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  1. #1
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

    Is customer service a dying breed nowadays? With so much moaning and groaning about people buying online etc, you'd think that suppliers/distributors would happily go that extra mile to help you out.

    Alas, it seems that this isn't so; and certainly *not* in my experience with a certain supplier in Australia. These guys deal with some of the big names - Bowens, LPL, Pentax. Leica and have the audacity to spout forth about *not* supporting Parallel & Grey Imports. (Really? When you won't even get off your butts to check on the availability of a requested product? And this isn't the first time this has happened!)

    I wanted to do the right thing and support my local retailer, who in turn, supports the distributors of the products they sell, so I asked about some parts and their availability. Well the warehouse had no stock, so that was it. No offer to order it in, no offer to check if they can get. Zero, zip, zilch. I was happy to pay for it, but they just didn't care enough to even see if they could get the parts in.

    So I contacted the manufacturer direct. Guess what they asked me to do? Yep, contact their AU distributor. I explained that their distributor didn't care about supplying me the parts - I'd asked them first. Upon hearing this, they happily checked their parts and availability and proceeded to give me a price.

    Their only major concern was the cost of shipping such a heavy item. I could select FedEx/DHL etc or sea-mail - choice was entirely mine. Well, sea-mail was the way to go (cheapest and I'm in no hurry), so that's solved all the problems.

    So I've had no choice, but to purchase a "Parallel/Grey Import" due to lack of customer service in AU - pretty poor when you think about it. Brickbats to the AU distributor.

    Kudos to LPL Japan - they have communicated with me quickly and addressed all my concerns promptly.

    Support your local distributor? Kind of hard when they won't support you. . . . . . . . . .

  2. #2
    hoffy's Avatar
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    I am hearing you there Nanette (BTW, are you back in Aust?). Can I ask, was the product you were enquiring about to do with what may be deemed as part of obsolete technology? This distributor seems to treat anything to do with this obsolete technology as more of a pain then anything else.

    Co-incidentally, I have had dealings with the same distributor this week about a product that I own that has a known fault - while they acknowledged the issue may or may not be occurring to the product that I was using, they were very very cagey to say that something could actually be wrong....nearly going as far as saying that it was more then likely user error then a design fault.... (I.E., its not uncommon for electronic devices to start playing up when used on a day over 35deg C)
    Last edited by hoffy; 02-04-2012 at 05:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    Hi Hoffy, no I'm back in BKK after spending Christmas home in ADL.

    It was for some LPL enlarger parts - column and counterbalance. Maybe they consider that "obsolete"?
    The other parts were Bowens Pulsar triggers, which last time I checked, you still needed with d*****l. . . . . . .

  4. #4
    hoffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozphoto View Post
    Hi Hoffy, no I'm back in BKK after spending Christmas home in ADL.

    It was for some LPL enlarger parts - column and counterbalance. Maybe they consider that "obsolete"?
    The other parts were Bowens Pulsar triggers, which last time I checked, you still needed with d*****l. . . . . . .
    Hehe....if you had rung about the Bowens parts by themselves, you would have been OK!

  5. #5
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    I actually went to see the rep in ADL personally about the Triggers.

    Perfectly simple question: Do these come as 2 pack kits?
    Answer: No! Definitely not!!

    Boy was I p***** when I found out they did and could have saved some good $$$. Plus they didn't want to sell me a complete Bowens 1200 Elite kit (although they did send 2 used heads they wanted full price for) and a Bowens Pioneer System x2.

    Calumet UK got the sale - $7k delivered.

    No wonder TPS is doing it tough - their suppliers don't want to support them either. . . . . . .

  6. #6

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    Sometimes I run into poor service in general retail stores.

    Jeff

  7. #7
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Customer service was destroyed by customers demanding the absolute lowest price. No money left to hire enough qualified staff.
    www.ericrose.com
    yourbaddog.com

    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rose View Post
    Customer service was destroyed by customers demanding the absolute lowest price. No money left to hire enough qualified staff.
    Agree, but that's only half the story. The rest was employers demanding more and more of employees while treating them worse and worse, thereby maximizing productivity but minimizing employees' concern about how/whether they did their jobs well.

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Back in the 80's the owner of quite a decent camera shop told me a story about one pontential customer wanting a complete 35mm camera outfit. Brian spent quite a long time (hours) going through 2 or 3 alternative systems over a few visits to the shop, he knew the customer slightly so was happy to help and he offered reasonable deals. The customer went away to think.

    Next time the customer went into the shop he thanked Brian for all his help and said he'd acted on his advice, he'd been able to buy what he wanted at a discount mail order shop saving a bit more money. Brian banned him from ever entering his shop again.

    Ian

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Back in the 80's the owner of quite a decent camera shop told me a story about one pontential customer wanting a complete 35mm camera outfit. Brian spent quite a long time (hours) going through 2 or 3 alternative systems over a few visits to the shop, he knew the customer slightly so was happy to help and he offered reasonable deals. The customer went away to think.

    Next time the customer went into the shop he thanked Brian for all his help and said he'd acted on his advice, he'd been able to buy what he wanted at a discount mail order shop saving a bit more money. Brian banned him from ever entering his shop again.

    Ian
    I think I was that customer because the same thing happened to me about the same time. Not only was I banned, but I experienced the wrath of the shop owner and was publicly humiliated by him. That made me re-think my need to pinch pennies at the expense of a shop owner who spends the time to give good advice. All I can say for myself is that I was a poor college student at the time and really needed to pinch pennies. Since then I reward good cuatomer service with the sale... even when it costs a tad more. Regarding poor customer service... I deal with that appropriately: if the deal benefits me i go for it; otherwise I walk away and let them know my money is walking away with me.

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