Amazing customer service

Bob Morris Mar 13, 2007

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  1. Tunnel Motor

    Tunnel Motor TrainBoard Member


    KSI offers great service. I ordered 3 times there and I was very satisfied with availablity, secured packaging and fast deliveries. WhatI like the most at KSI is the online order form which is really convenient. I wish the choice of items in stock were larger there. They have improved with MT being now available. At least as a SP / Rio Grande fan there is always something interesting.

    Now, regarding the TB supporter shop mentioned first in this post, I regularly buy from them as their website keep us informed with the lattest news from manufacturers, and show us pictures of items in stock and as they have a large stock and great price.
    I also encountered the absence messages you mentioned. I agree their policy to move their shop to many train shows has its limit regarding service consistency and keeping their customer informed about the status of their order. Living in Europe, I am not in the hurry and I like their holding items policy. They have a "bin system" : every customer has a bin, in which they put items in stock you want and reservations as they arrive from the manufacturer. In the end I get everything I want and I pay little by little.

  2. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    I buy from them (TB Supporter from NM) as well, and in my experience they provide excellent customer service, pricing, and product availability. Regarding the show issue, I do agree it's a problem and I think they recognize it as well. They have been transitioning away from the rigorous show schedule (Note their comment about "being in the shop for 90 days + after the FW WGH show) and they appeared to kinda have a "perfect storm" of issues just around the holidays that have slowed things down a bit, at least from what I understand.

    It's funny to see people complain about the notification e-mails and such. Back when the Atlas board first came up, there were endless, relentless, and multiple ongoing and new posts about BLW and their lack of communication. Yet, when a shop DOES communicate and tells you what exactly is going on, then it becomes ammo to complain. I mean, I think I could tell you where George and Deb have been every 2 hours for the last four years!!!

    Of course, I've never been one that needs a lot of "hand holding" as a customer. I don't expect things 2 days after it hits the shop, although this is often the case with them. (notwithstanding their recent "UP-esque" slowdown we're hearing about) I buy everything I order, (so I don't "stick them" with stuff) and I have had WAY more problems with orders from shopping carts than I have via their system. (not saying I don't like the cart system, the good ones are really nice, but maybe not cost effective) And I prefer the "bins" as well to save on shipping.

    The biggest thing, and the reason I went with them from the start, is they are batting 1.000 of things I've ordered...that's right, I've received EVERY SINGLE ITEM I've ever ordered from Wig-Wag. My LHS was batting around .400 in that department and I've had similar track records with other LHS, mail order, and web shops. In this day of "made-to-order based on reservations" it is imperative that this happen. It doesn't matter if you are lightening fast, or that you "really really really" care about your customers---if you can't deliver product all that goes out the window.
  3. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Just as a littler personal aside and not speaking as a Trainboard moderator but rather as a consumer-

    There will be people with compalints, founded or unfounded, against every single on line supplier. Other than outright theft (complaints of which are almost non existent) the main complaint seems to be a failure of communication, i.e. not knowing whether an order has been accepted, whether the item is in stock or back ordered or cancelled by anyone on the supply side of the deal. If a retailer is not responsive to your particular needs in this area, shop around for one who is. It took me over a year to find a supplier with whom I felt comfortable and I am still with him.

    As to a horror story- When the first run Atlas shays were originally announced, I pre ordered two, one each from different suppliers over a period of a week. As you know, there was a huge delivery delay due to Atlas. One came, the other didn't. I e mailed the shop that did not ship after a few weeks of release date. No response. I did it again, no response. I called three times and had to leave a message each time. Finally, and after a letter, I was called and informed that I had never made an order in the first place. I saved a copy of the order that I sent, sent it to them again and never received a reply.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2007
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    A day late and dollar short! I' guess I might as well throw in my two cents and see what waters I can muddy, doors I can rattle, waves I can create, what nerves I can hit and toes I can step on. Here goes!

    I've been on both sides of the fence when it comes to ordering products. As a department head in a hospital and semi-purchasing agent (you can wear many hats as a hospital mgmt. type) For example: I know what it's like to order toilet paper and find out it's been back ordered...when the truck arrives. No courtesy call advising of such...but when the darn truck arrives. Aaargh those #$$%^^%##@ so and so's. Only to find out the boys in shipping failed to pull the order or at least they are the ones assigned to take the blame. I'm sure you can imagine the disruptive force this might have.

