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Author Topic: Good customer service/ bad customer service  (Read 5438 times)

Ryan McLeod

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2005, 09:13:09 pm »

My most impressive service experience was with Crown (through Soundcraft Canada up here in the great white north).

A rack of 3 Crown K2's went for a ride down a steep loading ramp - and hit a cement wall at the end of it's journey. I figured this is what the "no fault warranty" is for, so I boxed them up and made a call. Purolator picked them up the next morning and took them from Toronto to Montreal (on their dime, not mine) and I recieved a call 2 days later "apologising for the delay" - by then they had been serviced (nothing serious was wrong!) and passed a 12-hour burn-test at spec.

In transit a handle on the front of one of the amps was broken, and they had to wait a day-or-two to get a replacement before they shipped them back - all at no cost to me.

The only thing the warranty didn't cover was my time to "un-warp" the Rack!


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Matt Lillie

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2005, 09:44:41 pm »

I could rant for days on this. I cannot tell you how many times someone walks in my shop, asks tons of questions, spends lots of time, gets all kinds of info, and goes out AND BUYS THE STUFF ON THE INTERNET!!!!!!!! I found out about two more today. Un-F$%^-ing-believable. I'm a little shop in the sticks carrying a pile of decent lines. I sell at MAP. There are places selling stuff for nothing. I lost a sale last week. The place sold an $1100 piece for THIRTY BUCKS profit. Before shipping. Why be in business?  

I do have some decent customers. (Hi, guys!) I do installs. I do rentals. I do shows. (Another topic: Sound Co.'s bringing in a line array and a pair of 40's for $1k) I'm also getting tired.  The customer may or may not care when everything is W*l-M*rt audio. The ones that do better support their local guys, or very, very soon there will be no local guys. E-b*y and GC. What a great retail experience.

I also think a lot of it is up to the manufacturer. Some care, some don't. I support the ones I think care. I do see things becoming more and more like consumer electronics, though. Remember when you could go to a Hi-Fi shop?      
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2005, 10:24:59 pm »

OK, since I made a new years resolution to not repeat myself, especially in the same thread  Rolling Eyes , allow me the question. How do you propose that manufacturer's could legally control the WWW and profit margins that hookers will tolerate?

There was an IMO instructive thread started by Wheels awhile back as he wrestled with his bread and butter lines being sold into his small market by a "volume" dealer (how's that for a kind euphemism). I believe he started actually charging for the consulting he was previously giving away (and sailing more).

If you know some magic win-win solution I'm sure all the manufacturer's are waiting with baited breath for your advice. As I see it, the only winner is the consumer, and that is arguably a  win(price)-lose(service/support). The Manufacturer's and dealers if they can adapt fast enough might survive. The manufacturer's pretty much lose pricing power as their customer base consolidates into a handful of superstores. The music is playing faster and the dealers will either be quick or dead.  

JR    
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Charles Johnson

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Re: Say what you will about Peavey...
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2005, 10:40:39 pm »

Matt Lillie wrote on Mon, 17 January 2005 21:08


Audio Technica is great, as are the guys in the Peavey shop, Max and Gene.



Say what you will about Peavey, but when I was repairing a client's Peavey CS800X, which had a broken off binding post, the person I talked to at Peavey (sorry I forgot your name! Rolling Eyes) made sure to get the parts out the door that day, even though it was getting to be fairly late in the afternoon, so that I could have the parts before the weekend, which would allow me to get the repair done and return the amp to the client in time for him to have the ability to use it for at least part of the weekend.

So, kudos are definitely in order for at least one of the guys in the Peavey parts dept, as he made me both happy (since I was not going to have to wait over the weekend) and impressed, since Peavey is a large corporation and my past experience has been that the bigger the company is, the less motivation there is to really go the extra mile (or 2!) for the customer.

FWIW,

Charles Johnson
Clear Audio Productions
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Say what you will about Peavey...
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2005, 11:38:41 pm »

Yes, they're a great group. I used to (try to) meet with them every few months to give them a heads up on new stuff and sit quietly while they told me what I got wrong since our last chat  Smile .

These guys are where the rubber meets the road and they know where the chinks are in the armor.

A perhaps amusing observation, they often used up all their patience dealing with customers so when they did turn inward to deal with in-house issues they could be less than gracious. I always understood them since I came from a small co background and knew the drill but they weren't universally loved by many of the corporate types.

