Good Old Fashioned Customer Service at The Sporting Lodge

Good Old Fashioned Customer Service at The Sporting Lodge from The Sporting Lodge

By: The Sporting Lodge  07/12/2009
Keywords: Hunting And Fishing, country sports, shooting accessories

Lindsay MacFarlaine, director of The Sporting Lodge in Cumbria writes about the changing nature of the serving country sports customers and argues for a mix of new technology and traditional service.................

When my father, George MacFarlaine, returned from his native India to England in the early 60s, he was an engineer and a passionate hunter. This love of all country sports and shooting in particular, led him to establish his workshop in our attic in our family home in Cumbria – a county hard to beat for its beauty and dramatic scenery and its wealth of country sports opportunities.
As a registered firearms dealer, George would travel the length and breadth of the UK and Europe to measure his customers for their bespoke shotguns; collect their weapons for repair and even do the odd repair on site; often with family in tow. Those were the days of face-to-face customer service – not only for servicing and manufacturing shotguns but also for supplying the Brady shotgun case, the butt plate and the snap caps.

Our customers were our friends. They would come to the house and experience the gun room with its unmistakable smell of oils and leather and the talk of wildfowling, pheasant shooting and tales of old countrymen would go on until the wee hours.

From the small attic and the attention given to serving our customers and creating long-lasting relationships, the business developed worldwide. Writers, artists, auction houses and police forces the world over started to contact us for information and advice – gladly given. It is this attention to helping people; working with the finest craftsmen and women worldwide and going that extra mile or sometimes hundreds of miles, that is still appreciated in this hectic world.

There is a tradition of good old fashioned customer service which is still offered in the country sports trade and it is these companies who will hopefully survive. People appreciate the time taken to advise and help them – even if it does not result in a sale. It is much more satisfying to develop trustworthy relationships. The key objective is, not only to meet, but to exceed the expectations of the customer.

The electronic age has transformed the way we and the vast majority of country sports trade do business. It has transformed the shopping habits of the consumer and no doubt raised their expectations (sorry Sir, I can do a three day delivery to New York but not next day unless I get on that 'plane). Gone are the days of the local gun shop and country sports outfitter in every town. We can reach a worldwide market at the touch of a button with our websites. We can ship our wares to anyone (shotguns excepted of course) in the world without getting in the car and driving to Dover! Unthinkable less than ten years ago.

These are exciting times. The internet opens up so many possibilities for doing business differently. It also poses the threat of the destruction of the creation of relationships which is what exceptional customer service is all about. Computers can bring the latest range of shooting jackets into our homes. They can facilitate that payment and even the delivery is now electronically enabled. However, they cannot replace the need for that personal touch and the need for impartial and friendly advice which is still, thank goodness, in demand in the 21st century.

Lindsay and her husband John, both keen shooters and registered firearms dealers, continue to run The Sporting Lodge from the family home in Cumbria. Since the death of George in 2000 they uphold the family tradition of personal service and utilise the wonders of the internet at

The Sporting Lodge is an authorised stockist of James Purdey and Sons; Beretta; Perazzi; Le Chameau; Brady; Fjallraven and top quality country clothing and accessories. Contact The Sporting Lodge or telephone +44 (0)15395 63594.

Keywords: country sports, Hunting And Fishing, Hunting And Fishing Clothing, shooting accessories, Shooting And Hunting, Shooting Clothing, Shooting Hunting