Very Important. Ive never been ghosted by anyone connected to what I use now...maybe there's something to it. Actually it seems to me that Hiend audio may be the last refuge of customer service, at least how I see it.
Service is very important to me. While I never expect to use it.
This is one of the reasons I buy all high end equipment through a dealer. I bought a new amp, and while it sounded exceptional, one of the meters wasn’t quite right. So my dealer came over, attempted to adjust it. It did not work, and he asked me if I would like a new one or him to fix the one I had. I asked him which he thought I should choose. He said, “Let’s get you a new one.” A couple weeks later he came over with the new one and swapped it out.
‘But with high end equipment seldom is there a need for service. Although streamers are a bit more complicated. So I have had technical questions on my two Aurrender streamers. They have fantastic service. Inside the Conductor app you can send emails for help. I have gotten responses on weekends within a few hours. They can actually log on to your streamer and reconfigure it. Fantastic service.
I am sure there are lots of lower end companies with terrible service. I bought a couple Schiit components and was ignored for a couple weeks, some folks have had good luck with responses from them.
@ghdprentice Aurender is definitely one of the good guys. I've contacted them a couple of times and had quick responses and even an unsolicited follow up from them to be sure everything was ok. The non-responsive vendors of whom I speak are high end (with expensive products that I purchased new) and one of the reasons, at least in my opinion, a timely response should be expected.
Funny thing here is I’m not contacting these people regarding problems or needing repairs, warranty or otherwise. In one case I needed recommendations whether to use the tape out or pre out of my preamplifier. I’ve since tried it both ways to find out for my self. It’s just that I prefer asking the manufacturer first so there’s no mishaps.. In this case neither manufacturer of the involved equipment cared to answer. The other was asking advise regarding why the sound volume varied between channels and whether it might be time for new tubes. Again, not a peep.
If it is a high end product, then typically they will rely on dealers to provide the first line of service. They vet potential retailers, train them, and support them… and get rid of them if they do not provide exceptional service. Every company determines their go to market strategy (and should) police it to make sure customers are seamlessly supported.
I bought an iFi Zen Stream and was initially very happy with it (although I’m not a fan of the 1950’s Jetson’s aesthetics). Then I ran into a technical issue and found their customer support to be basically non existent. I even reached out to the US distributor who, to his credit, tried to help but even HE couldn’t get any help from them. Now, I realize iFi offers relatively budget products, but at a company of that size I find it inexplicable that they couldn’t implement some semblance of product support. I mean, charge a couple bucks more per product and they could well afford at least decent customer support. Well, I’ll never buy another one of their products ever again.
That said, if there’s a high-end product where you can’t get customer support either from a dealer or the company, screw’em. There’s no excuse for that whatsoever.
Support is a huge consideration. I have had overall very good support with the products I own.
A company who really impressed me with their quick action is Cyrus UK. I had so e problems with updating my new integrated amp and because they are 5 hours ahead my I received a reply more than once before I woke up.
It was a simple problem and I flashed the firmware easily. I ended up loving this amp , TMR was very responsive too.
We all hope to never need support or service but honestly when I think back, some of the best support has been from small companies that ONLY do Hi Fi....
@marco1 , this is precisely why i don't touch any of the high-end obscure/elusive companies even with a 20 ft pole ever anymore. It is basically a guy or two (skeletal crew) tinkering in their garages and eeking out a product months after taking your money. Their priority is certainly not fixing something under warranty when crap breaks. When they do close shop and move to the Carribean abruptly, you're sht outta luck.
You know in general I’ve always received pretty good service from both my dealers and the manufacturers I’ve chosen to use. That’s what’s a little disconcerting this time because both of these guys and their dealers are reputable. Maybe it’s a sign of the times (I hope not) or maybe I’m just too impatient and blowing off steam. Tomorrow will be 5 business days though, which I for one think is too long to wait to receive answers for a couple of rather simple questions. You can tell me what you think. I’m a big boy, I can take criticism. It’s always interesting to see what others think. In reality I could wing it, which is what I’ve already done in one case. Like I said before though, I like to get advise from the professionals before I do something. If you’ve ever had anything start smoking as a result of being stupid impatient you know where I’m coming from. Plus what I’m interested in learning is the preferred way, according to the manufacturer. Well keep the faith and thanks everyone for your interest and input.
The best CS is the one that you never need. Streamers are networking computers and it’s not uncommon to have user issues. If I was implementing an IT service for a small business it would be foolish not to hit the ground running with a support system in place, and usually one purchases a hardware/software/support package from a vendor. I absolutely would expect some level of post purchase support for an IT product.
Similar experience with Denefrips. I recently did a firmware update and had a few questions afterward. Each email received a thoughtful response within a day or two at most. It’s clear they recognize the importance of CS. Perhaps they understand that a China made product must overcome US market hesitancy. In any case, kudos to the Denefrips team. Much appreciated.
