View Full Version : Is it really THAT hard to find good service these days?

Scott Shepherd
11-07-2007, 9:23 AM
Is anyone else finding it difficult to find people who care about customer service any more? I had a rough week last week with suppliers, decided that it was just the week, then came back this week to start fresh and I'm finding the same things. Problem I'm running into is one source suppliers who you can't make mad.

A couple of quick examples. There's a place in town that deals in an industrial line of product. It's all custom stuff, so it's not like you can order it off the internet. I went in last week, placed a $250 order, was told that it would be ready that afternoon. Didn't hear from them that afternoon. Called after lunch the next day, and was told "No, it's not ready" and basically got hung up on. Well, it's 5 days later now, and no product. They are the only game in town, so make them mad and you'll get nothing from them. So I just sit and wait for the phone to ring.

Had a case yesterday, needed a part for a directory system. Just a simple piece of channel than someone had broken in a directory system. Called the manufacturer of the system, was told to buy a new directory at $3000. I told them I just needed the channel and was told to remove the entire directory (which is installed in a commercial office building) and send it to them for repair. I kept pushing that I just needed the channel. I was then told that I was trying to use their patented designs to repair someone elses directory and that people try that all the time. WHAT? First of all, I've bought a lot of product from this company. Second, the directory WAS made by them. So I'm not trying to do anything other than use the original manufacturer to resupply the part. Finally, he tells me that I'd have to go over to the location take a photo and some measurements and send it to them and then they would "decide" whether or not I would be allowed to have a piece of this channel made. I was told that it would also cost several hundred dollars. WHAT? We're talking about a $10 piece of material, $20 worst case. I don't get it.

Is there really so much work out there that people don't care any more? I'm a super easy going guy. I never rant or be rude to suppliers, so it's not like I've said something that offended any of them. Heck, I don't even know any of them.

Of course you have those who nail it every time and do care, but more and more, I'm seeing people with unique products that just don't care about you. Anyone else run into this, or is this black cloud of poor customer service just following me around this month?

Joe Pelonio
11-07-2007, 9:51 AM
I think it's a matter of you (and I) being small potatoes to some of these suppliers. You are not ordering $100,000 worth of products a month so your little order is not a big deal to them, they treat it like a little annoyance. I too run into that.

On the other hand, other local suppliers where I do buy a lot of things, coming in several times a week, are the opposite. I can order and go, and they have it ready when I get there. Plus they refer customers to me. Unfortunately you can't always find what you need locally.

Scott Shepherd
11-07-2007, 10:01 AM
I totally agree Joe, that's the way they make me feel about it, like I'm so small that they can't be bothered.

On the directory system, we've spent about $15K with them over the last two years. You'd think that would at least allow me to get a freaking piece of channel 2 foot long from them.

There are no doubt some killer companies out there. When I find them, I give them every thing I possibly can.

Paul Brinkmeyer
11-07-2007, 2:24 PM
Having just gotten out of a corporation after 32+ years, I can tell you it is not limitted to the little guy. I worked for a furtune 100 company, had 6 million plus to spend every year and up to about 15 years ago it was great, but the tide started to turn about then, and had to drag information out of people, and push all the time to get anything done on time.

I now have my own bus, and customer service/quality is #1.
I may not get rich overnight, but hopefully that is what people want.

Angus Hines
11-07-2007, 2:56 PM
I personally think it's a matter of these people making minimum wage, and truly believing that they are somehow worth more than that to answer a phone and a question.
Were getting what we are paying for I guess.

George M. Perzel
11-07-2007, 6:51 PM
I am convinced this country to going to the dogs very fast. We have a government which won't listen to the people (our fair state (NY) is going to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses and allow them health and welfare benefits-in spite of the polls showing 88% of the people say NO), we have a military which we won't support or allow to fight, and a new generation who thinks they are entitled and should retire at 40.
But, you know, it's still the best country in the world and only wish we were not so complacent about our freedoms and liberty and go out of our way to outlaw common sense and basic courtesies..
I mention this only because I think it's part of the reason it's so hard to find customer service- example:
I stopped by the bank to make a deposit- usually go through the drive thru, but it was backed up- so parked and ran in. No one else was in line and the cashier was too busy looking at something on the computer-finally acknowledged my presence . I passed over the check and deposit slip and then she asked for identification. A little perplexed (this is a deposit) I showed her my driver's license and she asked me to take it out of my wallet so she could make a copy!! At that point I lost it ( banking at this location for 26 years!!) and asked for the manager. She got flustered and said that won't be necessary and entered the deposit. I later called the manager who apologized profusely saying the cashier was new and misinterpreted her instructions, etc, etc.
Any way, I am finally calmed down and thank you all for the opportunity to get this off my chest-we are seriously looking at at small sheep ranch in New Zealand as a final solution.

