Bad customer service?

ndking1126

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Let me preface this by saying my question does NOT apply to anyone I've interacted with on this forum.

Historically, I've had bad customer service from gunsmiths. Simple business 101 type things - respond when a customer asks a question, answer all the questions asked, be generally polite and likable, don't act annoyed that I'm trying to give you my business, etc. Follow up when you finish the job or if you hit a snag that's going to delay completion.

For example before the pandemic I moved to a new area and was trying to find a smith. The first 3 I emailed never responded. At all. The fourth responded, but I'd asked a few questions and he only answered one question with a very brief one sentence email. I followed up and ended up giving him the work (which I was very happy with). But even then, he works out of his shop in his backyard so it was difficult to get a time to drop off the equipment (I certainly understand when your business is at your house its a little different than having a storefront with posted hours, so additional coordination is expected.)

Another example I've seen is if the smith doesn't agree with what I want done, like I want bedding to stop at the recoil lug, but the smith's believes the chamber should also be bedded. The response I've seen is to get butt-hurt and then be very dismissive or treat me like I'm in idiot. I'd happily listen to why you recommend it.. You're the expert, I'm just the guy who reads things on the internet and tries to make sense of it all.

I'm a laid back guy who treats people well. I've had many customer service focused jobs, so I really don't think it's the way I treat them. Is there something else I should be considering? Is my experience the norm or am I just that unlucky?
 
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P7M13

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It's unfortunate that is your experience. Mine might be the same, but I take a different perspective.
1. You don't seem laid back.
2. A busy gunsmith has little to zero time to answer emails from prospective customers. Some of them also have day jobs.
3. Good ones are booked just from word of mouth.
4. If they're the expert but as you say, "butthurt" when you contradict their opinion, perhaps you may want to consider what is being communicated, and how.
If you found the one who did work for you was excellent, why belly-ache?
Hope you have better luck.

Edit to add:
Gunsmiths are technical people first, shooters, fathers, husbands, etc, Customer service ranks 3rd or 4th (or lower) on their skill set.
I use two in the Portland area, they are both superlative. One may take a year to get your work done, and it will be top notch, the other may take 2 months to get a hold of.
It always helps to show appreciation too. The latter smith, when I dropped off my work for him, I also brought a bottle of single malt, which he really appreciated. The other, I tip generously or bring ammo.
And, I *never* ask to be bumped in line. They tell me what time it will take.
 
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P7M13

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Because, if you were laid back, you would not present the experiences as complaints to the point of nit-picking. "....but I'd asked a few questions and he only answered one question with a very brief one sentence email." Answering only one of a few questions is not bad customer service, though it didn't give you the satisfaction you were seeking.
Your final question, "...Is my experience the norm or am I just that unlucky?" implies that all the above negative statements in your OP represent bad customer service.
 

DMULE

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You two are obviously good guys. What you are describing is the changed world we are living in. Businessmen and customers are all tired. You try, they try and it is still difficult. Lack of people that want to work, extended hours searching for inventory, more demand for communicating and some idea of a predicable outlook is a strain. Good of you guys to discuss the subject with respect for each other. LRH members are the best!
 

ndking1126

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Because, if you were laid back, you would not present the experiences as complaints to the point of nit-picking. "....but I'd asked a few questions and he only answered one question with a very brief one sentence email." Answering only one of a few questions is not bad customer service, though it didn't give you the satisfaction you were seeking.
Your final question, "...Is my experience the norm or am I just that unlucky?" implies that all the above negative statements in your OP represent bad customer service.
What you see as nitpicking, I see as giving an example so that people understand what I'm asking. I'm pretty sure someone would have asked for examples of I hadn't put them in. I guess we disagree on answering only one question when multiple are asked, which is fine.
 

david g ranes

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What you see as nitpicking, I see as giving an example so that people understand what I'm asking. I'm pretty sure someone would have asked for examples of I hadn't put them in. I guess we disagree on answering only one question when multiple are asked, which is fine.
I would expect to get any question I asked answered or I would locate someone who would answer them some people get so ful of them selves they act like you described they wouldn’t get my money always someone else who will help you. David
 

david g ranes

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Is it really nitpicking to ask questions to ensure your getting what you think and what the builder is to deliver? My money and I don’t think so.
This day and age you need everything you were told and expect in writing it’s amazing how many things get forgot no matter if buying a car or getting carpenter work done things seem to always change when the check is about to be wrote. David
 

FEENIX

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I am fortunate to have access to 8-10 reputable gunsmiths within an hour's drive, one of which is 2 miles from my home. However, my go-to gunsmith has been providing excellent customer service and, of course, excellent build for me since 2003. As already noted, gunsmithing is a business, and they cannot answer every phone ring. Most of them, including my gunsmith, have the best time to call schedule but prefer text or email, so they do not have to stop what they are doing for their other customers. Most of them are also a one-person shop, so I do not expect a gunsmith to pick up my call because they have their workload to meet other customers' delivery schedules. I am a firm believer in establishing a good working relationship with a gunsmith. I am pleased with mine since 2003. So when you find your go-to gunsmith, stick with him.
 

ndking1126

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Fully agree with Feenix they don't have customer service reps, sales reps,etc. Just them with tons of work. Give in writing what you want, add patience, and a bottle of scotch isn't a bad idea.
Yeah, I only send emails and never needed to ask for a specific completion date, so whenever they get to it. I've always looked for the local guy so I've never used a nationally known shop. If nothing else cause I've never needed that absolute best of the best and I like supporting local business.

It's just an observation I've had. I guess its starting to look like it's just my experience and not necessarily this way across the industry. Any other experiences appreciated.
 

david g ranes

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Yeah, I only send emails and never needed to ask for a specific completion date, so whenever they get to it. I've always looked for the local guy so I've never used a nationally known shop. If nothing else cause I've never needed that absolute best of the best and I like supporting local business.

It's just an observation I've had. I guess its starting to look like it's just my experience and not necessarily this way across the industry. Any other experiences appreciated.
If you are in a service business you should take the time to answer questions if you don’t have time that’s great then turn the business down sooner or later you’ll have the time to do it because your business will more than likely suffer if not good for you kind of like dumping your kids off to a babysitter that is a pediphile because they wouldn’t let you feel them out and I darn sure am not furnishing a bottle to someone to get the work done maybe when finished but not to start the job my time is just as important to me as theirs are I might want to go fishing. David
 

Rick Richard

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Yeah, I only send emails and never needed to ask for a specific completion date, so whenever they get to it. I've always looked for the local guy so I've never used a nationally known shop. If nothing else cause I've never needed that absolute best of the best and I like supporting local business.

It's just an observation I've had. I guess its starting to look like it's just my experience and not necessarily this way across the industry. Any other experiences appreciated.
It depends if it is a full time business or a part time job. Not all, but the full time builders may have components in stock and may hit their delivery dates as predicted. However, the part timers typically order components when the the order is accepted, which means their completion times are controlled by others delivery times. So, knowing this upfront should give you an indication as what to expect. I would also have an understanding with the builder that a agreed upon update frequency be established so communication flows and a respectful business relationship is maintained…no surprises or disappointments. Just my thoughts.
 
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