My dealer was great to work with when buying. Very knowledgeable with no pressure to buy. Spent over 50k. Was good at getting back to me with a few questions. The one thing that bothered me a lot that I consider good customer service is he never emailed or called me to ask how the system sounded. I might not return just for that.
Questions should be directed to where you purchased the product. If this is a dealer, first start with them. If the dealer is unable to assist, then the dealer should contact the distributor (or wherever he sources the equipment). If you buy a car and have a question or problem, you contact your car dealer, not the factory in Detroit or Munich or Korea. If you buy a product from another country, do you expect service from the dealer or distributor in your own country - free service?
Manufacturers need to support the dealers better.
If there’s a problem dealers are left on their own, and then they have to deal with nightmarish warranty service route.
Dealers are caught in the middle. If the manufacturer makes a mistake in production and the customer gets a defective product that needs repair the manufacture needs to step in and take initiative. They don't do this.
And they allow for this in their sales model. They assume they're gonna have losses in this area so they rationalize not doing anything. It's a business risk.
@gramophone_canada exactly and what was done in both cases.
@zappas @blackbag20 there you go. Exactly what I’m talking about,
@ronboco there you go too. Simple service after the sale would have ensured a return visit. Now you’ll probably take your business elsewhere.
@chocaholic always great service from Denafrips. And yes it’s obvious that they know what’s required to be and remain successful. More US firms should take note. I am currently communicating with Alvin about an issue for someone else as a courtesy. Details are unimportant other than I’ve sent Alvin 4 emails and in each case had a response waiting for me the next morning when I woke up. That’s what I consider customer service. And as I mentioned in my OP, I know where my future purchases will be directed.
Whaatt?? He didn’t even call you to check how everything sounded?? And you even referred to him as "my dealer" sounding a bit possessive there almost early in the relationship?? Heartbreaker indeed, but, don’t worry, the right dealer for you will show up one day! 😁
In my case I have purchased products from companies that have a "direct to consumer" distribution model; but I definitely researched their pre-sales support and their repair models.
+++1 for Alvin Chee and Vinshine Audio (Denafrips distributor in the US). Before I ever bought any Denafrips equipment, I reached out to Alvin to ask a bunch of questions about different products. He answered every single email within 24 hours even though he is in Singapore, and they were well thought out, answered my questions directly, and gave me honest feedback on which products were worth the extra cost....and even which ones were not. I now own Denafrips: Iris DDC, Pontus II DAC, Hades pre-amp, and Thallo amplifier.....and could not be happier with my decisions. Denafrips has a US based repair center in Texas, so no need to ship faulty equipment to China.....though I've never had to use that service.
I'll also add Buchardt Audio in that category. Before I purchased their speakers (I own a pair of Buchardt Audio S400 MkII speakers), I sent emails to Buchardt asking questions about service and repair and asking advice on speaker choices. I received several responses from Buchardt, including a couple directly from Mads Buchardt himself. Each response was received within 12 hours (even one over the weekend), and I felt were honest and direct. PS: Buchardt speakers punch WAY above their price point IMO. They have a 45 day trial period, but I knew I was keeping those speakers within a couple of hours of having them set up.
Since I am willing to use a direct to consumer distributors, the pre and post sales are extremely important. I have also not purchased from some distributors, because I could never get a response...even after several emails. I'm dealing with such an issue right now. I'm interested in purchasing an audiophile quality passive switch box (2 amplifiers in, 3 speakers out), and found what I think is the perfect product. So far no response to 3 emails over a 2 week period of time. Crickets
@vthokie83 pretty amazing isn’t it. You have to wonder how some of these guys stay in business. Then again many do not. But then again you have to wonder why many of these same dealers piss and moan about how the online dealers are taking their business away. Duh, wake up and smell the roses. It’s called customer service.
Here's hoping. They are selling a commodity and a service, if you don't add anything to the equation why would I pay your mark up? My ideal dealer: friendly, courteous, knowledgeable, and honest staff. Trade up program. Loan or try out period. Good selection of products. Repair service, or at least assist with repair. Clean and organized show and listening rooms.
I know that is a lot to ask, but if I'm paying a 30%, 40%, 50%, or 60% mark up.....that is my baseline. Otherwise I'll buy direct, and sell second hand online if I need to.
A phone call is always in order. Same problem at least for me. Got the recording in one case and the receptionist/operator in another which then went to voice mail of tech support. No call back in either case.
The good news, after my continuous emails and calls I finally was able to talk to someone today. So one down and one to go😵💫. What I hadn’t mentioned before, in attempting to solve still another similar type problem with another of my amps, I picked up the phone this morning and immediately talked directly to the horses mouth, which happens to be Ralph @ Atma-Sphere in this case. Another good guy who is always eager to help. After a couple of back and forth phone calls problem solved. Next email is to Ralph to let him know his second idea worked. I guess in an ideal world this is how it should work. If we only lived in an ideal word. But now I’m starting to preach.