Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

I'm sure all of us have dealt with great and poor customer service even in the ham world. I have heard it time and time again that it's customer service that will make or break your business. Now having said that I understand there are those out there that no matter what you do for them it's never good enough, that being said I'm the person who wants to inform a business when they fall short but at the same time I want to make sure I inform a business when they have given great customer service. This post has to do with both an Amateur radio business that went above and beyond and another that in my humble opinion fell short. From my last post you all are well aware that I purchased a Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna. The loop was purchased from DX Engineering and it's now time for me to toot my horn regarding above and beyond customer service!
  1. I emailed DX Engineering regarding some questions I had about the loop and I was promptly emailed back with an answer. 
  2. They did offer free shipping on orders over 99.00 but it was CLEARLY indicated that for orders outside the U.S this did not apply (I'm in Canada). I hate very small print or no print regarding this but DX Engineering had it plainly stated. 
  3. I ordered the antenna on a Monday evening and it was shipped Tuesday. 
  4. The antenna arrived Wednesday, over the boarder, through customs and to my door. 
  5. The price I was given for the antenna and shipping (FedEx) was the TOTAL cost. In the past I have dealt with Amateur radio dealers in the U.S. I pay for the item, it gets shipped and then I get a call from a carriers "broker" who tells me to clear the item it's going to cost "X" amount. Then I'm asked for my credit card number or it goes back. Let me tell you it has never been cheap.
This is where DX Engineering went over the top!

The antenna came with a carry bag which was a big plus but I noticed the zipper on the bag was defective. I attempted to open the bag for the first time to place the antenna in. Here is what happened:
  1. I sent DX Engineering an email regarding the bag and I was promptly answered that they would contact Chameleon and have them send me a new bag. 
  • DX Engineering contacted me promptly after the sale when there was an issue.
  • I was not passed off and told to contact Chameleon myself, they took ownership. 
    2.  I was then contacted via email from Maria at DX Engineering and also a phone call regarding 
         the outcome of contacting Chameleon Antenna. (more on Chameleon's reply later) I personally 
         spoke with Maria on the phone, she told me at DX Engineering they tried to see if one of their 
         bags would work. It was determined it would not meet the need of the antenna. Maria then told
         me to go and get the bag repaired and they would cover the cost. 
  • I was contacted in person by Maria who was the person dealing with my issue from the start and was very knowledgeable on the situation. 
  • DX Engineering took the time to see if one of their bags would work but would not. 
  • They did not stop there I was then told by Maria to get the bag fixed and send them the bill. Again DX Engineering took ownership and went out of their way to solve the issue.  
    3.  I went out that day and contacted DX Engineering with the cost and was told not a problem to
         scan the bill and email it to them and I would then be re-inbursed for the cost. 
  • 10 out of 10 to DX Engineering for the way they handled the issue! Thanks very much Maria for your personal attention and professionalism .
This is where Chameleon Antenna dropped the ball!
First off let me post the email Chameleon sent DX Engineering regarding the issue I was having with the carry bag:

 We realized about a month ago that the last batch of bags that we ordered last year have more or less all the same issue which is if they press fit too much things into the bag then the zipper might fail. They seem to have all the same issue. Those zippers aren’t the best! But if they use the flap over with Velcro without the zipper everything will be fine. So sending a replacement won’t change anything as it already happened to few other people already and we can’t do anything about it. To be honest, It would be better for him to get a local zipper replacement for about $5 or $10.
As you close the bag the zipper opens up

  1. Chameleon only admits to having an issue with their bag to the customer and supplier when the defect has been mentioned.
  • This is poor support for the distributors who sells this product under there name and reputation. 
  • Knowing there is an issue with the bag and still sending it out promotes poor customer trust.  
  • I also emailed Chameleon regarding the issue and I received the exact email that DX Engineering received. Seems like it's a cut and paste answer to all who email about this issue.

    2. Chameleon's email states "If they (the customer) press fit too much things in the bag then the  
        zipper might fail"
  • You never win when you blame the customer. 
  • The only items I planned on fitting into the bag were the antenna items that the bag was meant to carry.  
  • My zipper "failed" while opening it with nothing in the bag for the first time. 
    3. I am asked to repair a bag that is expected to work but does not. The cost is 20.00 Canadian to 
        replace all 3 defective zippers on the bag. (main compartment and 2 side pockets that failed.)
  • Don't ask the customer to fix your bad and to foot the bill. 
  • Chameleon should bite the bullet and order bags that work, not sell the bag or inform the customer on their website of the known issue. Informing there dealers won't not hurt either.
Some may think this is only a small issue but to me it is the lack of customer and dealer support. Also the lack of taking proper responsibility for the issue. Having said the above about the carry bag I do want to say the Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna is a quality product and I tend to give it the glowing review it deserves in a later post. 


SV1GRN said...

I agree for the great customer service of DX Engineering, years ago I purchased an hf vertical antenna from DX Egineering. Antenna arrived on time (USA to Greece)with all its parts! A question to supplier was replied asap. 73 de SV1GRN

QRP - When you care to send the very least! said...

Great article, Mike! What I can't understand is why with all these free trade agreements, it's such a pain shipping back and forth between Canada and the US. A few weeks ago I had to ship a laptop up to IBM Canada from my workplace here in NJ and the process was absolutely torture! We (Canadians and Americans) should be able to ship stuff back and forth like it was the same country. I know there are "agreements" which make that impossible - but I think it's stupid that it should be so difficult.

VE9KK said...

Good evening Panagiotis, I too had ordered from them a few years ago and it was great service.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.

VE9KK said...

Good evening Larry always nice to hear from you, it's so true that we both have issues sending things each way. I know up this way the customs is just a glorified tax collector for our GST tax.
73 and have a great weekend.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Why make a quality antenna and put it in a bag that seems to be having less quality (costs)? Not a good advertisement. I guess they have to blame their bag supplier. But at least from what I read about Chameleon they have great quality products. And the most important thing is their own product and not the bag. I agree they should have send you another bag (better quality) but I guess they did not have it (with good quality zippers). Difficult situation for them too! As you always want to help your customers asap. 73, Bas

VE9KK said...

Good morning Bas, I agree with you but the only problem I have is if you know you have a bag that is not working let the customer know via the website or when an order is placed.