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A Letter From Focal: A Lesson In Customer Service

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

I received a copy of a letter today from Focal regarding a problem that's surfaced with a small percentage of their Spirit One headphones. I thought this was a cool letter to Spirit One owners for a number of reasons (and one I think they'll be posting on their website, if they haven't already):

 

  • They state what the problem was.
  • They describe how the problem presents itself (so that, as a Spirit One owner, you'd know whether or not this applies to you).
  • They state how they fixed the problem.
  • They make clear that this is not a recall, but that anyone affected will be able to get the problem sorted out.
  • Because the problem involved the headphone's carrying case, they are offering a new carrying case to Spirit One owners with cases of the original design.

 

I think perhaps what impressed me most about all of this is that they contacted me to ask if I could help get the word out on Head-Fi, as they want as many of their Spirit One customers to see it as possible. Big kudos to Focal for their outstanding customer service on this.

 

Here's the letter they sent me:

 


 

 

Quote:

 

Spirit One:
 
Dear music lover and audio enthusiast,
 
Hundreds of dedicated people the world over have helped create the company that today is Focal & Co.  Since 1981, our quest to continually push the boundaries of acoustic and electrical engineering has resulted in the creation of products that bring you closer to the very Spirit of Sound. No matter where your musical passion takes you; breathtaking sound in your car, mixing precision tracks inside a professional sound studio, home hi-fi listening or enjoying multi-channel cinema, or perhaps the exciting new category of computer and smart phone based content delivery — our singular focus remains creating the world’s finest acoustic products.  
 
Our first foray into the world of headphones began three-years ago.  We charged a team of
 
 talented engineers with the task of creating the finest portable headphone possible, at a price point the average music enthusiast could afford.  Thus the Spirit One was born. Overwhelmingly strong sales and many positive magazine reviews around the globe confirmed our hope, Spirit One headphones are a success. We’re thrilled with our results - mostly.
 
Starting this past summer, we have been researching what caused a small percentage of our Spirit One headphones to fail, even though our return rate was extremely low. For all of us at Focal, delivering a positive customer experience is core to our mission and our company DNA. That is why we must stress that ll our headphones are covered under warranty.  Focal will replace any defective Spirit One headphone directly to our customers.
 
We were very surprised to find a small percentage of returned Spirit One’ having clearly audible distortions that weren't detectable during our extensive quality control processes at initial manufacture. While the headphones performed perfectly in the production lines and at our labs, a combination of tough handling, shock and pressure during shipment caused some units to fail. Those failures occurred either immediately or shortly after a customer's first use. The relatively low failure rate and the combination of circumstances necessary to cause this type of failure made locating the problem a much longer process than we wanted.
 
As a result of extensive investigations, we have strengthened our quality control methodology, and removed all potential for this damage to happen again. Specifically, we have developed an update to our carrying case which ensures sufficient protection preventing transportation based damage from recurring. We’re able to honor Spirit One warranty replacements for those who received damaged units, but also a new carrying case to anyone who wants one.  How do you know if you received a damaged Spirit One? One channel will not be present, or an obvious severe distortion will be make listening to your music nearly impossible.
 
As our first headphone ever, a global EISA Award Winner, and a major sales success, we are proud of our Spirit One and want to make sure that you are completely satisfied. We have to stress the fact that from day one up to today all our Spirit One are the same acoustically; we did not discover a flawed design, we did review and strengthen our QC protocols by correcting our hard travel case problem.  This is not a product recall. 
 
Focal & Co is owned and run by audio enthusiasts like you, and we deeply regret the problems any of our customers have experienced. We realize and welcome the fact that we have to perform better than the competition to earn your confidence and continued trust. 
 
The overwhelming majority of Spirit One’s work just as we designed them to, but if you have experienced any problems, or want to enquire about the performances of your Spirit One, please contact your distributor (Go to our webpage and follow the links - www.Focal.com) so that we may be able to immediately correct the situation. As always and above all, we deeply value our customers who honor our hard work and dedication to the Spirit of Sound with their purchase of Focal products.
 
Thank you for your continued and enthusiastic support.
 
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 
 
Jean-Philippe Fontaine
Focal Export Sales Director, Home and Pro Divisions
Focal China Managing Director
 

 

 

 

post #2 of 60
FIRST biggrin.gif

EDIT: They seem like a GREAT company!
Edited by gopanthersgo1 - 1/24/13 at 11:59am
post #3 of 60

How did they get the emails of everyone that purchased a pair of Spirit One's? Anyhow, it's great to see companies behave with decency and responsibility like this, unlike the other 99% that have the maturity level of a two year old.

post #4 of 60

Probably purchasers that registered their details with Focal for warranty registration.

 

Andy.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post

How did they get the emails of everyone that purchased a pair of Spirit One's? Anyhow, it's great to see companies behave with decency and responsibility like this, unlike the other 99% that have the maturity level of a two year old.

post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post

How did they get the emails of everyone that purchased a pair of Spirit One's? Anyhow, it's great to see companies behave with decency and responsibility like this, unlike the other 99% that have the maturity level of a two year old.

 

viralcow, I'm not sure they're going to be able to contact individual owners, which is why they came to me to ask about posting the letter as one means of helping to reach out to Spirit One owners with the message.

post #6 of 60

Nice job by them!

post #7 of 60

Kudos to Focal

post #8 of 60

It's a bit overloaded with marketing language, but the meat of the email is terrific. Problem identified, how it's solved, and how you know if it affects you. Excellent.

This is an example of doing things right. Cheers to them.

post #9 of 60

How do they sound?

post #10 of 60

Good on Focal.

post #11 of 60

IMO, they're trying to push this opportunity to enhance their brand a little too hard here. That being said, it's good that they've come clean and are trying to resolve the issue at hand.

post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tus-Chan View Post

IMO, they're trying to push this opportunity to enhance their brand a little too hard here. That being said, it's good that they've come clean and are trying to resolve the issue at hand.

It's called damage control - any business that does not try to protect their reputation after a product quality issue will not last in this day and age, especially among such a finicky segment of consumers (audiophiles). It doesn't matter if it's insincere as long as their actions satisfy anybody who has had a problem with their product. 

post #13 of 60

Good job Focal! I'm going to go check out their product line-up.

post #14 of 60

Now this is customer service, well done :-)

post #15 of 60

I read Srajan's review on these, and I bet they sound REALLY good.

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