Service, above all could save the high end audio industry
I am no stranger to the high end audio business, and have dealt with almost every dealer within 50 miles or more of me over the last few years and have been unimpressed to say the least. Sure, they have great gear, but they are out of touch when it comes to customer service.
I have been personally mistreated by a high end shop who sold me their demo Revel F50's only to get them unpacked and find out seven drivers were blown! 7/10! When I told them this, they took them back but insisted I did it and wanted me to take them back after repair. I might have, but they kept them in the shop for four months. When I called to speak to a technician, I was told they were really busy and hadn't gotten to them yet but they would look at them that day! I called my CC and cancelled payment. The dealer who was not only rude on the phone and emails, stopped even contacting me in regards to this issue. Thankfully for me much of the communication was via Email, so I had good legal documentation of my side of the story and my CC refunded my money, the wife and I have new watches from the refund, so no loss. They just tied up my money for months….
Back to watches.... I recently bought a new watch @ Tourneau in Atlanta. Being at a store like Tourneau, I paid more than may usual max (75% of retail price) as I really wanted the watch and it is pretty rare in this country. I found the watch was defective on the second day and contacted them. They suggested I send it in for repair, which I politely refused. I told them it was a new watch and I didn't want a repaired one. Now, as I said this is not a common watch for the states and only a few hundred have been made to date. Tourneau found me another, let me keep the malfunctioning one (it still told time, the chrono didn't work nor did it wind itself but it is super cool so it was wearable) until they had the new one in ATL. When they got it, they called me and paid for it to be overnighted to them and the new watch was to me 48 hours later.
Top it all off the new watch came gift wrapped! A really nice touch that cost them almost nothing but will ensure I never feel bad paying extra @ Tourneau again!
Why can't audio dealers figure this out??
I could go on and on about fellow audiophiles problems with local dealers.... My best friend is redoing his HT. He gave a local shop $75,000 for a budget. when they gave him the proposal, it was for $194,000+! Guys, that’s not even the same zip code!
Another colleague of mine wanted to do something into new construction, he needed pre/pro, amps and speakers. He told three local shops he was looking to spend between $50,000 to $75,00. Only ONE shop ever would return his calls or Emails, and ultimately got the job. Three other dealers never even responded to him after going to their shops and multiple emails and voice mails!
A local analog shop was closing it's doors, 'restructuring to do consulting work' ie out of retail. I went there to see what they had, cash in pocket to spend on a TT. They offered me 30% off retail on their demo's! I was there THE LAST DAY!!! Needless to say I still don’t have a TT.
Treat me right, I won't mind paying, and gladly will for good customer service! Treat me like garbage and not only will I not come back, but no one who knows me will either! I used Tourneau in the example above, they will forever have a shot to supply me with any and all watches I want just for doing what was right. If my local dealers had even come close to that, they would still have my business, and that of many friends as well.
Ken Taraszka, MD