Lisa Walter
11-07-2007, 7:34 PM
I am new to the laser business. I have spent HOURS on the phone the past couple of weeks with all kinds of businesses.......from the electric company to suppliers of materials I want to laser. Today I called a company that I just gave $240 to for so called materials. They are wedding and baby gifts (and other stuff too). I met these people at the NY State Gift Fair in NYC in August. They were awesome! They call every once in awhile to see if I need anything and a few weeks ago I placed my first order (the $240 worth). I haven't been able to laser a damn thing of theirs. I thought it was because I was new and maybe doing something wrong. A laser buddy of mine told me they may have a non tarnish coating on their stuff. They do. I called today to ask them what they recommend I do to laser the stuff because what I am doing is not working. The woman on the phone acted very annoyed with me. She said she never heard of such a thing and no one ever has trouble with lasering it. I told her I had the same piece in there, lasered on a heavy duty setting, FOUR times over and it didn't even leave a scratch and that a laser buddy said it might be the coating. She said she MIGHT be able to have someone call me but that person wasn't in. I said, well I am willing to have this person call me tomorrow or the next day, that is fine. How much do you want to bet that person doesn't call? These awesome nice people are suddenly not so nice any more once there is a problem. I guess I should be thankful they spoke without an accent that I can't understand. The company by the way is Creative Gifts International. Some really nice products in their catalogs. Good prices........I just can't get through the coating :(

Oh yeah, and the people I bought the laser from were up my butt for months. Now that I paid for the laser I never hear from them (they don't return calls or emails). I guess that's normal though huh? I am thinking of purchasing a tabletop laser to take to shows with me......not sure I will be so quick to reorder......from the same salesman anyway. The laser itself I like.


Scott Shepherd
11-07-2007, 9:16 PM
Ahhh, I'm not glad to hear that I'm not the only one. I thought it was just me, apparently not. Just for the record, both people I mentioned in my previous post are older men, not young minimum wage job holders.

Lisa, I'm with you on the laser one. Our first laser, we were treated like gold, calls answered, etc. during the sales pitch. Bought the laser, got it, never heard from or saw the guy again. We had problems with it, couldn't seem to get the resolved by the factory, called the salesman for help. Went through this process for months. They never came to look at the problems to help me out. Finally, they agreed to buy it back.

They came to pick it up and I pulled out samples to show the problem and they said "Wow, there's something wrong with this machine". Well, no crap. That would have been known months ago had you actually dropped by.

Give me a $20,000 order and darned if I won't be delivering donuts to your house once a week.

Denny Rice
11-08-2007, 1:10 AM
Prince Elliott of NY will never get his way after the folks at CNN and Lou Dobbs exposed him for what he really is..... But more to the point I agree "customer service" is a thing of the past, this has happened because our gov''t does not care about the "working blue collar" worker in this country anymore. It is shown in the low wages that are paid to the middle class today after being adjusted and compared to the wages my grandfather was paid 50 yrs ago to work in a factory 8 hrs a day for 30 yrs plus his retirement and pension. This country has become a "consuming country" not one that "produces" anything. We have shipped millions of jobs to China and import millions of illeagals every year because our gov't says "no one will work these jobs" and they are right to a point, bbut if these jobs were not filled by illeagals in this country businesses would be FORCED into raising the wages of these jobs to intice Americans to taking these jobs and the jobs would be filled.. The problem is you have elected officials in both parties that don't care and support illeagal immagration to keep cost low and have no desire to stop it. And whats even sadder is you have a gov't that is building a wall on the Mexico border made out of Chinese steel, (they are breaking their own laws). We need another tea party in this country!

Todd Schwartz
11-08-2007, 9:41 AM
More reason than ever to give our customers fantastic customer service. Good customer service is turning into the exception rather than the rule. This is a great opportunity to set ourself apart from our competition.

People buy from people they like, people that they trust and people that will go above and beyond the expected.


Keith Outten
11-08-2007, 9:55 AM
Rather than edit all of the posts that have swayed toward a political viewpoint in this thread I will just provide this warning. Keep politics out of your posts here and please stay on topic so we won't have to remove the entire thread.

Thanks Folks


bruce cain
11-08-2007, 11:21 AM
I have always had good luck with the items from Creative Gifts. To laser the silver or chrome plated items, I think you would have to use Cermark.
I use diamond drag engraving on those items and use the laser on their wood and leather items.


Lisa Walter
11-08-2007, 11:28 AM
Oh this laser guy was my best friend haha! I was leary of course and did choose the machine because of the great reviews of the machine, not because butter could melt in his mouth :) I even went to his house to see the demonstration 3 hours away. He came to my house to give me the training. I thought he'd at least answer my emails.....considering he said business is very slow for selling lasers right now. Luckily (knock on wood) the laser seems to be treating me well.


Mark Winlund
11-08-2007, 12:42 PM
I think that the lesson to be learned in all of these posts is to let customer service in YOUR business be the top priority. Success will follow.


Eric Allen
11-09-2007, 9:09 PM
I have to agree that we have the opportunity to make something of this situation. I pride myself in going the extra mile for customers, especially Creeker's:) I'm currently deeply and expensively into R&D for someone, but if I don't do it, who will? I've certainly had my experiences with awful customer service, so if I have to stay up all night working something out, I'll do it, just so I'm not part of the problem. I think people do recognize that, if for no other reason than the sad truth that it has become rare. More business for those who care, maybe we can put the bad ones out to pasture in time.:)

On a side note, it's good to know that many are aware of the issues we share as business folks and just people in our country. It's clear why the moderators wouldn't want to let that stir up too much though, it can create a lot of tension in an otherwise great board. Maybe they'll consider a separate forum for politics as it affects us? It would certainly beat MySpace Politics forum, it can be less than civil/reasonable at times, and we have a different take having been both business owners AND employees. I'll bet making THAT decision will involve Excedrin Migraine:D