Bad customer service?

Sealesniper

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Oct 14, 2009
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Eastern NC
I think everyone responding is correct and it is difficult to weigh in on someone else's experience or needs. What I have learned, and I personally force myself to follow is great communication, even if the communication is not wat the customer wants to hear. I am very tired of doing the salesman's job. It is almost impossible to get ANYONE to reply to a question, neverminded a list of questions. I currently have a new boat on order that is months late waiting on components. My only request was a weekly text giving me updates. Salesman has NOTHING to sell as they are sold out for the season, but he is still to lazy to give me a 5 minute block of his time each week with a text. I just want to know if anything has changed, and if nothing has, at least I think he is checking on the status of the parts for me each week. Zero communication makes the customer wonder if the salesman even has me on his radar. I still have the boat on order and will still buy the boat. I will not deal with them again, nor will I recommend that salesman.

Now, what I feel I do is over communicate, but I don't want anyone wondering where I stand. So I guess if we started a new culture of following up in all our dealings, maybe, just maybe it would catch back on.
 

Jim’s Hunt

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Jan 14, 2021
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200
Location
Meeker colorado
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?
As for your bedding deal I’m no professional gun builder but a hobbyist that had played with numerous rifles. So in my opinion the builder is right on bedding the chamber area. I go from the recoil lug forward 3”-4” and goat the rest. I have had a couple of them that needed forearm pressure
 

John Klingenberg

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Nov 13, 2018
Messages
852
Location
Michigan
I've had this experience with a lot of gunsmiths. It's got to be difficult when they're a one man show though. Every minute talking is money wasted. I know it takes me a lot of time setting up a lathe and tooling. So talking takes away money making time. I help at my friends gunshop from time to time. The amount of idiots that ramble through the door is mind boggling. Guys looking for left handed Remington 742s because his cousin actually had one, guys trying to draw their concealed pistol to "show" you the problem, bringing stuff in loaded, zero regard for safety. And then theres the just plain weird people. I've had people want to "look" at a new firearm and then attempt to completely disassemble said firearm on the sales counter. I get both sides but I try to be the nicest I can both as a customer and a service provider...to a point.
 

david g ranes

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Sep 9, 2009
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531
The same is true for the customer side; they think just because it is their hard-earned money, they can demand a level of service they think they deserve. It takes a customer and service provider to come to common grounds and agree upon a business transaction to be a success. There are always two sides to a story, and sometimes it takes a compromise. For example, if the gunsmith is working on your rifle and in the middle of a critical process, do you want him to stop just because I call for a question? That means he might not be able to answer a question when the phone rings. There is no perfect gunsmith or customer.
You must be miss understanding if he doesn’t answer the phone that’s one thing but when you are placing an order I want his undivided attention I went to a back surgeon one time during my conference he accepted a phone call about a book deal he was doing at that point in time I would not of let him work on my jack russel but if he was in surgery or with a patient he should be all about you because you are paying for his time after you have done business with a person for awhile I understand dumping off parts at someone close but it’s different when dealing across the country you have to have phone contact do you go to a restaurant and say to the waiter just bring me what you would like to eat tonight that will be fine I don’t think so I had a screw broke off in a receiver one time I couldn’t get out took it to a gunsmith that had been in business several years I was stupid enough to not ask questions he went and got a cordless drill before I could stop him he drilled the threads out with the screw i asked him what the hell he said no problem he drilled down in the barrel and tapped it and put a longer screw in so if you can’t trust you have to ask. David
 

FEENIX

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Great Falls, MT
You must be miss understanding if he doesn’t answer the phone that’s one thing but when you are placing an order I want his undivided attention I went to a back surgeon one time during my conference he accepted a phone call about a book deal he was doing at that point in time I would not of let him work on my jack russel but if he was in surgery or with a patient he should be all about you because you are paying for his time after you have done business with a person for awhile I understand dumping off parts at someone close but it’s different when dealing across the country you have to have phone contact do you go to a restaurant and say to the waiter just bring me what you would like to eat tonight that will be fine I don’t think so I had a screw broke off in a receiver one time I couldn’t get out took it to a gunsmith that had been in business several years I was stupid enough to not ask questions he went and got a cordless drill before I could stop him he drilled the threads out with the screw i asked him what the hell he said no problem he drilled down in the barrel and tapped it and put a longer screw in so if you can’t trust you have to ask. David
No, I understand it; I made a general statement that it takes both a customer and a service to make a successful business transaction. "IF" you as a customer think a gunsmith should respond to your every call and he does not respond to you, move on. "IF," you think you can find better, then so be it and move ... it really is that simple. Like I noted in my original post, my gunsmith has times designated for accept phone calls., which is also the best time for drop-ins/visits. Your surgeon and waiter examples are not apples to apples; stick to gunsmithing. With regards to the broken screw, you at least recognized that effective communication is instrumental.
 