JR
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Mike Chapin

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2005, 11:41:02 pm »

I bought a used Neumann KMS 105, and took the grill off to see what kind of pop filters were inside. There's a tiny little delicate screen three layers in, and I managed to break it by sticking my finger in it. I called Neumann and confessed my clumsiness, and asked if they'd sell me a new interior screen thingy. Well, they didn't have a part number for it, so the service rep said he'd just send me a new one. About 4 days later, I received the entire 3-layer screen assembly in the mail, no charge. It's a $92 item. Kudos to Neumann USA.
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Matt Lillie

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2005, 12:13:51 am »

I wish I had the answers. What I see is some manufacturers have MAP policies and enforce them. The incident I wrote about above was reported, the funny thing is, the rep was in the shop, talked to the buyer, thought we had a sale. I emailed the quote the buyer sent me to the rep, he was astounded. It was a clear violation of MAP policy and the dealer will be "spoken to" and get a written "warning". Whether that helps, I don't know. Nobody I know is getting rich selling at MAP (which is turning into Maximum Asking Price), and the variety of merchandise is so huge, it is impossible for a little guy to handle. Now, if the customer expects two hours of advice, an endless inventory, and a margin you can't fill your gas tank with, what has to give? Most customers, it seems, will ditch the advice and buy something four or five times over again, thereby "saving" tons of $$. The manufacturer sells product, the box house pays their rent, and the customer is happy because he "got a great deal" five times in a row. The trade deficit grows, the landfills get bigger, money changes hands... It gets to a point you just shake your head and put your hands in the air.

I remember the thread Wheels started, and being a bit surprised it took so long to happen there. :^( I think W*l-Mart has proven how far the customer will go to save a buck, they flock to that place. Have you seen the traffic going in and out on a Saturday? Trunks filled up with cheap, disposable, off-shore produced crap? RV's in the parking lot and everything. I, of course, see the polar opposite of that model as being best for all. Exclusivity, pricing structure, service before and after the sale, and fewer, but well-made products on the market. Pumping tons of SKU's, available on every block, into a saturated, mature market can't benefit anyone long term, how long can it continue?

I can understand where the manufacturers are, too. If they pull back, they lose, because the other guy won't. I almost think it will take a complete collapse to straighten out. The survivors won't survive by much, but they'll still be there. Hopefully, it won't be the ones selling through anybody with a website and a warehouse. I fear, though, it will be. One big one on each coast, and they both sell everything at a margin of .0000013% with automated card readers, pickers, and shippers to customers who work at Wendy's or own it.    

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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2005, 01:00:28 am »

I'm not a lawyer so I will try to refrain from offering legal opinions (for a change), but I think there may be some issues with enforceability of MAP. The economic forces at play will likely continue to run their course.

Cost efficient labor has long moved around the world. Everybody who remembers when Japan was "cheap" raise your hand  Smile. One novel (modern?) aspect of this economic adjustment is the WWW and total lack of friction to access pricing information. This easy instant availability of the lowest price offered is IMO more responsible for eroding dealer margins than where products are manufactured.

I don't have all the answers but I have identified what I can't change, and spend my efforts on more productive enterprise (when I'm not posting here far too much).

JR
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Dave Stevens

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2005, 01:34:06 am »

If you are selling at MAP, you're way out of the game as it is and will in most cases be more expensive than the chains and mail order on popular items.  It's doubtful that an email generated at the request of the potential customer violated any MAP arrangements.  MAP covers advertising, not direct pricing.  What you are describing is vertical or resale price maintenance which would be considered illegal under current US trade law.  There are certain cases where vertical pricing can be manipulated, but generally the resale level isn't one of them.

I'd disagree that the Web is responsible for declining retail margins in pro audio.  There is virtually no instant availability of pricing for most pro audio gear on the Web.  It's all constrained by MAP for many if not most items with a few notable exceptions.  The decline in retail pricing is multifaceted and I think has more to do with general shopping and social habits than anything specific to pro audio.  

We had this debate on the SAC list several years ago.  Who here paid sticker for the last car they bought?  Who paid the original asking price on the last house they bought?  Are you buying a new big screen TV?  Do you shop around to save a few bucks on a TV that costs a couple grand or do you buy the first one you see, regardless of price?  As pro audio shifted to more of a commodity based structure, price concerns became one of the primary choices consumers are looking at.

Matt, you're going to have to adapt your business model to compete in pro audio retail these days.

Dave
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Marc Schwartz

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Re: Good customer service/ bad customer service
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2005, 05:54:10 am »

Maybe I am wrong, but the focus of this thread seems to have veered away from the original poster's subject of being disappointed with a manufacturer's repair service. Like many here, I agree that the price erosion in the marketplace is bad for pro audio, but I also see that is an unavoidable economic reality, so long as having the lowest purchase price remains the buyer's driving force. Buyers will almost always buy from the source that provides them the cheapest price.
My complaint, and the one this thread started with is this: there are some manufacturers in pro audio that provide lousy tech support, charge too much for out of warranty repairs, or really don't care to serivce their product at all once they sell them. Most of us who have been around for a while are well aware of who they are, and I do not feel the need to name them here. I will give kudos to Peavey and Shure for their repair service and tech support. I continue to but their products because they have it right. Give the customer good value for the money, and back it up with good service, and they will keep coming back. That is a solid business philosophy, and it works.

-Marc
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