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Is customer service really this bad?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by James Burke, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

    Jan 2, 2010
    Mitten State
    I called a supplier inquiring about product "XYZ"....

    First words out of her mouth were "...Well....have you checked our web site?"

    After several minutes of waiting on hold, she appears with a "canned sales speech" and said if I'd like to purchase, I could do it right there on the web site.

    In a nutshell, here's the scenerio:

    Me, the customer: In need of a product and has dollars in-hand, and ready to spend them.

    Supplier: gaudy web site complete with shopping cart (and harder than he!! to navigate), an un-educated sales staff, and clearly doesn't want to be bothered by customer inquiries.

    Must be the economy is a whole lot better than I had first thought....

  2. Si Allen

    Si Allen Very Active Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    I would just hang up and call another supplier!
  3. VolunteerSign

    VolunteerSign Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    I TRIED to set up a dealer account today with a company we thought we might sub out some printing work to. Their website won't let you register if you use Gmail as your email provider. Even though they have my tax number, etc. I emailed them and expected them to say oh no big deal just send us ........xyz and we will set you up. Nope, they said they would set me up if I had an AOL account or used an account associated with my own website but not with Gmail. I "kindly" explained that the people we have been farming work to for years likes my Gmail address just fine.

    Do people still even use AOL?
  4. Fatboy

    Fatboy Very Active Member

    Why not just get yourself a website with a linked e mail?
  5. VolunteerSign

    VolunteerSign Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    We have one, that's not the point. The point is customer service is a thing of the past any more. I could make more money if I could make my customers all buy their signs and vehicle lettering in only black...but that's not likely to happen...so we stock a zillion colors.
  6. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    Customer service has gone the way of customer loyalty in many cases.
    It seems my customers have no problem buying anything they need online rather than talking to a real person (me)
    I still get GREAT customer service from my main supplier and semi-good service from my back-up supplier. (both local)
    I think in many cases, people are hired who only know the internet, not their company's products or their uses.
    They think a website is the be-all-end-all. Sometimes you just need a real person, you know? Could you try asking for a manager next time?
    (not that they'll know)
  7. mikefine

    mikefine Member

    May 6, 2007
    Larger companies are encouraging their customer service representatives to push the online automation ordering. It is going to be the wave of the future more and more. I have a friend who owns one of the sign franchises. Corporate is telling him to do the same -- to encourage his customers to order and design banners and magnetics and the like through the website.
  8. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    What service .. what is that.

    Well the 1st 3 things is business in dealing with customers is ... ya'll know- service, service, service.

    What separates a growing business from a failing one ..SERVICE

    Internet is not a end all, what will again make a difference is human service.

    For mundane things where service is not required the net is great and will save lots of cash for many.

    But just like our trade when cutters, software, printers took over.It has taken 20 years plus for us to teach the newbies how, it will take years for business to realize how to sell and use service with the internet. ..

    The question is do we have to reteach them ? Let us use this as a lesson to us all.
  9. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    I used to buy alot from Midwest Sign Supply in Omaha, I stopped using them
    about 6-7 years ago because of the customer service. I would call to just
    even ask about a product and the first thing out of the saleperson's mouth was
    "how do you plan to pay for this" WTF kinda question is that?
  10. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Montrose BC
    Has any one ever figured out the cost of customer service?.....Whether you like it or, it is built into the cost of a product or service being sold....As margins are pushed, customer service is a cost that is often cut.....

    I have one supplier that is trying to move everything to online ordering....And they are pondering a pricing grid where I can not call to ask questions.....I have to email....In exchange I will get 2.75% off my invoices......At over 125,000.00 a year from this supplier, that pays for my winter vacation....
  11. AwardImage

    AwardImage Member

    Dec 1, 2011
    @royster - If I lived in BC, I'd want a winter vacation also:) Give me a shout if you make it to west TN next winter.

    @customer service - my "go to" vinyl place is AWESOME. Sometimes the bookkeepers or management snag a call during heavy volume, and they are almost or more as proficient as the sales team. Their prices are 5-25% less than the big-box dot com/catalog names, and vinyl ships FREE! And I'm a little fish <$2K/year, but they still treat me like a king.

    @midwest sign
    In 2009, they were a good company, and a preferred vendor in our buying group. We consumed hundreds of millions as a group spread around to hundreds of vendors. Payment was guaranteed, so we could knock out sweet deals with suppliers.

    @ buying group
    Are there any good ones in the vinyl/wrap/sign biz?
  12. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    I'm...not sure...I'd want...an...email...with...so...many...elipsis...
    especially...elipsis...with...the wrong...dot...count...


    Customer service is expensive and often a time waster, can't blame companies for wanting to move to online ordering systems. CAN blame them when those online systems are crap, which many are.
  13. thewood

    thewood Very Active Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Just had a similar situation. I told the operator that I had some technical questions regarding a product in their catalog. Her response, "Can't you watch the video?" I asked if it would be too much trouble to put me in touch with someone who could answer some questions not outlined in said video. Her response, "We don't have anyone who can help you here." Mind boggling.:doh:
  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Customer Service ??

    That's something we're supposed to have, but no one in return.

    In all fairness, many of our suppliers still have it, but it's sometimes like pulling teeth. There goes that dentist's thing, again................
  15. thewood

    thewood Very Active Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Indeed, Gino. To be fair, we have some good suppliers who provide outstanding customer service. I emailed a sales manager for my main supplier last week to brag on the exceptional service provided by one of their reps.
  16. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    Up here, all my suppliers have order desks...How else are you going to find out if the item is indeed in stock, what if you have questions about the product itself?

    You need a human voice to talk to.

    Those that opt for a 100% online ordering system will be devoid of my $$$$
  17. signworldusinc

    signworldusinc Merchant Member

    May 16, 2012
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA

    I think customer service is what seals the deal for most customers who would like to hear a voice or get their questions answered but some customers do prefer to do everything online and companies have added online chat to meet this criteria.
  18. ICeMAnAbk

    ICeMAnAbk Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Ive tried bigger outfits, and honestly, I like the smaller ones. More personal, they work with you, they will sling the **** with ya and they actually are interested in what they do so their knowledge is beyond what you'd expect.

    To each their own. I know some could care less for a company that is personal, and just wants their product and no chit chat. However, I was a small outfit, and having a supplier that worked at the same level as me, personally, just worked out great. Though, if you're looking to just push product, find someone with a like mind.

    Reguardless..... the whole "did you look at our website" stint is ********. I called Nazdar recently, I wanted an IN HAND.... chip chart. colors, some broschures, product catalogs, etc. I got the "did you view our website" talk, and I told em, Listen, I wanna buy your stuff, but if you're not going to give me this color sample wheel that shows me exact colors, how can I garentee quality? I had that chart in a few days in my mailbox.

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