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Customer Service

Customer Service by Lyndon Combs
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When did customer service become such a pain in the butt? I know I might sound like an old man remembering the good old days, and maybe my elderly age of 38 is part of the problem. Seems to me like the person on the phone is younger every time I have to call about a problem with a product. Maybe I just don’t understand the young 20 something’s way of handling the matter. I might have different social skills than the person who wrote the little book lying in front of them. Maybe I am just tired, but after sitting on a phone for almost an hour being bounced all over the place I think I have a right to be a little angry. Especially when I don’t get the help I need. I mean after you talk to a total of six people it seems that one of them would be able to help with the problem.

I have been lucky. I have not had many chances to call customer service regarding guns, and shooting equipment, but when I do it seems to only get worse. Now I am not talking about the little foreigners that you can’t really understand. Because they at least tell you they don’t understand instead of putting you on hold while they transfer you to someone else. I am talking about the young Americans that work for a phone bank service hired by the company to handle the calls from customers. If you don’t know what I am talking about – these are companies that are nothing but a bunch of cubicles, and phone lines. The employees sit and answer the phone.These people are given a book that is supposed to help them answer any question a customer may ask. The problem is that if the book doesn’t work they are about as useful as a dead hunting dog, because they usually don’t have any experience with the products you are asking them about, and many when it comes to gun products have never held one.

The huge conglomerate companies usually hire these companies. Like Meade that owns Simmons, Weaver, and Redfield. The reason I mention them? Well I am about to tell you about the worst experience I have ever had with a company. You see I have a Weaver K-2.5 C-3 scope. It is old, but it is a good scope. That is why when I took it out to put it on one of my Winchester model 94’s, and noticed that the little trim piece around the eyepiece was broken, I quickly looked up the company’s web site, and called to find out about getting replacement parts. Simple task right? No, they sent me to about three different people before telling me to call another number. I did this, and the business told me they no longer stock parts for scopes, and I needed to call the company. I told them I got their number from the company.

I then called the company again, and this time I was put on hold at the customer section, and for about twenty minutes I was told every five minutes or so that I would have a wait of seven minutes. No matter how long I sat on the phone it was always going to be a seven-minute wait. Then when I thought I would go ahead and hang up the phone a recorded message started that told me how some astronomer had made his latest star find using a Meade telescope. Then the friendly seven minute wait voice returned and after another 15 minutes of that crap a young man answered and told me it would cost too much to order the parts from them, and gave me another number to talk to a guy named Frank.

Well I called Frank – No answer. So I went to the web, and found the email address for the Weaver repair shop, this is the place that Frank worked, or owned. This is the place that the company told me to call. He emailed me back the next day telling me that if I sent the scope to him he could do a bunch of work that didn’t need to be done for about $48. I replied that I only need the part to screw it back on the scope. He replied back that they didn’t sell parts.

My question? Why do all the other things that he wanted to do? Why not let me just buy the piece? I mean if there is a reason for the piece to be replaced by a tech then say that, and tell me how much to have the piece replaced, and forget the other crap. I like this scope a great deal, it has held up very well, but I don’t want a bunch of stuff done if the scope doesn’t need the work.

I did find out one good thing, my scope was made around 1967, and the man who originally founded Weaver was from Indiana. I guess Frank is the one who emailed me that information. The site said he left his home in Kentucky to move to Texas to start the company. Well at least that is what the history said on the repair shop history page.

I just don’t get it anymore. It seems that the world has come up with another meaning for the words customer, and service. I have found that I am not the only one who has been displeased with the Meade company customer service. I have found on more than one forum a thread on the service. I don’t think I will be buying a Simmons, Redfield, or Weaver product anytime soon. Maybe the Meade Corporation needs to hire someone who actually knows about riflescopes. The making of a rifle scope by a company known for making telescopes shouldn’t be that far of a stretch, but it seems to have turned out about as good as when Winchester decided to let a bunch of Ford car makers help them redesign the Model 94, and the model 70 in the mid 60’s.

I hate to pull the pulpit out, and climb behind to preach about the good old days, but it just gets to you when such a simple task is turned into such a chore. What has happened to common sense, and techs that actually knew the product? I am going to stop complaining, I hope you understand the rant. I don’t mean to single out these companies they are just the latest in a growing trend that is coming about in the industry. The times they are a changing again, and as usual it is for the worst.

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