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Angel

Bad Customer service vs good

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Good: Bill Lawrence pickups. Back in the 80s, way before the internet. I was doing some modifications to a guitar which left me with a Strat-type single coil pickup to go in a humbucker-sized hole. My local music shop used to be a Bill Lawrence dealer and I could remember seeing a suitable humbucker-sized surround with a single-coil cut-out in their catalogue. Unfortunately by this time the shop were no longer selling Bill Lawrence products and none of the others in the area could help. I had Bill Lawrence's US address from something I had bough previously so I wrote them a letter, asking if they were still selling such and item and if so how much would it be including postage to the UK. About 2 months later when I had forgotten all about it, I received a package containing two surrounds in black and cream plus all the necessary fixing screws FOC, with a very nice letter thanking me for the enquiry and apologising that they didn't currently have UK distribution.

Variable: Boschma Cases. Anyone who has owned on of their rack mounting cases will know that there is one exception to the excellent design in that the rubber feet have a tendency to become detached from the screws holding them in place under any kind of rough handling. The first time this happened, Boschma very kindly sent me 4 replacement feet FOC. Over the years I slowly used these up, and when I came the enquire once again if I could get some replacements (which I was perfectly happy to pay for) the company no longer wanted to know.

Terrible: Ashdown. I know that just about everyone else on here has nothing but praise for them, but my experience has been very poor. I was one of the many who had problems with My Ashdown Superfly amplifier. First it developed the well-known high-pitched whine, but after a while I also started having problems getting the amp the switch on. Emails to Ashdown revealed that they really weren't interested in getting this amp working, and when the intermittent switch on problem turn into a seemingly permanent one, I stuck it in the bin. I would have left it at that, but then at least one person on Basschat revealed that not only had Ashdown fixed their Superfly amp long after the warranty had expired, but that they had done it FOC! When I pointed this out on one of the Ashdown threads I got a very sarcastic response from @Ashdown Engineering, providing that their crap customer service lives on if you are not one of their favoured customers.

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I can only say that Ashdown Engineering have given me the best customer service. I bought a second hand ABM 500 2x10 combo from here a while back. I went try it out a couple of weeks ago and it was making a buzzing noise and no sound from my Rick. I messaged Mark Gooday on facebook asking him if he could recommend a a repair guy in the North West. He replied quickly that it would be easier to send it to him and they would have a look at it. He was on holiday on a Greek island at the time.

Sent it to Ashdown, it was repaired and serviced the day they received it and sent it back to me FOC. Just outstanding service. Sorry to hear that you didn't get the same service @BigRedX  

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It should be pointed out that good customer service isn't just getting things for free.

 

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Not had any story-worthy bad customer service in recent memory (luckily), but the last bass I ordered from Kenny's Music came via FedEx and looked like it had been through WW2. The body was full of cracks and splits, the box had boot prints all over it. However, within 2 minutes of speaking to a very helpful and apologetic chap at Kenny's Music (even though it wasn't their fault), a courier was booked with a replacement which arrived the next day and swapped the basses over. Wouldn't hesitate to order from them again.

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Not sure if it counts as good or bad, maybe as strange (at least to me). A few years ago, I ordered a set of bass strings from Bax. They sent me the wrong set (GHS Bass Boomers 3040) and they only sent me the correct one (GHS Bass Boomers M3045) after I had sent them a photo showing that I had destroyed the wrong set. Bit of a waste 🥴1232350180_DestroyedStrings.thumb.jpg.f810ef817a99893c04dce8e82d247df0.jpg

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30 minutes ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

Not sure if it counts as good or bad, maybe as strange (at least to me). A few years ago, I ordered a set of bass strings from Bax. They sent me the wrong set (GHS Bass Boomers 3040) and they only sent me the correct one (GHS Bass Boomers M3045) after I had sent them a photo showing that I had destroyed the wrong set. Bit of a waste 🥴1232350180_DestroyedStrings.thumb.jpg.f810ef817a99893c04dce8e82d247df0.jpg

That's weird.

