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My experience with dealing with American businesses either on the phone or on the net or actually being there as been that their customer service is generally very good. They are friendly and express and interest rather than "what do you want". I tend to base my customer loyalty around good customer service. I am not saying every American store has good customer service, what I am saying is that is more prevalent. The UK is pretty good too, Germany less so, Australia less again. I use the shops where they are prepared to give you more assistance and courtesy and don't waste time with shops like Lokshop or Totally Trains where they only want your money and are not prepared to waste time on you unless theres a buck in it.

Some examples are;
I emailed ESU (Germany) about their Ecos three weeks ago and still haven't had a reply,
Each time I email Maerklin it takes two months to get a reply,
I emailed Branchlines Trains (USA) about a missing part from one of their coach kits, they responded immediately and said they would send the part straight away. Four weeks later I did not have the part. I emailed them again they again replied immediately and apologised and said they had sent the part but that they would send it again due to it getting lost. Six days later I had it, two days later the original one they sent turned up.
Similarly Modelbahnecke (Germany) sold me a S3/6 which was damaged in transit and responded immediately they got the parts number and sent me two sets of the spare parts to fix it.

I could go on but will restrain myself.

So not every store from every country is one way or the other but I have found the Yanks to be amongst the best. Britain really changed in the eighties in this respect with huge boom in the service industry. The reality is if you are running a business and you want it to be succesfull, you don't treat your customers like shit.
 

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It's better now than it was though. My favourite is the dissinterested 16 year old shop girl on the phone talking to her mates, avoiding all eye contact. They are the pits.

I find in many shops the service staff will know shit about what they are selling. It's often pile em high sell em cheap. Warehouse syndrome.

I agree with the arrogant railway shop guy thing as well. I hate asking for something and getting, "what do you want that for don't you know.....", yeah well maybe I do and I don't give a f
just give it to me. A couple of my local rail shops here are like that with the arrogant staff, that would be Branchline of Croydon, however on the contrary Hearns Hobbies on Flinders st have the most helpful staff you could want and will answer any question you have. I put all my business their way.
 

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QUOTE Putting a positive spin on the topic, Langley Models are fantatsic. Online shop is very easy to use, ordered some bits 11am Wed, here 9am Thurs. Came with catalogue of their parts as well. Other "cottage industry" companies have had similar service that I have dealt with.I would agree with that completely, that was my experience with Langley.

Speaking of cottage industries, I remember when Jim Hendry used to own Townstreet going round to his house to buy stuff (I used to live near him) and spending the evening there. I had a guided tour round the whole of his set up, saw his layout, his road show he used to take to exhibitions and spent the evening having tea and biscuits discussing his product and others. I am far more inclined to buy stuff from his business than anyone elses because he's someone I know rather than a business. Unfortunately he doesn't run Townstreet any more, he retired but you see my point.

Interaction with your customers isn't hard but it's a lesson some of these bulk shops don't learn and thats why they don't get customer loyalty. I don't buy from wa
ers regardless of how good their prices are.
 

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QUOTE (Branchliner @ 26 Oct 2006, 23:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am in the process of trying to get an expensive (to me) US loco repaired or replaced. It broke down after 6 months infrequent use. Despite numerous phone calls to the UK supplier who, in turn, is trying to contact the US manufacturer I still have a duff product. The supplier seems to imply that since the loco worked for 6 months without fault then the warranty is questionable. I assume a warranty to be one year and if the product fails within that period it should be repaired or replaced without question. As negotiations are still ongoing I will not name the Manufacturer or supplier, but I am getting a little pee'd off at this stage.

Brian
Have you tried contacting the manufacturer direct?
 

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QUOTE (Branchliner @ 29 Oct 2006, 02:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil

I was about to contact the manufacturer, however the supplier has just informed me that they had at last responded and are shipping a new sound chip. I think I will stick to buying more familiar products and installing the chips myself.

Brian
Sometimes you get better results dealing direct with the manufacurer yourself. Sometimes you don't it depends on the company.
 

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QUOTE I think it's all down to whoever looks at the initial e-mail

Yes thats true. I have found most German companies usually have a person who deals with overseas orders/issues and if they are on holiday you have to wait a bit. Having said that I've found Maerklin/Trix usually takes two months too. Modellbahn Kramm tend to be the next day as do Modellbahn Hildesheim.
 
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