Wednesday, October 14, 2015
I DID NOT want to get this machine! I DID NOT want to love it! I DID NOT want to own another product produced by Provo Craft..... EVER!
Years ago I fell IN LOVE with paper crafting! Shortly after my quick fall down the rabbit hole, by sister bought me a Cricut Personal Cutting Machine. It was the latest and greatest papercrafting tool on the market and ran on infomercials pretty much non-stop! It came with 2 cartridges and a 12" x 6" mat that allowed you to cut any image on the cartridges up to the size of the mat. IT WAS AWESOME..... however, ALL of the images were geared for teachers with very basic images that were child-like, and to buy new cartridges would set you back about $90..... WHOA! But I loved it and KNEW the technology would advance, and so it did. In fact, by the time the Cricut Expression was introduced followed by the hand-held design studio called Gypsy in 2009, cartridges were down to about $20-$30, the cutting space had increased to 12" x 24", there were THOUSANDS of GORGEOUS designs to cut and I was upgrading with the BEST of them!!! But with all of the progress, it seemed Provo Craft the company (the makers of the Cricut products) seemed to regress in service. They were leaders in the papercrafting world and they forgot WHO got them there. Their quality began to slip and more importantly, their service slipped to a point that it was so deplorable (you can read all about temper tantrum HERE), I stopped using and purchasing Provo Craft products ENTIRELY..... FOR YEARS!!! If it said "Cricut" or "Provo Craft" on it, I was NOT interested! I bought a Big Shot, by Sizzix, manual die cutting machine and turned to purchasing individual dies. The service at Sizzix has always been excellent!
Over the past 5 years since I stopped purchasing their products, Provo Craft has come out with a few products that I would have liked to try but my distrust of the company turned me away.... until now. This new machine is INCREDIBLE! It allows you to write/draw and cut at the same time, you can print and cut an uploaded image, you can cut any font you have on your computer, you can purchase SINGLE images to cut instead of an entire cartridge for the one image you need. The design studio is now on your computer, on your tablet, your phone or the combination of the three. You can CUSTOMIZE the colors of any of the images and simply print them out, OR you can print them out and cut them.... AND you can do it wirelessly!!! THIS.MACHINE.ROCKS! So I took the plunge! I bought the new Cricut Explore Air.... but only because I have an "out". You see, HSN recently launched Anna Griffin's Limited Edition Cricut Explore Air in a special bundle for $269. The machine is a GORGEOUS gold color, was launched with 5 flexpays, no shipping AND I have until January to return it for a full refund. The customer service test began the day after I bought it and was an utter FAILURE!!! I thought I might have to return the latest and greatest machine unopened the minute it was delivered to my door.
Back when the Gypsy was all the rage, I actually WON a free Gypsy hand-held design studio. The premise was that you could upload ALL your cartridges to this design studio and design anywhere WITHOUT having to lug around all your cartridges. By that time I owned about 60 cartridges, so you can imagine how incredibly awesome winning it for free was to me (I did a blog post about it HERE), especially since it retailed at launch for around $500. That would quickly drop to around $300.... as customer service noticeably slips. Well, the catch to owning a Gypsy was, once you uploaded your cartridges to a device, the cartridge could not be uploaded to another device EVER. Well, guess what machine is now obsolete and what is required to be able to use the new software in the new Explore Air I just purchased from HSN? You guessed it.... I need to upload all my cartridges, but can't! So I called customer service. The girl I spoke to advised me to use a USB cable to upload my Gypsy which would then sync up the cartridges on it to Cricut.com, but I would need this special USB cable that I didn't have and was out of stock. The representative didn't know when they would be back in stock. I asked if there was another way because my new machine was arriving and I wanted to be able to use all my cartridges when it arrived. Her tone changed as she proceeded to tell me that I could send her pictures of all my cartridges with a complete list, but I would need to make sure that she could see EVERY detail of the cartridges and that it was going to take her 7-10 business days to input when I could check other sources for purchasing the USB cable. I asked her if I could just go ahead and send her the pics of my cartridges, my machine wasn't due for delivery until the following week, so this route would probably be the easiest for me. She said "yes", but she wasn't "happy to help", if you know what I mean. She gave me her email address, which I read back to her before hanging up. That night I took my pics, prepared my emails (multiple pics requires multiple emails) and sent them off only to have them returned "undeliverable". Well... this was NOT a good start. I informed my husband that if he was home when the box arrived to refuse delivery.... I WAS NOT going to deal with Provo Craft's HORRIBLE service AGAIN! Well, I had the weekend to cool off from my temper tantrum. I watched a few YouTube videos on how the new machine works and decided to give a call on Monday morning. I got Nic who was WONDERFUL!!! He was helpful and patient and did I say WONDERFUL!?! He waited on the phone while I resent the emails and confirmed receipt of each one. He even waited while I powered on my Gypsy (WOW! Was that thing always this slow?) and went through the entire list of cartridges discovering that there were cartridges on my Gypsy machine that I never received a physical cartridge for (promos that came with the Gypsy machine as well as other promo's offered by Provo Craft) that I had completely forgotten about!!! Thank you Nic! I doubt you know that you stopped a freight train. Had that phone call gone any other way, I would have returned that machine. Had you been representing Provo Craft years ago, that company would have gotten A LOT more money from me!!!
Nic gave me hope that Provo Craft might be going in a more customer service oriented direction. I received my new machine and am having a BLAST with it!!! I've even called the Cricut customer service line a couple of times yesterday receiving patient support both times as well. Time will tell. In the meantime.... WOW does this machine ROCK!!! And for the next two weeks I have access to SOOOOOO many Cricut images for FREE!!! I have the entire library to play with. And that idea is so smart...I already purchased 7 new cartridges because of those free cuts and 5 new cutting mats. See how happy customers spend money Provo Craft? Nic deserves a raise.