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Discussion Starter #1
Just a thought about the DL threads that pop up about vendors not updating someone, missing a shipping date by a day, not getting an email response within an hour, etc etc....

First off I'm not sucking off the vendors, far from it. I've called a couple of these guys out before and its my money keeping them in business, so I expect a certain level of engagement and competence. Shit does happen and I get it, the true color is in the management and response of the vendor. But we all know that.

But here's what no one mentions....retraining the customers. None of these guys stock massive warehouses with parts that their road fleet of 10 trucks delivers daily. It doesn't work that way (well, except TransAmerica). Everyone who drop ships is at the mercy of something or someone beyond their control. Their inventory systems don't talk to one another very well if at all, and never in real-time. The logistics of the thing are massive. You can't automate something like email alerts or follow-ups either because you're at the mercy of the quality of someone else's information. These guys are doing the best with what they have.

Customers should be trained to understand that the part may or may not be coming directly from the vendor. It may or may not have an accurate stock status because the 3rd-party information may be out of date. They may not have an email response in an hour because the guy might be in the shop building his order. Someone may not pick up the phone on Sunday at 3:00 because they may be engaging in some family time with the kids and wife, I don't think he wants to get a divorce over being married to work. Customers need to understand this shit going in, but no one is telling them until after the fact and then there's all this damage control. Yeah, its our money, and we're keeping them in business, but a little understanding goes a long way.

Seems to me if someone places an order they 'need' to have in 3 days in order to complete a build, they are setting themselves up to be awfully disappointed. Seems a hell of a lot more logical to give yourself some extra time to account for this stuff. Apparently I'm the only person alive who is fine ordering something and saying 'it will get here when it gets here'. You know what? It works.

Rant off - carry on.
 

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This should be a sticky! Great points, and I have the same philosophy when placing an order. It will get here when it get's here, as long as it's not damaged.... Most of these vendors work hard for the very little profit they make if any.
 

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Having unreal expectations on when items will ship/delivered is a big problem....

However when some companies guarantee shipments/deliveries within a certain timeframe and know all the logistics involved in pulling that off and do not deliver..... that's a big problem as well.

Unfortunately this will always be an issue with some customers and some companies expecting and promising too much.
 

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We live in an immediate society, computers and microwaves aren't even fast enough. But ja, people need to get their expectations in order a little. I've seen dudes jump in on a group buy for a bumper from a lone fabricator and expect to have their bumper in under 3 weeks. They weren't anywhere close to the top of the list either. Then they jump on their forum and beat the hell out of the company.
 

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Coonasian
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Yeah, I feel bad. I'm going to call RROR back up and reinstate my order that was supposedly shipping every Friday for three weeks. I called every week, nothing from them, now I feel terrible! :thefinger:
 

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Funny this popped up today under "New Posts."

Customers don't need retraining. Vendors need the retraining IMO. (Not all, there are a few gold
nuggets out there).

Customers should be given an approximate delivery time, give or take a few days either way. Group buy advertisements should indicate the approximate ship date. If an order cannot make this shipping date the customer should be notified in a timely manner.

When ordering custom fabricated parts the fabrication time should be listed on the website. It is the fabricators responsibility to ensure his/her business is ran efficiently and projects are completed within their predefined timeline. If anything the fabricator should overcompensate the fabrication time for the item and adjust it as necessary on website based on previous, current and future business.

I have noticed since I bought my Jeep that a lot of vendors do not update the quantity of items in stock. This goes for the large Q to the little businesses. The software is not expensive. Why does the customer have to call to make sure that when they place an online order that the parts are actually in stock and not on backorder.

It appears to me that the lower priced the item (in 75% of the cases) the less maintenance is performed to update the website.

So now, it is the customer's responsibility to not only check to see if the item is in stock, then check for a possible shipping date, then pay the money, receive electronic invoice...then maybe you get a shipping notice with a tracking number...or maybe you have to call and figure out where you item(s) are.

SO NO, if the customer was given all the accurate information and the vendor kept the customer up-to-date this thread would not even exist.

Obviously this does not pertain to all vendors, just some in the Jeep community and quite a few on the internet.
 

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Funny this popped up today under "New Posts."

Customers don't need retraining. Vendors need the retraining IMO. (Not all, there are a few gold
nuggets out there).

