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A fine line


Rustwood
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Hello Gurus -

 

Is it possible to have an intelligent discussion of the new customer service policy without disrespecting John's right to decide what he thinks is best for his site?  Hopefully it is because I am going to attempt to do just that.

 

I can understand why some sort of change is needed.  It isn't good when someone from a company feels the need to post on a site to defend their product and/or customer service.  I believe most companies would prefer not to get involved in that sort of thing and would only do so if things were really getting out of hand.  I also think a bunch of he said / she said posts would make for a rather boring site at a minimum and could give it a real black eye.  With that said, it concerns me a bit that the new policy might make people reluctant to post genuine concerns - things like "is this a warranty issue" or "should this be covered by a warranty".  I also think there is some value in having some information available on the types of problems one is likely to encounter with a given kamado and how the company typically handles them.  Unfortunately, at the moment no good suggestions come to my mind as to how to maintain that information without running afoul of the obvious problems.

 

The old chestnut is certainly true - you can't please all of the people all of the time.  I think a corollary may be that if you try to please everyone all of the time your company may go broke.  I once had a neighbor who had a pair of LL Bean moccasins for 20+ years.  He eventually he wore them into the ground and when he called Bean on their 100% satisfaction guarantee they replaced them for him.  I think that was crazy - both for him to ask and for them to comply.  I don't know how he could honestly claim that he wasn't satisfied with 20 years of wear, but he did.  Kudos to Bean for making good on their promise but unfortunately I suspect that sort of thing is why Bean's merchandise is relatively pricier than it was 20 years ago.  I personally don't want to have to pay a  premium for merchandise so that a small fraction of people can make ludicrous warranty claims.   I fully recognize there are people out there who would not agree with me on this issue at all though.  They have the right to that opinion, but I think they are probably a minority and it would be unfortunate if a similarly small minority were allowed to stifle discussions here on KG.  Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here because a few people have what most of us would consider unrealistic expectations.

 

Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the warranty issues I have seen posted here on KG have struck me as legitimate issues.  The problems mostly seem to arise when people get unrealistic expectations as to the lengths that a company should go to resolve their issue.  In some cases it has seemed like it took an inordinately long time for parts to arrive and I think companies should be called out if they routinely aren't keeping enough parts on hand to meet their customer service needs. It is understandable that someone might be disappointed when they have made their decision, lugged home a kamado (or paid to have it shipped), unpacked it and found some defect.  Still, even if that defect prevents them from using it, I think it is unreasonable to expect a completely new unit to be express shipped to them the next day - or anything remotely like that.  If you want that level of service, buy kamado that is sold through a dealer that will bring it to your home and set it up for you.  That is likely going to cost a premium, but you probably won't be disappointed.

 

I think it is impossible to have any real discussion of a product or company without ever venturing into territory that could be considered customer service complaints.  It is also difficult to have any discussion of customer service without getting into what is and isn't a reasonable expectation and, as we have seem, people are not always going to see eye to eye on that issue.  I think we can all agree that brand bashing is bad and discouraging it is a good idea.  Moderators have to make a judgement call when a discussion has crossed that line and I would hope that similar discretion will be employed when it comes to discussions of customer service issues.  I think it would be unfortunate if people stop posting anything that might venture into that territory.  Unreasonable people may post them anyway, so I think the bigger risk is the loss of potentially good discussions.

 

I have started this topic in the hopes that others might have better suggestions as to how we can walk this fine line.  I am sure John and the other moderators have given these issues a lot of thought, but I hopefully it won't hurt to try to have a civil, thoughtful, and open discussion about it.

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I am one of the members that had a couple of post deleted because of "brand bashing". My post were not directed at the brand or the product but rather the level of customer service provided.

 

The fact that a brand representative can come on this site and boast about their customer service and provide a personal cell phone number for any issues, speaks volumes. It tells me that the brand truly cares for it customers and is willing to go the extra mile for them. Why is it then when that does not happen, it is construed as "brand bashing"? No one forced their customer service standards on them, they proudly put them out there for the world to see. Should they not be held up to the standard that they are portraying? This issued is forced even more when the rep comes on the site and tells all that he would have responded sooner but did not like the tone of the communication presented to him. Also, adding that he had responded to 41 other people with issues (ahead of the offending communicator mind you) on his family vacation (see my great customer service angle again!). I am willing to bet that the offending communicator did not feel like that was great customer service. I would post the same opinion around quality of customer service for any brand. The brand is not important, it is the sharing of the experience with other people that have the same interest (addiction) that I do.

 

I initially intended to buy a different brand of kamado then I ended up with. I had done my research and determined that there were just too many issues with warrantee and parts availability to Canadian customers. Part of this research was done on this site as well as many other sites. What changed my brand choice was the positive (and negative -  not everyone can be made happy) customer service experiences that I heard others were having. This is the important part of the discussion not that it is a certain brand over another. This is what I fear may be banned from this site.

 

I hope that this post is clear, I am not bashing a brand but rather the method in which a legitimate customer service issue had been dealt with. As consumers we have the right to our grievances be they right, wrong or indifferent.

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Instead of full censorship, I also prefer to be able to discuss vendor and product experiences and questions. I recognize that these discussions walk a fine line and have the potential to bring up emotions.

As an alternative to blacklisting these discussions,  can we have parameters to stay within?

I moderate another site and have entries that must be reviewed prior to posting. If we had that flexibility, maybe offering a topic that was fully monitored but allowed this kind of discussion might be an alternative.

I recognize that this creates additional work for our moderators, but it provides an outlet for this information.

I would be willing to assist in other moderating tasks in order to allow more time for seasoned moderators to work with this feature.

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Just FYI, it seems there have been a number of recent incidents but between multiple days of power outages and other issues, I haven't been following them closely at all.   My post is based on my overall impression of these issues over the past couple of years, not any particular recent posts.

 

I think some good points have been brought up already, but please remember that words like censorship can be very loaded with implications you may not intend, they also may not be applicable.  I will admit that the word came to mind when I saw the policy, but that may not have been the intention and it may not be actual net effect in practice.  At least I hope not.

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