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#1 midcon07

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 12:35 PM

I'm a customer in need of a solution. I've called Customer Solutions twice in two days spending roughly 45 minutes in waiting time. During the course of those two  calls the phone was answered once by Gary who listined to my problem and promply said he'd have 'parts' call me back. I talked to Gary at 8:19 yesterday and my return call from 'parts' was supposed to be that afternoon. Didn't happen! I called today and got an operator who said she would transfer me to a representative. Didn't happen! I got an answering maching. I left a message giving my phone number twice. Still no response.

I really have a problem here, does anyone here have a back number or know somebody, or have an "in" or something? Would it be good to call the administrative offices and see if anything can be done from that end.

Thanks.

Jerry
midcon07@commspeed.net

#2 johnmc

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 07:56 PM

get the operator on the phone and ask to speak to a supervisor
What kind of problem are you having beside not hearing from Meade?

#3 midcon07

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 01:02 PM

The telescope saddle/cradle on my LXD75 mount broke. It's a cast aluminum piece and I needed to get one for next week. Were giving a group of kids and parents an intro to star gazing at a star party. I finally gave up but two days later got a call. The part is on its way. I don't know if it'll make it in time but I'm hoping.
The whole experience is frustrating. I've never delt with another scope company so I don't know if this is typical industry standard or if they were just having a bad day.

Jerry

#4 DoninMd

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 06:11 PM

Midcon,

Here we go again on the Meade customer service issue.  Would that the manual was more replete with detailed information. Know that this 4M community is full of Meade users who value the quality of the instruments for the dollars spent.  This stuff is a good bargain.  So, as you read these posts, you will see much counsel for patience.

Once before (now deleted) I wrote that telescoping is a relatively small business.  Even a "large" international company like Meade is tiny in comparison to manufacturers of, say, kitchen appliances.  Once you get past kids toys, good optics cost money. Let's give Meade credit where due; it has pulled out some pretty tall engineering to deliver the bulk of their instruments for the prices they charge.

All that said, we all wish customer service could be enhanced.  But give Meade this, all of the representatives understand their products, understand you, and are not off-shore. Can you say the same for any computer product bought today? 

It is important that when you get help, place an order, etc., you keep a tracking number or case number or whatever it is called. This helps any other person follow the thread.  I have learned (from experience) that the front line technicians and the guys in the mail room do not always coordinate. Indeed, the mail room guys have fished a replacement product from the "incoming broken part bin" instead of the "repaired part bin" and send that out.  Eventually it all gets straight.  If you understand that more corporate resources are invested in building a superior product for less money than in bulking up the service system, you can tolerate it.  But it does help to have something to do on your desk while enjoying Meade's new age phone music. 

Consider also that being a technician for an optics company means one also must explain instrument basics to folks who really have no experience with them.  In reminds me of standing in line at the local post office where a lot of the folks are either immigrants or very old people (like me). Please note that I did not make any cracks about standing in line at the grocery store behind women with large purses looking for - pick one - cash, credit card, checkbook -- oops.  You get the picture. Bring a book.

As Scott Roberts says on the DVD that came with my scope -- one of the first things you want to do is just enjoy the scope.  I hope you will.

Cheers,
DoninMD

#5 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 07:02 PM

Right. "Here we go again".
I'll say! I know of only 1 solution.
Don't you wish the forums were full of "Wow, what great quick service"?
Well, they can not be. That isn't our fault.
I almost think mediocre service would be better than what Meade offers now.
Doing NOTHING as far as getting back to customers really seems to be the norm.
I don't really know what is wrong there, I don't think any of us do.
It must be really something to behold, though. I picture the entire dept. just
wasting the day away while phones ring, ring and ring and WORSE YET email goes unanswered for months.
If I ever did that ONCE in my job, it would be my
ex-job real quick.
Here we go STILL might be more correct.

#6 Mark Sibole

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 07:57 AM

Sandy,
Let me answer a few of your concerns and questions.
"Don't you wish the forums were full of "Wow, what great quick service"?"
As with any other forum you very rarley hear any good comments on any product.
The only time many post is to complain about what is wrong with a product no matter how small the problem is or  if it is even a problem.