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3 hours ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

Not sure if it counts as good or bad, maybe as strange (at least to me). A few years ago, I ordered a set of bass strings from Bax. They sent me the wrong set (GHS Bass Boomers 3040) and they only sent me the correct one (GHS Bass Boomers M3045) after I had sent them a photo showing that I had destroyed the wrong set. Bit of a waste 🥴1232350180_DestroyedStrings.thumb.jpg.f810ef817a99893c04dce8e82d247df0.jpg

Bax are an absolute joke. A mate of mine is having a very strange experience with them at the moment.

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34 minutes ago, Cosmo Valdemar said:

Bax are an absolute joke. A mate of mine is having a very strange experience with them at the moment.

Agreed.

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Bought a bass in August. Returned on Aug 20. Advised of the refund today - nearly two months later,. Not very happy with Bass Direct re this, on nearly a grand I’ll have been charged a fair bit on interest.

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3 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Bought a bass in August. Returned on Aug 20. Advised of the refund today - nearly two months later,. Not very happy with Bass Direct re this, on nearly a grand I’ll have been charged a fair bit on interest.

Thats what I had from bax, they lost the bass. And once advised of a refund, that took a while too.

Would expect a bit better of bass direct, but then I have never exactly had good service from them either.

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I've had good service from many companies,   but the worst was Bass Direct by a long long way, over a bass i left with them on a commision sale.  The bass went missing, ( told it was being repaired ???  It wasnt faulty when i dropped it off ) and still to this day has not reappeared for sale.  I got told a tissue of lies, and  finally got some money ,  not the full amount we agreed on either, after serveral months and a legal threat.   Where the bass is today is still a mystery

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On 07/10/2020 at 13:57, Angel said:

I emailed John and asked if I could purchase a replacement, and not 10 minutes later he had replied with "I've stuck one in the post for you"

Very lucky that you lived at the same address!

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On 07/10/2020 at 13:57, Angel said:

I spent a few hundred pounds on bass pickups at a well known dealer. They showed up and annoyingly one of the 4 'tube' springs was missing from one package. I sent them an email stating that one was missing and could they stick one in the post (I'm all out of spares, and my OCD side would prefer 4 the same even if they can't be seen!). Ignored. I ended up buying some tubing off of eBay. The upshot is I have unsubscribed from their newsletter and will be going elsewhere in future for bass-related purchases. 

OK, so today I was going to install my old John East J-Retro 01, and to my consternation I found that I had lost the earth wire. I searched all over but couldn't find it. I emailed John and asked if I could purchase a replacement, and not 10 minutes later he had replied with "I've stuck one in the post for you". Now THAT is great customer service! Many thanks to John!

 

 

I sent my J retro back to John and he soldered the earth wire on for me!

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1 minute ago, gjones said:

I sent my J retro back to John and he soldered the earth wire on for me!

I recall one time he emailed me and walked me through an issue I had with a P Retro while he was in a hospital waiting room.  Beyond the call of duty! 

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Another positive for Hipshot. Emailed to ask about getting some replacement intonation screws and received a full set free of charge within a couple of days.

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39 minutes ago, Paul S said:

I recall one time he emailed me and walked me through an issue I had with a P Retro while he was in a hospital waiting room.  Beyond the call of duty! 

TBH: any time I have been in a hospital waiting room I would have welcomed the diversion!

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I had issues with my Darkglass Alpha/Omega 900 amp. The guys at Darkglass have responded to every email and offered to help at every stage. I'm expecting the repaired unit back any day now so lets see.....

Best service ever shout out goes to Martin Owen at Owen Electronics. Fantastic work and amazing explanation of the faults found and repair procedure on the pedal he repaired for me.

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I've fortunately had more good experience than bad.

Good service:

Bergantino - Jim Bergantino not only designs and sells exceptional gear, he continues to develop his flagship B|Amp and provides new features to all owners free of charge regardless of whether they are the original owner.  I don't know of any other company that does this and on a regular basis.  It's not even advertised as a benefit in the marketing material.  Jim is always helpful and prompt when answering queries via email and is genuinely interested in customer feedback whether via email or on Talkbass.

An honourable mention goes to Dave Wilson (Guitar tech) for all round great customer service (in addition to top quality workmanship and being a really nice bloke!)

