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Customer Service - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Page 2

post #16 of 275
Thread Starter 
It was never my intention to create a forum opportunity for personal insult swapping. I chose to write about these two warranty experiences because they have been brought to conclusion. They are relevant to this community to demonstrate the different manners in which they were handled as reflecting an interesting comparison in corporate attitudes towards customers.

Both companies had problems in the rendering of warranty services - one didn't do the required service (or did it so poorly that it had to be done again) so the customer was inconvenienced and bothered to sent the unit back at his expense. The other sent a unit that was damaged in shipment causing the same inconvenience and bother to send it back. One problem (initial failure to perform the repair correctly) was caused by the company itself. The other problem (damage in shipment - although there appeared to be a more general problem with their drivers) was essentially outside of the company's control (maybe it could have been better padded - who knows?).

It isn't that there were problems. Problems are a part of life. What makes the comparison interesting and, I think, useful to the community was how one company owned up to the problem(s) and made it abundantly clear to the customer that they valued his business (picking up shipping costs, good communications, fast actions, etc.) while the other company made it equally abundantly clear that the customer was not as highly valued (refusing to reimburse for second shipping that would not have been needed if the repairs were done correctly in the first instance, poor communications, slow service, etc.).

Some people don't care about these kinds of problems because they really like the product and view the customer service problems as essentially irrelevant. Other people view customer service as the other side of the coin and, hence, as one of the keys to identifying whether they would want to buy a product from a company with often poor customer service.

I fall in the latter camp. I'm one of those people who thinks that the relationship with a company begins, does not end, at the point of sale. But that doesn't make someone who disagrees with me a "fanboy", "lover" or whatever. For some people, if they really like the product, they don't care as much about getting poor customer service or maybe they got good customer service. On the basis of the old saying about stopped clocks being right twice daily, even a company with terrible customer service will occasionally satisfy some people.

The issue isn't whether someone loves or hates the product. Nor is it whether someone agrees with me and others with similar experiences or is in "denial". That's not what I wrote about. The issue is customer service and letting people know who is good and who is bad at it, based on particular experiences. Writing about Grado versus Audeze costomer service was simply a useful means of demonstrating the point and creating a conversation about the fundamental customer service issues here.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/6/11 at 12:08pm
post #17 of 275
I can't believe you had driver failures on headphones that cost over $1,000 each. That's just insane to me, where's the money going? It's obviously not going to quality control! I'm glad it all worked out in the end for you though.
post #18 of 275
Thread Starter 

I won't deny my tremendous disappointment at the failure of three $1,000+ headphones.  That's why when a company gets it wrong, the quality of customer service becomes the all-important issue.

post #19 of 275

Wow I'm still reeling for the horrific bad luck of getting bad devices from both of the manufacturers in such a short time! It would take years of therapy for me get over that. I have both LCD-2's, and Grado PS1000's, and both have been wonderful, as have been my dealings with both companies. I'm not surprised that Audeze tries harder, but really, the shipping costs this way or that way aren't that big a deal compared to the cost of the machines. And take it out one step further, put both of these companies up against Sony, Ultrasone, Sennheiser, and I think the difference in personal attention is not so great. That said, don't mean to take away from Audeze, they are clearly at the forefront of what we love as head-fiers. But they are a young company, and need to pay their dues. I'd give Grado a break, I love their sound too, and as someone who's been in customer service at earlier times in my life, maybe after 50 years you get a little jaded. Not all customers are honest. You get people who spill a beer on it, or just decided they were too drunk when they bought it, then they want a refund. NOT saying you're in that category, but age can make you a bit cynical if you keep your eyes open.

post #20 of 275
Thread Starter 
As a 51 year-old who doesn't drink and stated specifically that I treated both units with great care, I don't get your point. Grado had the unit twice and they decided, twice, that what was wrong with it was under warranty. I respect your opinion that you would personally give these guys more understanding. But, having paid dues in the past isn't an excuse for poor service in the present. If that's their attitude, they should make their customer service terms more clear. In other words, they should state that when we, Grado, get your unit in for warranty repairs, determine the failure is covered and then fail to repair it, you will pay, and keep paying, until we eventually get it right or you give up. If Grado made that disclosure, I would have no issues with them. Otherwise, nobody gets a free pass with my money because they "paid dues". They didn't pay them to me.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/6/11 at 9:20pm
post #21 of 275

Quote:

Originally Posted by ricmiclaw View Post

It was never my intention to create a forum opportunity for personal insult swapping.

 

Pitting two beloved headphone manufacturers against each other in an elaborate and eloquent customer service shootout can always be expected to get Head-Fi'ers riled up.

smile.gif

post #22 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricmiclaw View Post

It was never my intention to create a forum opportunity for personal insult swapping. 

Don't worry, it wasn't your fault.  Go to any forum and select any thread.  Look at a random post and you'll see how easily the thread gets off track.  That's just how things usually turn out with public forums.  They rarely ever stay on track.

post #23 of 275
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by priest View Post

Quote:

 

Pitting two beloved headphone manufacturers against each other in an elaborate and eloquent customer service shootout can always be expected to get Head-Fi'ers riled up.

smile.gif


Yes. Devilishly clever of me to set up such a carefully baited trap. If my house burns down, maybe I'll be given an opportunity to set up similar comparisons with the handling of my insurance claims. There's almost no limit to how clever I can get if I can put myself in enough positions to have things I value fail or be destroyed. I'm learning the value of philosophies that teach the shallowness of materialism. Nonetheless, I always enjoy using differences in behavior as, our current President is fond of saying, "teaching opportunities". The real question is whether there will be any lessons learned or behaviors changed. Frankly, I'm not optimistic because basic human nature doesn't change. Yet, I seem to find myself forever looking for the single candle to avoid cursing the darkness.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/6/11 at 10:02pm
post #24 of 275
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post




Don't worry, it wasn't your fault.  Go to any forum and select any thread.  Look at a random post and you'll see how easily the thread gets off track.  That's just how things usually turn out with public forums.  They rarely ever stay on track.