"I almost think mediocre service would be better than what Meade offers now."
In 20 years of using Meade products ive only had 2 problems with my equipment and 1 of them was my fault.
When I contacted Meade and sent my equipment in for repairs it was repaired and actually came back better than it was before.
The cleaned adjusted and columinated the scope for me and I thought the service was done in a timely fashion.

You have to realize Meade is a small company compaired to lets say (GM, FORD,Maytag ect) and its customer base is world wide with thousands and thousands of customers.
When you have 15 to 20 people answering phone calls it does take time to get to everyone.
They not only deal with big telescopes but small telescopes,Binos,microscopes and other products.
So the call volumn is NOT only for repairs but for general questions from customers who are first time telescope buyers of the product and dont really know a thing about it but want to learn.
So when you have to deal with calls all day long from every part of the world and try to explain things to someone who is a first time user it can take time for the one on one question and answer session.

There will be times when someone or something slips through the crack (as happens with all things in business)and at these times you have to be patient.

With the thousands of Telescopes Meade has sold as I stated before you rarley hear people on forums say"WoW I just received my telescope and im so happy with it ".
Most people take it as a given.
Most forums are set up to help one another and not used for a complaint department of a product.
If there is a problem you make a post stating the problem and many ,many people are more than willing to help you out to give you a good resolution to the problem so It can be fixed.

I can with certainty that when Meade ships out a product it is in working order free of defects (or they wouldnt stay in business long)that a lot of things that happen to the product are a result in poor handling of the delivery company.
When you ship something precision and the shippers dont use care things will get damaged.
Electronics can go bad from a simple static discharge or even upon power up or a power surge.
This happens with all electronics period.

I hope this has answered some of your questions and concerns.

All we can do is be patient when something goes wrong as you are not the only customer a company has.
It does take time to get to everyones problem and concern and I think it would be nice if people did do something to notify any company of the pros of a product and how nice it is.


Regards

Mark
Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com

#7 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 03:02 PM

Sandy,

Maybe I missed it somewhere, but I never did get what it was that was wrong with your telescope.  If you will let us know.  Maybe there is some way some of us can help you.  Maybe not, but then it might be worth a try.

Best Regards,

Bill Steen
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#8 johnmc

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 03:29 PM

In the third reply

"The telescope saddle/cradle on my LXD75 mount broke"

#9 midcon07

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 04:29 PM

DoninMD
The fact that you started your post "Here we go again" is pretty indicitive of problems. Also thanks for the business lesson but I'm ok on basic business mechanics. As long as were on the topic though Dell's EPS is $1.33 vs Meade's negative $0.98.

Lets drop down to " Most forums are set up to help one another and not used for a complaint department of a product." Actually I thought the General Discussion forum being pretty inclusive would be a proper place to voice a general concern about what I percieve is company policy. Hopefully if the problem is as serious as it appears help can be in the form of communication to the company that something is wrong and needs fixed. I'm sorry but I don't agree that just because a business is small it can't have good customer service.

I do agree with 100% with your comments about the manual. I'm a newbie to astronomy/star gazing and let me tell you that manual was indeed a problem. Since I hadn't assembled my scope yet that manual was my introduction to the company. Then I tried calling for help to get answers to things I didn't understand. As you stated all the call volume is not for repairs. When I started spending long periods of time just waiting for some one to answer the company slipped another notch.

Once I got the scope set up and was able to view objects the "wow" factor kicked in but I couldn't very well get on the forum and state how good the quality of the scope was because I'd never looked through any other scopes. The objects looked great to me but I had no actual experience to tell me if my scope's quality was better/worse/the same then scopes from other companies.

Sandy's comment that "I picture the entire dept. just wasting the day away while phones ring, ring and ring and WORSE YET email goes unanswered for months." is his perception. Obviously we know that the empolyees are probably trying their best but perception is a powerful thing. The company management needs to look these perceptions, needs to look at the actual problem and needs to work on finding a solution. It can safely be assumed that Meade wants customers to buy other Meade products and if they move up to a more expensive scope they want customers to buy theirs. I don't know about experienced people in this hobby but for newbies this is a tough company to work with.

