and where the bags were made. I received an email from Tim in customer service apologizing for the strife (which wasn’t their fault at all) and asking to see some photos of the damage.

I emailed him some photos this morning. This afternoon, I received this email:

Hi Jeff -here’s the thing… We value your business. We want you to be
happy. You had to shell out a lot of $$ to get the new bag. We could
repair it, but the cost of getting the bag back and forth would be about
equal to a new bag. So what we would like to do is go ahead and replace
the bag for you. It would be the most cost effective thing to do.

I know this decision is informed equally by price as it is by their service policy, but it sure is nice to be treated this well. Anytime I need a bag or know someone who does, I’ll recommend Timbuk2. Not only do they make one of the nicest messenger bags on the market, but the entire experience is as close to perfect as possible. As with anything, it’s how you respond when something goes wrong that matters. Anyone can look like a hero when things go well.

Previously posted on

Other Posts

Fatal Flaws of the Funnel: Why B2B Manufacturers Must Take a People-Centered Approach to Sales & Marketing´╗┐

A funnel is thrown into a trash bin

Kula Partners Releases Synchrostack: the Integration Platform that Connects WooCommerce to Anything

Synchrostack Logo

Designing Manufacturing Websites for Everyone & Avoiding Accessibility Lawsuits

Blind person using computer with braille keyboard

The QSP Trap & How Manufacturers Can Achieve Effective Brand Differentiation

Zebra herd waiting on the bank of the Mara river, Kenya

You are using an outdated browser. Things may not appear as intended. We recommend updating your browser to the latest version.