You're absolutely right. I noticed that and it's why I quickly made an effort to stop the juvenile insult swapping. That kind of discourse is a total waste of time. Conceitedly perhaps, I thought the issue I was trying to raise about customer service deserved a serious discussion and not a bunch of worthless name-calling.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/6/11 at 9:57pm
post #25 of 275

ricmiclaw you did the responsible thing by posting this. After all, this is a forum dedicated to all things related to headphones - customer service included.

 

Consider that a person making $20/hr has to work 50 hrs to buy those $1000 headphones. That's a huge investment on the customer's part. The least the company can do is respect the customer by honouring their warranty agreement in a personable manner. Our dollars are hard earned and should only be awarded to the companies that put in the extra effort to make sure we're happy with the product (including service). Your story is a unique oppurtunity to showcase the redeeming vs. the damning.

 

post #26 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelby View Post

ricmiclaw you did the responsible thing by posting this. After all, this is a forum dedicated to all things related to headphones - customer service included.

 

Consider that a person making $20/hr has to work 50 hrs to buy those $1000 headphones. That's a huge investment on the customer's part. The least the company can do is respect the customer by honouring their warranty agreement in a personable manner. Our dollars are hard earned and should only be awarded to the companies that put in the extra effort to make sure we're happy with the product (including service). Your story is a unique oppurtunity to showcase the redeeming vs. the damning.

 


Indeed. Customer service seems to disappear nowadays as soon as you hand the money over.

 

post #27 of 275

What wretched luck you've had with two premium priced headphones. The contrasting customer service experiences that you have described aren't surprising given the two companies involved. 

 

"Upon the first note starting to play, the PS1000 emitted noises that I would describe as the electronic equivalent of a porcine castration without anesthesia.  My wife heard the squealing from across two rooms." This brought a smile to my face but I can assure you that it did not stem from schadenfreude.

post #28 of 275
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelby View Post

ricmiclaw you did the responsible thing by posting this. After all, this is a forum dedicated to all things related to headphones - customer service included.

 

Consider that a person making $20/hr has to work 50 hrs to buy those $1000 headphones. That's a huge investment on the customer's part. The least the company can do is respect the customer by honouring their warranty agreement in a personable manner. Our dollars are hard earned and should only be awarded to the companies that put in the extra effort to make sure we're happy with the product (including service). Your story is a unique oppurtunity to showcase the redeeming vs. the damning.

 


How I wish my story was unique. Regrettably, it seems to be very common judging just by the number of people posting in this thread who have had poor experiences with Grado. Of course, there were one or two postings by people who didn't have any issues with Grado or simply like their products too much to care about post-sale customer service.

I respect the opinions of such people but don't agree with them or with the poster who felt that the issue was somehow related to the payment of "dues" (e.g., Audeze, as a new company, must go above and beyond, whereas Grado, the established company, no longer needs to go above and beyond because they did it for others sometime in the misty past).

To my way of thinking, a company that sells expensive products and has come to believe that it's the customer who must pay for their mistakes is already on the path to eventual failure. I think a responsible and professional company that failed to honor warranty commitments to effect covered repairs within the warranty period should reimburse the customer for the costs of shipping the product back to perform those covered repairs that should have been performed in the first instance.

Before this experience, I was actually considering purchase of an RS1i. Well, I look forward to future product offerings from Audeze but I will not buy another Grado product. Unfortunately, they have apparently grown too big in reputation to care. General Motors and a few other companies once thought they, too, were untouchable. GM survived only because of a taxpayer-funded bailout.

As an incident that is not isolated, this is really bad news for people who enjoy Grado products. Grado's customer service failures indicate they have reached a late stage of corporate development. They could go on like this for a long time. However, if their poor customer service continues, the development of ill will may make things more difficult for them in the future should they encounter unforeseen economic circumstances.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 6/7/11 at 2:44pm
post #29 of 275

to the OP of this thread, i sincerely thank you for your impressions. It's nice to know that Audeze has such a responsive customer support. It'll be reassuring to me when i get a pair of LCD2's in the near future. It's really hard to find "good" customer support nowadays. I've dealt with a lot of companies with warranties and i have to say that most of them fail in terms of customer service. It's really heart warming to know that the company you buy products from, completely supports their products and is willing to go the extra mile for you. For the audiophile world, i believe that this is probably the most important thing that everything has to get in to their mind. Besides the actual product, people at head-fi actually care about how fast and how confident manufacturers are in their products. I love dealing with David at LittleDot because it showed me exactly what you saw in Audeze. Quick response and sincere in the responses you receive. As much as i love my headstage arrow amp, i really have to say that Rob is a hard man to track down in terms of asking him for updates. It has gone to the point where I have completely forgot that i ordered it until you brought up the customer service in audio companies. 

 

Anyways, thanks for the extensive writing and I'm glad that everything worked out in the end. Great to know that there are companies you can count on. Oh yeah, i wanted to ask, since you have both the LCD and HE-5LE, how would you compare them? 

post #30 of 275

Not to let Grado off the hook, but try to consider the number of headphones that Grado has made and is making.  Then consider the number of LCD-2s that have been sold since they came on the market < two(?) years ago, their only model, BTW.

 

I've had my 325is for a year with no problems.  I sold my LCD-2s.  They had no problems, either.

 

Food for thought or meaningless?  You decide.

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