Author Topic: "To the Internet!"  (Read 5056 times)

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Offline Tom Gensmer

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  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
"To the Internet!"
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:13 AM »
First, please let me first state that this isn't in regard to any thread in particular, but rather a response to what I perceive as a proliferation of customers who, at the first hint of adversity, go straight to the internet with photos and grievances, prior to contacting the company or manufacturer to give them the opportunity to make the situation right.

I'm accustomed to seeing this elsewhere, but it seems like a troubling trend here on the FOG, and for my needs it unnecessarily clutters up the feed, and ultimately makes me less and less likely to check in.

Personally, I sometimes get calls from past customers who need adjustments to work I have performed for them previously, for instance a door installed in the Winter might swell a bit in the Spring time and need a slight tweak to operate properly. No big deal, a phone call or e-mail from the customer and 20 minutes of my time is usually all it takes to resolves these types of issues. I don't advertise, and rely on repeat customers and referrals, which has worked out very well for me thus far. Customers contacting me directly saves everybody time and results in the issue being resolved rapidly, usually within 48 hours.

Now, imagine if a customer, noting that a door I installed in the Winter (dry) started to rub a bit in the Spring (humid), rather than contacting me, went straight to Yelp or Angie's List to post photographs and a detailed description, and ask the world if this is normal and what to do about it? Now the customer has to wait, potentially for days, getting wildly differing opinions from people who did not install the door in question, and ultimately after all of the internet activity, the door is still rubbing and my reputation would be scuffed as well.

While there have been a few threads that have detailed a legitimate issue, it occurs to me that many topics could have been avoided by a simple phone call to either Festool, or the dealer through whom the tool was originally purchased. Also, frequently these threads ultimately end with "I called Festool and everything is being taken care of".

In our current day and age, what is proper etiquette? Is it the "New Norm" to skip a call to the service department and go directly to the Internet to crowdsource a solution?

This is NOT meant as an inflammatory thread, rather a discussion about the future of customer service, and the potential damage these threads could be doing to the overall health of a forum?

Would we be better off with a separate forum for issues so we're not cluttering up the main forum?

Or, do we go to a model of a "Festool for Pros" forum and a "Festool for Hobbyists" forum?
CT-26, CT-MIDI, CT-36 AC, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF1010, OF-1400 (x2), MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x2), MFT/Kapex (x3), CMS-OF, Sprinter full of Systainers

Offline CrazyLarry

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 10:21 AM »
This is probably even more inflamatory but ... perhaps the issue is whether you want a resolution or just to vent?

If you want a resolution in my experience calling direct has a very high chance of success at least with smaller specialist companies and you can always post after the event if there's no satisfaction.

Then again perhaps it's generational the tweeting generation feel you have to go public and treat all corporations like the govt or a large supermarket chain deaf and blind until their marketing people panic?

Offline jaguar36

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 10:23 AM »
The problem is that most companies aren't Festool, or your remodeling company.  The majority of companies will at best ignore you if you have an issue with their products, or at worst just waste your time with incompetent customer service reps.  With these companies posting on the internet will at least get you a response, even if its not a worthwhile or positive response.

Folks who are new to Festool most likely are skeptical that Festool will do anything about their issue.

Offline Festool USA

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2015, 10:28 AM »
Tom,

There is a "Tool Problems" section on the FOG which is meant to be used for this purpose. Also, the "Ask Festool" section sometimes gets these types of posts.

One of the goals of the FOG is to help support our customers. A benefit is that the information is archived and searchable, and hopefully helps others with the same issue in the future.

I think posting to the internet before contacting the manufacturing is becoming a trend because of a general sentiment among consumers that they will not receive good customer service  or that they will have to fight/argue/threaten to get the service they deserve. I've posted about this before. Festool stands behind it's products and we have a very good service team, I would argue the best in the industry. We go out of our way on a regular basis to make sure the customer gets superlative service.

I have a notice/alert/banner thing a the top of the page when posting in the "Tool Problems" section of the forum with our support phone number to encourage folks to contact us. That's the most efficient way to get your issue resolved. But, we will still have members who post here rather than calling for whatever the reason.

I wouldn't call it clutter. It's just a part of the forum and the way some people prefer to handle issues.

Shane

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3323
Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2015, 10:46 AM »
Festool stands behind it's products and we have a very good service team, I would argue the best in the industry. We go out of our way on a regular basis to make sure the customer gets superlative service.


I must say, I've never dealt with a company that provides anywhere near this level of service to the end user.  The beauty seems to be that this attitude of top-end service extends to most of the Festool dealers, many of whom are FOG regulars.  Sadly, there are some for whom the first option is to go outside an established system of excellence to achieve some sort of personal goal or agenda. 

- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline sae

  • Posts: 841
Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2015, 11:05 AM »
This honestly works in Festool's favor in my opinion, because of the great response from the service team. Yeah, it's airing your grievances in public, but Shane and co. seem to have this handled quite well. It keeps a public record of how consistently satisfied each customer is, despite the issues they might have had (whether it was an actual tool issue or misunderstanding of its usage).

