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Old 02-17-2002, 05:58 PM   #1
Somber
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Oklahoma City, OK, US
Unhappy Vendors (and companies in general) ignoring emails

I know that vendors are very busy, and email has always seemed to be a great way to contact - no busy phone lines, the email can sit in queue until they get some down time, etc...

however, lately I'm finding that more and more of my email traffic apparently gets ignored... here are some examples:

recently trying to source a SPA Gauge - I dropped emails to 6 vendors requesting whether or not they had the new version of a gauge I wanted - of those, only 2 companies even bothered to return an email (and one of those was in England)

wanted to price powdercoating of some wheels - sent 3 emails to local shops (that had email addresses specifically for quotations) - no response from any of the shops

I needed some information from Hot Bits regarding my coilovers - this was basic information, only would have required a 1 line response - emails to Hot Bits in Australia, MRT (the main distributer for Hot Bits worldwide), and 3 US vendors all completely ignored my plea for help - not even a response to pass the buck to someone else... Dan at Vivid tried to help me out, but he seemed to hit a wall getting info as well... I finally tracked some people down through i-club and we traded enough experience to answer the questions...

these are just 3 recent examples of dozens of times I've been ignored... I suppose that it is a combination of different reasons for the lack of response:

-some may have too many emails to respond too
-some may get so little business from email they ignore
-some may be tired of emails that may require attention but not lead to a sale
-etc

I would just like to hear if others are experiencing the same issues.
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Old 02-18-2002, 07:43 AM   #2
push2
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Location: on-line looking for parts.
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Be persistent
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Old 03-01-2002, 11:40 PM   #3
MonoSki
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Lightbulb

Only do business with those who want your business...
You wouldn't buy anything from a company that never answered the phone, or unlocked the door right??? This is no different. Lots of companies out there, just find one that wants your business.....
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Old 03-02-2002, 11:36 AM   #4
Somber
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Default

I understand both of the responses... and yes, I know there are a few places that are really good about responding go inquiries (Cobb, AVS, Vivid, Fastline have all been great) and I give them as much business as I can...

however, I was commenting more on what seems to be a systemic problem with email requests - there are vendors who have poor customer relations and service, but above and beyond that - I'm finding that it seems that even several of the places that do offer decent support and service in person or over the phone - don't seem to respond to email - or atleast not in a timely manner...

I was trying to get a feel for what people thought, and hoped that maybe a vendor or two would chime in... I basically want to know if email is not a prefered way to handle business with the vendors?

is it:

1. in person
2. phone
3. fax
4. mail
5. telegraph
6. email???

basically I hoped I was helping to keep the requests more manageable for the vendors by submitting through email - something that could sit for a bit, instead of a phone call that forces them to drop what they are doing at the moment...

just trying to gauge whether my thinking is backwards...

thanks
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Old 03-05-2002, 09:59 PM   #5
TheWRX
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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2005 Lotus Elise
Yellow, #94 SS

Default

Your thinking makes perfect sense to me, and that's not only for car parts. E-mail is a great way of dealing with many technical questions. I can collect all the necessary details, and write them down in a message. The receiver can read it whenever it's convenient for them. They can look up information if necessary, without me hanging on the phone. And I get the answer in writing, and can easily save it for later reference.

So if I want to buy from somebody, it's very important to me that they respond quickly to e-mail. If they can't answer e-mail in a timely manner, I'd rather not even have them give me an e-mail address. If they do provide an e-mail address, and then don't respond, I will most likely not deal with them.

Just a small (bad) example from a different area: I had a question about an item from a very large consumer electronics company a year or two ago. After the retailer couldn't help me, I went to their web site, and was pleased to see an area for questions, which looked great because I needed to communicate a couple of 10-digit part numbers that they probably needed to look up, which would have been a pain over the phone. After a few days (!), I got a response saying something like "Thank you for contacting us. If you have a problem with your device, please call 1-800-....". I brought the unit back to the store for a refund. I'm a very loyal customer when I get good service, but I let my wallet speak if I don't, and prompt reply to e-mails is part of good service.
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Old 04-02-2002, 09:18 PM   #6
UDPride
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While Im not in the car parts business (telecom and web development) I understand everyones frustration. I get many many emails inquiring about this and that from people looking for answers and while Im more than happy to talk to someone on the phone and answer it with a human voice, I think companies need to do a much MUCH better job with email. In my company, if an email request isnt answered by the end of business that day, we have to have a Come to Jesus meeting with the boss hogs and trust me thats no fun. We're a very small business too (12 employees) but we service companies with 15,000 employees so I knows its not easy but like I always say, shut up and suck it up and be glad you are busy.

Dont give away your email address unless you plan to use it. I actually enjoy email better than phone sometimes for this reason for a lot of customer service inquiries:

1. I can be on the phone helping someone and answering email at the same time (uhhh, cant people multitask anymore?).

2. In an email, I can spell it out in plain english so there is absolutely no confusion and cover my butt with exactly what I say. If the customer questions anything I told them, I refer to the email as proof. Its documented, its clear, and its archiveable unlike a phone conversation. But even when I do talk to someone on the phone I usually shoot them a short 1-2 setence email summarizing what we talked about just to document it once again. They say "FTP me a file". I FTP it to them, but then I also email them telling them I did as I promised. If the bosses question whether I gave a customer an answer in a timely fashion, I point them to the email I sent them as living proof instead of, "Uhh I swear, I swear I called her back."

3. I think 8hrs is more than plenty time to get a response from a person via email. If they advertise their email, then thats free cannon fodder to use it in my opinion. NOBODY should leave the office until every email has been read and responded to, even if its just to say, "Hey, got your email, will review tonight at home, Thanks." Sure theres exceptions if youre out of the office, etc, but then thats why you have coworkers to cover for you. Too much business sure as heck beats the alternative so hire more souls if need be.

I just make it a point to not do business with companies who treat me like Im a burden. I dont get uptight about it, but I dont have much patience for it either. If you are acting like you are going to drag your feet, Ill just find someone else to help me thank you very much. I dont care how cheap something is, you cant put a price on impeccable service. I frankly dont have time to chase down missing orders, lost shipments, and all that. I figure my free time is at least $50/hr so every hour I spend on that stuff, I eat $50. Forget that. In my mind, sometimes paying a little more actually costs a little less.
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