Customers should be given an approximate delivery time, give or take a few days either way.

SO NO, if the customer was given all the accurate information and the vendor kept the customer up-to-date this thread would not even exist.

Obviously this does not pertain to all vendors, just some in the Jeep community and quite a few on the internet.
X2... I feel customer service has gone to the crapper.

Understanding some people are high maint and have unrealistic expectations, in general, I don't think it is too much to ask that a vendor give info and follow up if they need to slip a timeline (whatever that timeline is).
 

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Customers should be trained to understand that the part may or may not be coming directly from the vendor. It may or may not have an accurate stock status because the 3rd-party information may be out of date. They may not have an email response in an hour because the guy might be in the shop building his order. Someone may not pick up the phone on Sunday at 3:00 because they may be engaging in some family time with the kids and wife, I don't think he wants to get a divorce over being married to work. Customers need to understand this shit going in, but no one is telling them until after the fact and then there's all this damage control. Yeah, its our money, and we're keeping them in business, but a little understanding goes a long way.
If these are factors then the VENDOR should simply and clearly state that to the customer. It should not be up to the customer to assume or understand anything they are not told directly. Something as simple as "We do not stock that item. It will be shipped directly from our vendor to you and that may result in an increase in delivery time" can save a lot of headaches down the road.
 

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Coonasian
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What is that new saying, "the vendor is always right"? :koolaid:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree that customer service has largely gone down the shitter. In this industry occasionally, and other industries all the friggin' time, it's like you have to chase someone around waving money in the air to get a response from them. That pisses me off. They don't respond when contact information on their site is used, they don't call back when they say they will....this is the new normal unfortunately (Jesus, we are turning into Europe!! :suicide:). We talk about this ideal CS scenario....implementation of it is another story. If it were that easy, everyone would do it.

But let's face it, there are a lot of numb nuts out there who wrinkle their face and cry like someone teabagged their lollipop because they weren't smart enough to account for even tiny variables and plan accordingly, or even bother to understand these are hand-manufactured US parts, not surface-mount capacitors from China.

There IS a happy medium. Customers should try not to be stupid and intolerant about the logistics, and vendors should respond quickly and in kind to any concerns. That simple.
 

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I wasn't going to post in this but...

Find a company(s) you trust and order with them and let them worry about inventory while you go wheeling. There are a lot of small companies on this forum that work hard to have happy customers and that is reflected in some of the post you see about them.


It’s true, that there are virtually no system to system real time interfaces, they just don’t exist in this business (yet). It's also true that a heck of a lot of companies drop ship, from EAD to Amazon and between. A lot more of this stuff comes from distribution type companies that don't sell to the public than you might think. Some big parts distribution centers have interfaces for vendors to check inventory but it's not a programming type of API. In some cases all we have is a weekly spreadsheet with quantity on hand that we import and update the database with. It’s not perfect, there are holes, but it is what it is right now.

OMIX/Rugged is a good example actually, few companies stock their products and you (the consumer) can't buy from them direct. It would make no sense for me to stock much of their line when they have everything in massive distribution centers on both coasts. We are talking about over 16,000 products that are currently in-stock.

The other end of this is the fab shops. We sell bumpers for example from a few mid sized companies. Again, it doesn't make much sense for us or anyone else for that matter, to have them in stock. Especially the slow sellers. I think I've sold 2 CJ bumpers in the last 12 months, I'll let those guys worry about keeping track of those.

In my experience, it works without a too much of a hitch. Sure my inventory numbers are not 100% because of the weekly import and in some cases non existent. In all cases I rely on my partners (Synergy, Spyder, GenRight, OMIX and many more) to have inventory and for the most part they do, they want our business, kinda helps them to pay their bills :)

Sometimes I can't fulfill an order. The key I’ve found, is to tell the customer as fast as you can and give them their options. That's really what it boils down to.

I needed a wheel for my lawnmower that apparently I bought over 15 years ago. After two trips to two stores I said screw it, googled, found one online and ordered on a Friday afternoon. I got an email Monday saying there was 5 day delay and I could wait or cancel. It shipped the following Monday and I received tracking. I thought that was a good on-line experience because of the email on Monday, the first business day after I placed my order.


I don't mean to offend anyone just trying to post from another side.
 
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