Jerry
midcon07@commspeed.net

#10 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 04:32 PM

Hi Jerry,

Is your problem the same one that Sandy_Gazer has?  I was thinking of that problem, which is actually not mentioned in this string.  From statements made, Sandy_Gazer has some strong feelings about the situation and experiences.  I thought it might help to offer help to work toward a solution.

Sorry for the confusion.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#11 johnmc

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 07:13 PM

Im gonna stick my neck out here I have spoken to Meade on several occasions about repair issues.  during the conversation the service  people have admitted that they do spend a large amount of time training people on scope use as well as trying to explain relationships between astronomical terms and how the sky relates to setting up the scope. Meade, in my estimation, provides quality scopes at reasonable prices espically the cats...I think they do have qc issues with lower end scopes and sell many of them to beginners. Unfortunately goto on beginner scopes probably create large issues with set up more so then a basic dob that you just swing over to what you want to observe. I learned a great deal on a reflector and dobs. my first goto was a real brain drain learning how to get it to track properly. and if the new goto is problematic bad motor etc then the beginner is in for a struggle.
As a suggestion when we do get newcomers with issues perhaps a sticky at the front of the forum suggesting a calmer query prior to posting on the forum could offer quicker calmer  solutions  :)

#12 MistrBadgr

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 07:16 AM

I agree.  I will not say the frustration and irritation, from the point of veiw of the customer, is not justified.  From that perspective, it is, regardless of the cause.  However, I think whatever we or Meade can do to calm things down and solve the problem(s) helps all of us enjoy our hobby or profession more.

There are a lot of wonders in the universe for all of us to learn about and enjoy.  Patience, personal self discipline in the face of adversity, and good will help those endeavors.  Frustration, irritation, and anger, regardless of the source or fault, do not.  We actually help ourselves when we help others.  Quick communication of information that helps and calms is, in my opinion, good for everybody.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#13 midcon07

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 09:23 AM

Bill,
I'm not sure if Sandy has a specific problem right now. If he does I don't know what it is. I think he was just adding comentary about some of his past experiences with Customer Solutions.
My problem is a broken Dec axis OTA Dove Tail Mounting Saddle/Cap which all you guys know is where the OTA is attached and secured to the mount.
Not being blessed with a Home Owners Association that takes kindly to domes in the backyard I, probably like most of us, have to move my scope from my viewing area to shelter at times. I live in the high desert of  central Arizona and though I do have a TeleGizmos 365 Series Cover System plus a UV cover over that I still need to get the scope to shelter occasionaly. We had thunderstorms in the area (actually happens on occasion) and from experience I knew we would have out flow winds soon. They hit a little earlier then expected and I ran out to get the scope to shelter. I didn't have time to remove the covers and OTA like I normally do and was trying to wrestle the scope to the patio when it slipped out of my grip in a wind gust. I caught it just as it was hitting the ground but the mounting saddle snapped.

Jerry
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#14 midcon07

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 09:50 AM

Bill and johnmc,
A lot of good points in your comments. I would indeed hope that Meade would take action to calm things down. From my end I will endevor to show more patience and understanding while, hopefully, the company is examing the problem and working toward a solution.
Being a newbie I take at face value your comments about the quality of Meade products and the reasonable price at which they are offered. I've joined a club now and once I get my scope back together I'll take it to some star parties and solict some comments on its optics, etc, and how it compares to other peoples scopes.
I will say that once I was able to get a rep on the line they have been courteous, knowledgeable, and willing to help. In short, professional.
Bill, I had to grin at your comment that "quick communication of information that helps and calms is, in my opinion, good for everybody." That is exactly what I've been seeking.