This setup also has the side effect of reducing some of the workload for the service department answering calls, since they can tap their userbase, which is easily the most engaged and knowledgeable group I have ever seen, to screen out some basic questions.

Offline wow

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2015, 12:03 PM »
I don't know if this is a solution or not, but would it be possible to program the forum software so that ANY post to the "Tool Problems" thread results in a pop-up that says "Have you contacted Festool about this problem before posting?" with two buttons - one that says "Contact Festool Now" (and opens an email or webform or PM window) and one that says "No thanks, I'd like to continue posting to the forum" that then allows you to continue?

I don't know - maybe it wouldn't work and maybe it would be considered another hassle? It's just an idea, for whatever it's worth...
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline Billedis

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2015, 12:21 PM »
Tom, I think you said it best!  Bill

Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2015, 12:26 PM »
I don't know if this is a solution or not, but would it be possible to program the forum software so that ANY post to the "Tool Problems" thread results in a pop-up that says "Have you contacted Festool about this problem before posting?" with two buttons - one that says "Contact Festool Now" (and opens an email or webform or PM window) and one that says "No thanks, I'd like to continue posting to the forum" that then allows you to continue?

I don't know - maybe it wouldn't work and maybe it would be considered another hassle? It's just an idea, for whatever it's worth...

I like this idea.  I think it directs a person to the appropriate first step, but if they want to vent, it gives them that option.
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories

Offline Festool USA

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 12:35 PM »
While not a pop up, this basically already exists.


Offline wow

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2015, 12:49 PM »
The difference between that and a pop-up is that people  - myself included - are programmed to ignore stuff like that. I suggested a pop-up because it requires interaction and can't be ignored.

But again, I'm not saying it's a good idea or even technically feasible...
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 689
Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2015, 01:26 PM »
Personally I have found the posting of the problems people have had with their tools and the suggestions for ways to overcome those problems from the community and Festool employees to be educational.  For example, I've been thinking about buying a Kapex to replace my current saw.  If I get it from a local dealer (closest being 1 1/2 hour drive) I'll be sure to check that the deck is flat before leaving the store.  If I get it from an Internet dealer I'll be requesting that they check the deck is flat before shipping. I also know to keep a careful eye on my plugit cords for any burning.  The list goes on.

Offline builderbob

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2015, 01:48 PM »
There's definitely a difference between ranting and technical discussions.. Tech discussions are healthy and maybe enlightening for some with similar questions or dilemmas. Ranting is useless banter in my opinion and just creates hostility which is not what we desire here.
Kapex, TS55, CMS GE, Carvex 420, Domino DF500, MFK 700, OF 2200, OF 1400, OF 1010, EHL65, RAS 115, RTS 400, RO150, ETS 150/3, ETS 125, CT 22 (2), CXS (2), C-15+3, T-12+3, PSB 300 & more MFT's than i can count!

Offline Scott Burt

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2015, 04:40 PM »
I don't think evolution in human psychology was prepared for what the internet era would bring.

It is important to step away from the devices sometimes.

Offline Wooden Skye

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2015, 05:28 PM »
It is important to step away from the devices sometimes.

Amen brother!  Nothing gets me like 4 people sitting around a table not talking and in some cases texting each other. 
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories

Offline Scott Burt

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2015, 05:44 PM »
It is important to step away from the devices sometimes.

Amen brother!  Nothing gets me like 4 people sitting around a table not talking and in some cases texting each other.

I call it "anti-social media".

Offline Billedis

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2015, 07:09 PM »
Thanks Scott, I agree.  Bill

Offline SittingElf

  • Posts: 1374
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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 05:30 AM »
Well.. I'll tell y'all what....

I've got a ton of Festools and not a one of them is working!  Corded or cordless...not a single one! [mad]

Oh...wait a minute... I'm still in Nigeria for another week and my tools are in Florida! [embarassed]

On topic though, I confess that I have been guilty of spewing my wrath at a dealer via this site, and I'm ashamed that I did, because the dealer in question immediately contacted me upon reading my post and really took care of the issue with multiple emails to insure that I was satisfied (I was, in spades). I should have called them directly first, and will remind myself to do so in the event of a problem in the future. [blink]

In the meantime, I head home next Saturday, and will arrive Sunday if I can avoid Boko Haram attacks; Al Qaeda threats against Americans who are overseas; storms that may delay or cancel my flights; and surviving more than 20 hours of economy class seating (cattle class), hoping that my seatmate is not 300lbs! [eek]

Cheers,

Frank
Woodworking is 3% talent and 97% paying attention to the FOG! 

hammerfelderowners.com

Offline GarryMartin

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 06:05 AM »
I must admit, I've questioned the motives of many first time posters who have only joined the forum to complain; for me, that's been the troubling trend over the last year.

The FOG is such a great resource. I know I came here first myself a few years ago, not to complain, but to engage, to ask questions, to research. People like windmillman went out of their way to help and advise me. We chatted on the phone even, and it was clear that there were many, many people who were so giving of their time and expertise that this was one site that I would be coming back to over and over again.