Poor service:

I'm not going to name this UK based retailer but on more than one occasion I've phoned to buy something and have been asked to send them an email to tell them what I want to buy.  Sending an email isn't a big deal but if I can be bothered to phone to give them my business why can't they just sell it to me there and then or make a note of what I want and either fulfil the order or get back to me later?  The same retailer has advertised items in stock that turn out not to be (unfortunately a increasingly wider issue).  None of these are massive issues but just a poor customer experience that makes me more inclined to spend my money elsewhere.

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Bass Direct can be a bit hit and miss. I usually use them for strings without issue, it seems odd ordering something without getting a confirmation email back (other than from PayPal) but the strings usually turn up - eventually - in good order. I did once get a set of six strings from them when I had ordered five and was never sure why. Perhaps they sent them by mistake, perhaps they didn't have a five string set available so just sent the six string pack rather than lose the sale. On one occasion, I did try to buy something from them (I think it was a bass though I can't say what) only to be told it was out of stock after payment had been taken. However, I was refunded the next day without issue. Things seem a little more haphazard there since Marcus left. Maybe it's all in my mind. In any event, despite their great stock and one-man-band approach, Bass Direct do seem to be lagging behind a bit in the customer service stakes. It would be great to have a place like that in the UK that was genuinely heralded as being flawlessly excellent, like the kind of customer service you might get in American from say, the Bass Centre in Florida. 

In terms of bad customer service, two things come to mind that aren't bass related but stand out as just being fosters poor. 

On one occasion, many years ago, I was out for a meal with my parents at the old San Lorenzo restaurant on Gosforth High Street in Newcastle. I had some sort of pizza with mushrooms on it. As I was eating it, I found a short and curly black hair with a white bud on the end. I notified the waiter, who came back and said the chef wanted to see the pizza. He came back and told me the chef had said it was a hair from the mushrooms! Of course, the pizza and the offending hair were by that point probably in the bin. I declined a replacement pizza and yet I still had to ask for the pizza to be taken off the bill once we were all done. Treating the customer like an idiot - fail. I never went back. 

The most petty and egregious bit of bad customer service still lives with me now, even years after the company went under. The offending party was Grainger Games, with their store in the Metro Centre, Gateshead. I had been a customer of Grainger Games for years, ever since they were a small octagonal stall inside the Grainger Market in the toon. I can even remember the first game I bought there, it was 'Hexen' for the PS1. Over the years, my brother and I had probably spent thousands there. 

On a whim, I wenty into the Metro Centre store once and picked up a used copy of Devil May Cry for the Xbox 360 (the rubbish remake with the emo-Dante lead). It was only about a tenner or less, so I bought it and went home. I went to get the disc out of the box a couple of days later and noticed the disc was cracked all the way through, but the seam on the top side of the disc was fairly tight so you wouldn't notice the damage unless you were lifting the disc out of the case. In that sense, it would have been easy to pop the broken disc back in without even noticing the damage, which is exactly what I had assumed had happened. I went back to the store a few days later to return the game, not particularly bothered about the cash and quite happy to take store credit for something else. 

The manager of the store, a dreadfully impolite bloke, had a look at the disc and outright accused me of breaking the disc. He said "Nah, you've broken that getting it out of the case" and proceeded to flex the disc in the holder, showing the break. I had no doubt that was how the damage was caused but I didn't appreciate being accused in this fashion. He refused to refund me, made me out to be a liar and probably contravened my statutory rights in doing so. I decided there and then never to spend another penny at a Grainger Games. 

So incensed was I that I wrote a letter to the head office (which was in Benton at the time), complaining about their customer service and noting that I was a long time customer and felt stiffed by the store manager over a £10 game. They sent back more than that sum in vouchers in response, but I never did spend my own cash in store again and I warned my mates of their attitude too. The company went bust a couple of years ago, doomed by their unsustainable business model and the changing market. Although my business wouldn't have saved them, it wouldn't have hurt either. 

 

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Stringsdirect. - Amazing customer service.

I bought a Gruv Gear Duostrap from them which arrived yesterday with a fault on one of the fixtures. I emailed them last night asking if they could post the part or arrange a replacement. I got a reply this morning saying they have despatched a replacement strap to me immediately to minimise my time without it and providing freepost details for returning the faulty one.

This is how you win and keep customers. 

John

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