Jerry
midcon07@commspeed.net

#15 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 07:54 PM

My telescope isn't exactly "broken".
It just is not suitable as a telescope. The mount is poorly designed, the tripod is not stable and the plastic mount for the finder is useless. Meade, when I emailed them, promised to send a new telescope as an "upgrade". They just never sent it, that's all. Now they do not ever answer any emails or respond to service requests that I initiate from meade.com. I re-try every month - both via the web form and email that is CC: to every address at Meade that I have ever found. Nobody ever answers, and nothing ever arrives. I just assumed that a promise should be kept, but I didn't realize that it does not matter. As long as 1 or 2 people have had good service "every time" they have had to use Meade, then all is well. I am to the point of not caring anymore. This post will soon be removed from the forum, just like my previous one was. I doubt that anyone in the forum can help with my problem, unless they work at Meade. I know now how to keep this from ever happening again, if I were to ever buy another telescope. Quite simple, really. Wish I had thought of it sooner. 

#16 David C

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 12:47 PM

We purchased a Meade telescope for our son's 9th birthday. There were two manufacturing flaws in the counterweight and and an adjustment screw. So, the end result is we cannot use it for the purpose it was purchased. We received a service request approval on May 31, 2007 via email, but nothing since.

For those who have dealt with Meade, what is the normal response? 3 months, 6 months? Because this was an entry level model suitable for a novice, the quantity produced would ensure a reasonable supply of replacement parts. I too find their Customer Solutions Department's lack of response to be abhorent. I would gladly pay more up front for a better experience.

#17 MistrBadgr

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 07:52 AM

Sandy,

Do let me know the outcome from anything you try from the suggestions I sent you by email.  Don't know why, but it bothers me when people have troubles that frustrate and would like to see them solved.  Knowing about your results will help me help others later.  I think you should be able to get the problem solved if we can get you into the right "groove."  I really believe Meade is a company full of good folks that are interested in helping people enjoy astronomy.

Thanks and good luck!

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#18 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:54 PM

I received your email. I didn't try anything from it yet. I did receive email from someone there who said it was now their responsibility to make sure this gets solved. That sounds great, except that this is the third person who has said that. The first two disappeared before doing anything. If anything should come of this one, I'll update this thread. If not, I won't. I am also done with my monthly mass emailing. They have sort of worn me down, which might have been the strategy all along. I am not sure of that, of course, but it seems that way sometimes. I'll just wait a while, see if I am still interested in observing anything, then just buy myself a non-Meade 8 or 10 inch dob or something. We'll see.

#19 DoninMd

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 07:10 PM

Sandy,
That does sound like a bummer. 

Jerry,
High AZ -- wow.  In Maryland, especially in summer, we just live within a haze of humidity.  Wonder if my DS2114 would travel west?  May just have to bring it out some day.  That would be the real wow factor.

Cheers,
DoninMD

#20 midcon07

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:29 PM

Ok, since I started this thread I feel it's only fair that I give my conclusion to it. As promised I received the Dec axis OTA Dove Tail Mounting Saddle/Cap yesterday via 2nd day UPS. This is the second time that I have really struggled with CS to get anyone to listen to my problem. HOWEVER, once that hill is climbed these CS reps are as good as their word.

If indeed any of this thread is filtering back to the company, and I sincerely hope it is, I want to make sure the good comments are passed along as well as the criticisms.

To me it's obvious where the weakness lies. The problem of answering the phones, and maybe even more important returning voice mails and e-mails is definitely something Meade needs to address. I beleive they have a good crew, they just need to give them the tools to work with. You know when you leave a voice mail or send an e-mail to the company you are doing so because there is an implicit promise, by the very reason they are installed, that you will get a call back or an e-mail returned. Please work on this!

Alright, I'm done! To those of you who read and responded thank you very much. There were some good points raised and good dialog is always helpful. For me it's time to get back to observing and begin my foray into astrophotography. There were many offers of help in this thread and I'm sure I'll be taking some of you up on those on other boards.

DoninMD,
You won't be using your dew shield out here.  ;D Plus I'm sure the altitude helps some. If you do ride out this way be sure and e-mail me.

Jerry
midcon07@commspeed.net




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