I think Shane hit the nail on the head with the comment about what people expect from customer service nowadays, and the inherent power that comes from social media. Unfortunately, I know that there are suppliers who end up out of pocket for fear of what that powerful medium can do to their business, when people jump on a resolution to a particular problem and demand the same result even though most times the particular problem had never been an issue for them until they read about it.

I hope people continue to come to the FOG to engage and to interact, to learn and to educate. It's why I'm here.

If they have a problem with the product, I hope they take the time to speak to Festool or to their dealer first, and then come back here to make their first post one extolling the tremendous support they've received and what great customer service they experienced. Then they can document the problem and the resolution or what they learned for the benefit of others.

That would be a nice change.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2015, 12:03 PM »
I must admit, I've questioned the motives of many first time posters who have only joined the forum to complain; for me, that's been the troubling trend over the last year.

The FOG is such a great resource. I know I came here first myself a few years ago, not to complain, but to engage, to ask questions, to research. People like windmillman went out of their way to help and advise me. We chatted on the phone even, and it was clear that there were many, many people who were so giving of their time and expertise that this was one site that I would be coming back to over and over again.

I think Shane hit the nail on the head with the comment about what people expect from customer service nowadays, and the inherent power that comes from social media. Unfortunately, I know that there are suppliers who end up out of pocket for fear of what that powerful medium can do to their business, when people jump on a resolution to a particular problem and demand the same result even though most times the particular problem had never been an issue for them until they read about it.

I hope people continue to come to the FOG to engage and to interact, to learn and to educate. It's why I'm here.

If they have a problem with the product, I hope they take the time to speak to Festool or to their dealer first, and then come back here to make their first post one extolling the tremendous support they've received and what great customer service they experienced. Then they can document the problem and the resolution or what they learned for the benefit of others.

That would be a nice change.

Absolutely spot on - I agree with Garry.

Peter

Offline JBird

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2015, 12:21 PM »
I'm accustomed to seeing this elsewhere, but it seems like a troubling trend here on the FOG, and for my needs it unnecessarily clutters up the feed, and ultimately makes me less and less likely to check in.

I don't think "cluttering up the feed" is a persuasive argument against posting tool or customer service problems. I think this argument may sometimes (not saying in your case) be a cover story for a more interesting phenomenon. More commonly it seems that some readers are just very defensive of the Festool reputation. It is not enough for them to be alone in their satisfaction with their tools. When someone else posts a problem that they feel casts a negative impression of the Festool ownership experience then it somehow threatens them. This might be because it causes internal doubts about the wisdom of their purchase decisions. Or it may cause fear that others, perhaps their peers, will question their purchasing decisions if the Festool reputation is not protected. People have a lot of money and emotion invested in their tools. The stakes can seem very high to them. But this is usually more true of the person having the issue than it is about the person who is made uncomfortable by reading about it.

The faulty premise at the heart of this discussion is that a post about an issue which may have been effectively helped privately offline, but instead is handled publicly, is harmful to the brand or forum. It is not really tenable to sustain the illusion that Festool customers don't have problems. In practice these are opportunities to showcase good customer service publicly. It is in the nature of corporate PR to provide better service to public issues than to private ones. My experience is that Festool's private customer service simply doesn't live up to the responsiveness of the publicly demonstrated customer service which is sometimes provided here. It makes sense to me that this is the first place some people turn when they need results.

I myself had a very bad experience during the recon sale that involved Festool sending me a tool that was misrepresented by them. They dragged their feet in responding to my concern for a week before ultimately failing to deliver customer satisfaction. Having watched this forum closely over the past couple years I feel certain I would have had a lot better shot at receiving customer service had I aired the issue publicly. But not wanting to pee in the Cheerios of all the posters enjoying the recon sale, and not wanting to have the fanboys add insult to my injury, I kept the issue to myself and my dealer had to eat it(underservadly). Now I carry a CT MIDI sized chip on my shoulder and wouldn't waste a minute defending the Festool brand. I have learned my lesson and if I have issues in the future I will bring them forward publicly for the benefit of other customers.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: "To the Internet!"
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2015, 01:54 PM »
As a non-moderator - I would never post a customer relations issue on the internet without going to the company first.  Customer relations is just that.  I don't think that internet readers were involved in my transaction.  I also have been on the opposite side of the equation and not appreciated at times the unrealistic expectations of the other parties.

This morning I sent an email to the general manager of a restaurant that I ate at 3 times when I was recently out of town.  I noticed after the first night that I was overcharged for beverages based on the menu.  I went back two more times and the same thing happened.  That company urged people to use their Facebook page and I certainly could have created the fray there by posting my discovery, but instead I sent an email and notified them of the issue - once I was certain that I was correct.  I informed them that I wasn't interested in a refund but rather wanted to bring it to their attention.  I decided to do what I would hope others would do if they had an issue with me or my work.

Just call me different I suppose.  Not saying that others' approach is wrong, I just have to look in the mirror everyday and try to see all sides for my own personal balance.  But then I also realize that when I send an email that takes 30 seconds to compose I might not get a response for a day or two.  Call me gullible.  Call me crazy.  It is all ok.

Peter
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.