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TOPIC: I need to vent here about customer service.

Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5757

  • MichaelCraft
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I too am in the same boat, but I have either relied on the forums, and i have called three time (once to order, once to check on my order as the previous ETA had passed and I wanted to add more stuff, the third time double checking the math on the final bill, which I had screwed up, but Kay helped me in about 2 sec on where i went wrong, and no sense of impatience). Every time, someone answered the phone (which is a miracle IMO, there aren't that many people that work there :)), and every time i got what I needed. The rest of the time I read the forums for updates, and got what I needed based on the delays (where I too prefer to wait than get a defective product, so I appreciate their QA).

Email is one of the worst forms of communication unfortunately (especially with a few employees and the fact that they always answer the phone, and in the forum one update takes care of MANY people, but email queues, you get behind, and there is never enough time :/).

In my business we have the same problem running projects where of course our stakeholders want to be informed on the status of their projects, etc., millions of $ and lives are at stake with our projects. SO what we do is 1) create a constantly updated project sight/forum and distribution list for every project including all of the stakeholders and interested parties, and send out regular(daily, weekly, etc., depends on project criticality or when we have just happened to hit a milestone or a bump) links to the update summaries on the project site and another link to the project site details to address most questions, and 2) set our out of office messages to go off almost all of the time saying if you are requesting information for A, B, or C, then please request to be added to X project's project site and contact list (we call them DLs aka Distribution lists). IN WEs case they could just send a link to the forums and the phone number, in our case we have to set permissions since our project sites are locked down. We HAVE to do that or we would be emailing all day and never actually get any work done :). We run a tight staffing ship too.

Perhaps WE could try the same thing? Build a list of DLs for back-ordered items, and then just type up a quick email to send to the whole list once a week with a short update, or even just a link to the update posted in the forum (which will help train the clients to go to the forums, this has worked well for us). Also, on the email, have an auto response to say check the forums "here" for questions, send an email "here" to ask to be added to the DL if you are inquiring about a back-ordered item, call "here" if this is a time sensitive issue, otherwise you may expect a response to this email in "x" days, weeks, etc.

Email is a great communication medium, but it is also a time vampire if you don't manage it :(. And unlike forums and using DLs, email only addresses one client/customer at a time, hence isn't the most efficient communication mechanism, vs. these forum, which IMO are the most efficient for everyone.

And when it comes to your very valid concern (when is that big charge gonna hit my credit card, I feel you there :)), call vs. email to get an update on the shipping ETA for YOUR order, as that is definitely time sensitive. In my case, I have stopped using that CC and there is plenty of room, because I know how hard predictability is on the manufacturing of new things. I have probably 8 CCs, but most don't carry a balance, I have them because of all of these new programs that change every quarter (5% off of gas for Q4, etc.), so that I always have a CC that gives me at least 5% cash back on EVERYTHING I purchase. If you don't have that luxury to stop using the card, and don't balance it like a check book so you always know your REAL available balance, then calling is your only option I think.
Last Edit: 2 years 2 weeks ago by MichaelCraft.
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Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5758

  • Scott Sherman
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Hey Leo,

You make some valid points re: hiring and having a new employee in a new business especially while in transition, which I understand is the case. Non the less, I need to be kept informed of status changes of an order like this as far in advance as is reasonable or possible since the fulfillment and delivery of the system effects what I do and when I do it.

I don't want an unexpected very large charge on my credit card the day before the billing period rolls over for example, or if it is delivered and I need to be out of town, I don't want it sitting on my porch, or if life changes suddenly change my financial situation and the charge unexpectedly after a couple of months of no contact suddenly comes in... I could go on with examples of why it is important a company which changes and delays fulfillment needs to keep it's customers informed but I think I have made my point.

I must say to be fair, they have been very friendly and responsive by phone, but they have repeatedly given me dates when the order would be filled and the dates come and go and there is no charge on my card and no phone calls or emails letting me know of delays or new expected delivery dates. I have started a couple of threads here asking for updates and Clay has popped in with info, but it is generic and vague as to my order or yours if you have been waiting. It almost seems easier to just put the names of everyone waiting for a new order on an email blast list and one email will be delivered to everyone at the same time that the factory had a delay or something. This has got to be less time consuming than taking calls from dozens or more people waiting and being frustrated for their new system or upgrade.

I will simply say at this point that Clay really has been doing great updating, correcting and modifying the WEP System but from the business side, I can still see some room for improvements. I'll call in again on Tuesday and see what I can, but sheesh, what a frustrating experience this has been.

I think they need to remove the email contact link from the website and make it clear that they just can not respond to emails and suggest that inquiries be by phone only. That might be hard for some since email is very convenient and dependable when used effectively.
Last Edit: 2 years 2 weeks ago by Scott Sherman.
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Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5761

  • wickededge
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Hi guys,

Thanks for taking the time to write about your frustrations. While I hate to hear it, I also really appreciate the opportunity to improve it. I'm really grateful that you've been kind enough to let me know and didn't just walk away. I won't make any excuses for the slow communication, it's enough for me to say that I think I know what the problem is and I will jump right on fixing it. I'll make sure we get an answer out to you guys by Monday about your order status and we'll be changing some things in-house to try and prevent this kind of thing in the future. Overall, it's part of our growing pains and finding just the right amount of people to get it all done. Right now we've got two temporary people on board helping to get us out of our back order which we're almost through. They don't have the training to handle customer service so they're just filling in with production and shipping. Now that we've almost gotten everything out, we can take a harder look at staffing and see if we need to bring someone else on to help with communications.

--Clay
--Clay Allison
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Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5762

  • Scott Sherman
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Exactly what I had hoped you might say. I hate to be the one to complain and especially in a public way, but I think you just made many who are monitoring this thread happy and of course, I look forward to a continued and improved customer relationship with Wicked Edge as both WE and I mature.

Thank you Clay. Good job!!!
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Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5766

  • FredHermann
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One thing to keep in mind.

Clay got into a very happy but frustrating situation, that appears to be governed by Murphy. (Murphy's Law) Imagine, you 've got a relatively new business, you're pretty much a one man show, you get an opportunity to really show your product at a show, and lo and behold, you win an award for coolest new product.

In steps Murphy.

Now you've got way more scrutiny on your product, and no where near the staff. You have a new addition to your product line, news gets out, and the waiting *hidden* customer base wants it. (Still good)

You try to set delivery expectations, and Murphy laughs...things come back wrong, not enough, the manufacturer breaks machines....

So in all, I see this as an awesome new business with severe growing pains. You can't really plan ahead for success like this, there is never money for it.

I think all in all, this is a one time fluke, and Clay and company are learning good and bad ways to handle it. I'd bet ongoing, we'll never see something like this again.

So Clay, my hat's off to you and your success!
“On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jack*ss of a boss from a fourteenth-story window.”

Owen Pitt – Monster Hunter International
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Re: I need to vent here about customer service. 2 years 2 weeks ago #5770

  • MichaelCraft
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Don't forget about winning "Blade Magazine 2012 Accessory Of The Year"! Not that it is a bad thing, but a great way to make a business explode much faster than anticipated, accelerating said growing pains before one has had time to think much about them proactively.
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