david g ranes

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Sep 9, 2009
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531
No, I understand it; I made a general statement that it takes both a customer and a service to make a successful business transaction. "IF" you as a customer think a gunsmith should respond to your every call and he does not respond to you, move on. "IF," you think you can find better, then so be it and move ... it really is that simple. Like I noted in my original post, my gunsmith has times designated for accept phone calls., which is also the best time for drop-ins/visits. Your surgeon and waiter examples are not apples to apples; stick to gunsmithing. With regards to the broken screw, you at least recognized that effective communication is instrumental.
Customer service is apples to apples no matter what business you are in I expect ample time to go over what I want I’m not going to bug someone after decisions are made unless I decide to change something I like my steak burnt well done not medium or rare I’m the one who is paying for satisfaction I never contacted hart after I sent them my rifle because I trusted them but that’s not always so. David
 

FEENIX

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Great Falls, MT
Customer service is applesto apples no matter what business you are in I expect ample time to go over what I want I’m not going to bug someone after decisions are made unless I decide to change something I like my steak burnt well done not medium or rare I’m the one who is paying for satisfaction I never contacted hart after I sent them my rifle because I trusted them but that’s not always so. David
"If" that is your interpretation of the apples-to-apples comparison or how you want your steak with a rifle build, then so be it. Good luck!
 

762x51

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Jan 8, 2016
Messages
455
Location
NC
a competent smith that depends on the work to put food on the table is going to be slammed busy all the time. after using a few smiths like the OP mentions over the years, i finally found one that just did it as a hobby after his 9-5 and on the weekends. he invited me over one saturday and let me watch him blueprint my action. i can get a barrel cut down and threaded in 3-4 days. headspace can be checked in an afternoon. i'll be screwed when he retires and starts doing gun stuff full time.
 

WahooYahoo

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Jan 27, 2016
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436
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The Great Republic of Texas
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?
It’s funny, I literally just had this conversation with a buddy of mine. Who has had this experience and I have had the same experiences, actually a few times. Some of the fellas that are great on their lathes, suck at the people side.
a very good Smith, in terms of his quality of work, that is in north Houston has never smiled a day in the 12 years I’ve been going to his shop. He’s actually a jerk As a person. Every question , if answered is maddening. Belittling is his strong suit. If he had any people skills at all he would be a wealthy fellow.
I generally don’t do business with folks like that but he’s really a good smith. I just have to keep telling myself that. And as a side, I’ve been an emergency room nurse for 26 years. I don’t care to hear about how tough their shift at work is. They “should” still be able to muster a smile and a kind word for the dude that is trying to hand them a couple of days salary.
 

Muddyboots

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Michigan
I always looked at building a rifle as a collaboration between the gunsmith and the customer. It is up to both to define what the final product will be. It is up to both to insure all questions are answered and defined. I would also state all the parameters MUST be set in writing and once they are there should be an agreement on them. If it is a really good GS, whatever we think we learn on LRH or the "internet" pales in their experience and knowledge of the type of work they do. The real issue is to pick the GS that has the experience to build the type of rifle you want. A GS I use is a absolute MASTER on Ruger No. 1's and would wait as long as it takes to have him build it. He is full time GS and busy as can be. He has told me he prefers to talk to me instead of email unless the email is to confirm not discuss. Email WASTES his time to keep answering questions. Talking on phone leads to multiple questions due to the collaboration of effort which then defines the build much FASTER and better for each party. Then email to confirm telephone discussion.

This is the GS that took pity on me on the cranky barrel removal thread I had some time ago. I brought it to him to leave it with him. I was going to drop it off but he started laughing and said, wait a sec, it will be off in jiff. So he proceeded to put in heavy vise, hit it with some heat and broke it easily. He thought it was funny and felt sorry for me. He is a nice guy but very focused and to the point. He doesn't have "slop" time to whittle away on BS. This is why he prefers a telephone call to review the build with followup email to confirm.

I also dropped off the receiver and he called my up 3 weeks later that it was done. So I look at GS as understanding they are a one man band, they have to manage their time to be cost effective, we as a customer should understand that and work within the framework of most GS operate.
 

backwoodsshooter

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Joined
Jan 15, 2021
Messages
128
Location
North Carolina
i guess i have a good gunsmith.

always has time to answer my questions.

will offer input and guidance on what i’m trying to have done and my goals but ultimately will do whatever ask. most of the time though it’s not outlandish lol.

keeps me up to date how how things are progressing.

doesn’t talk down or be condescending and some stuff peaks his curiosity.

oh, does gunsmithing in his off hours from his full time job and does a great job.

he’s pretty spot on on pricing with nothing hidden

oh, as long as you’re not a butt toward him he won’t tell you to pound sand.
 

spin-one

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Jul 14, 2020
Messages
77
Location
spring valley WI
18 years ago I moved out to a rural area and there was a local gunsmith near me that I had do small repairs and upgrades to several of my guns. Eight years ago he did my first semi custom build and since has done a total of four. Now looking back I realize how lucky I was to find him. He has always taken the time to answer all my questions and walk me through all my builds. He has given me good advice and dose excellent work. He is retiring this fall and his last project will be building me a 280 ai.
 

xsn10s

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Mar 7, 2016
Messages
2,188
The smiths I know are like the manual machinists I know, old and grumpy. Unless they have a customer service/ office eprson on their payroll you'll probably get a grumpy response until you develop a relationship with them. And even then you'll probably still get a grumpy response lol.
 
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