An ear for customer service — Quincy online business for earpieces continues to grow
Rick Marchus runs his business, custom-ears.com, from his Quincy office. While other companies offer custom-fitted earpieces for Bluetooth device and headphones, Marchus said it’s his customer service that is responsible for his growing business. Last week he took an order for 100 headsets to outfit a U.S. Air Force squadron. Photos by Debra Moore
Quincy businessman Rick Marchus markets a product that isn’t unique, but he provides something else that is — his level of customer service.
“Every customer gets a call or email back,” Marchus said, adding that it’s always within a couple of hours.
Poor customer service is what led Marchus, who also owns Quincy Carpet and Window Care, to establish custom-ears.com.
“I could do what that guy does with great customer service,” Marchus said to himself after a poor experience ordering a custom earpiece. “I never got a return phone call or a response. I really loved the product, really hated the customer service.”
Marchus’ quest for a comfortable earpiece began when he started wearing a Bluetooth device for his carpet cleaning business. “I hated the way it fit,” he said.
He researched the options, established relationships with laboratories to manufacture the earpieces and developed a website with the assistance of his stepmom, a graphic artist.
“It was all done with no budget,” Marchus said of the site that features family and friends as his models.
“The first day the website went live, I got my first order,” he said.
Despite a steep learning curve and virtually no startup funds, the business celebrates its third-year anniversary this month.
Marchus’ sales range from a set of earplugs for an individual, to a recent order for 100 headsets for U.S. Air Force pilots. He has also provided communication headsets to the U.S. embassy in Honduras.
Since his business is Internet-based, Marchus attracts customers from all over the world. He has become skilled at promoting his business by surfing the Web and commenting on various sites. The activity draws the attention of Google and improves his placement when others are searching for custom earpieces.
Marchus describes custom-ears.com as “your one-stop source for custom audio earpieces, Bluetooth earpieces and hearing protection.”
Seventy percent of Marchus’ business is for Bluetooth users. Customers can visit his website, click on the product that they want to buy, and Marchus will ship out a kit with the materials necessary to make a precise mold of the customer’s ear.
When customers place an order for an earpiece, earplugs or headphones, they receive this kit that contains materials and instructions that enable them to make a precise mold of their ear. Marchus works with various labs to manufacture the custom pieces. The entire process takes about 10 days.
Customers can choose from a variety of colors, and have the option of swirling colors or adding sparkle.
While most customers opt for black or clear, many take advantage of the selection to mimic favorite sports team colors or wear their favorite shade.
Marchus said that because the earpieces are custom designed they are very comfortable and won’t fall out during any activity.
Much of Marchus’ business is word of mouth because customers are so happy with their product and the service.
Marchus usually receives an order a day, and spends an average of an hour a day processing the orders and answering customer inquiries.
He would like to see the business grow and hopes that one day he can operate his own laboratory.
Marchus would also like to expand his advertising to niche publications such as magazines for long-haul truckers and motorcycle riders.
“I’ve gone out to bike clubs,” Marchus said. “A lot of them like to listen to music when they ride; the earpiece blocks out the Harley sound, but lets the music in.”
I’m a senior citizen, hard of hearing and on oxygen 24/7. Getting a headset to stay in my ear with the tubing always interfering was not possible. Plus I had to push it into my ear and turn the volume to max to hear (almost hear). Your earpiece completely solved everything. No more falling out, no more earhook and with volume down 2 settings I can hear clearly. Courteous, fast service and excellent product. Thank you.
I wanted to let you know that my custom ear buds are great. My recent business trip was a 5-hour flight and I used my ear buds for 4+ hours in both directions to listen to my music on the plane. They were very noise isolating and comfortable. I was finally able to fully exploit my Shure headphones and hear all the nuances of the music. The experience was great. This was one of the nicest treats I have given myself.
Altamonte Springs, FL
A portion of his business is devoted to high-end headphones of the quality that musicians use when they perform on stage.
“The company that makes them for me provides the headphones for the television show ‘Nashville’ and just did Terry Bradshaw’s for the Super Bowl,” Marchus said.
Marchus is becoming known in the industry and is sent new products as they become available.
Despite his success, Marchus isn’t straying from what brought him into the business originally.
“He will spend an hour talking to someone on the phone,” his wife, Laura, said. “He knows exactly what he’s talking about.”
To learn more about Marchus’ products, visit custom-ears.com.