    Point of discussion: There's nothing this critical regarding what we order for our hobby. Another example: I could be ordering a life saving medical instrument for our E.R. physican's. Nothing is as critical as the E.R. instrument except maybe toilet paper. I mean there are ways to get around using toilet paper, if you don't mind using your finger...well...let's just leave that one to the imagination. I think that is why we insist everyone wash their hands between patients, after using the bathroom, before meal I need to go on?

    And, this from another hat I wore. I used to work for a hobby shop...for fun...loved it. And, I understand the problems with filling orders whether it is for part's, items sent back to be shopped or mail orders...not much different from internet ordering...except things are supposed to happen faster...right?

    Let's say I just put in an order including an item for you. It is BO'd but they fail to notify me. In the meantime I'm filling the orders at hand with what I have in the shop. Discovering to your and my employee of mine put someone else's order ahead of yours and mailed it out. Let's see one very satisfied customer and the potential of losing the other. Not good. Does the customer have to know? That's arguable both ways. I would pick-up the phone or write an e-mail letting you know it will take me a little longer then expected, to fill your order and ask for your patience. As the customer you're free to do what you want.

    Now the truck arrives with what should be your order and... the items or worse...the whole order has been BO'd. PANIC TIME! I will make some frantic calls and try tracking the order. Only to learn, I have over stepped my credit limit with one of my vendors. Oh, gosh darn I forgot to mail the check in and some quick phone calls and electronic checking resolve the issue but now I'm way behind.

    Oh heck, I could go on all day long telling horror story after horror story. All true. Let me put it this way. In summary, "To be human is to err", author unknown to this TB participant. But, I believe he or she is right.

    As your provider all I would ask is remember loyalties can be built between us. I think I've said enough, right? This is turning into Rick's Epistle Chapter 45. I hear you, "Yeah, Rick shut up and fill that order."..grin!

    Sure am glad I don't do that anymore.

    Till later! Enjoy!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2007
  5. Kevin Stevens

    Kevin Stevens TrainBoard Supporter

    Bob and others, I will tell you that my answer is a tentative "Yes". I have a partnership/affiliation with Racers Haven Hobbies in Bakersfield which is a large R/C Car and Plane store. I have been working to increase the model railroad inventory at the store, but please understand that if you visit the store looking for someone to talk trains with you will be disappointed. All of the store employees are R/C experts (I also have over 25 years experience with R/C cars as well), but most have little to no Model RR knowlege. I am usually in the store 3 days a week tending to my own business interests there, as well as "managing" the model railroad section. One thing I can tell you is that we are working toward having all items in the store also available through my website, but until the store is on a computerized inventory that is very difficult. What I can tell you is the Hobby Shop does have many N and HO Scale items in stock, and when I am in the store I am available to all customers who are looking to talk trains. I would love to be in the store more, but being sole proprietor of two businesses keeps me from being in one place for very long.

    My "in store" days are typically Tues/Wed/Friday from store opening until around 3 or 4PM, other days and later hours I am busy with the operation of my other business. On a side note, I will be on Vacation for the month of that may keep us from crossing paths this summer. As always, I am available anytime through my website and will always do what I can to help out. Feel free to drop by the store when passing through Bakersfield even if I am not there, and see what is available. The store address is 7401 White Lane in Bakersfield, and the store is open 7 days a week.
  6. J Long

    J Long E-Mail Bounces

    I thought Factory Direct was fast too. I placed an online order at 9:00 am. Checked my email at 1:00 PM and it was noted to be shipped out. Arrived in days later via UPS ground.
  7. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    As a regular purchaser from KSI I can unequivocally state I'm 100% happy with the service Kevin provides.
  8. Route 66

    Route 66 TrainBoard Member

    Pete at Brooklyn Locomotive works in my book is the best, Are there others? I am sure there are but why go to another e-tailer when his service has been outstanding since day one when I used to recieve is monthly news letter that was like a christmas catalog once a month!!!!
    Also most e-tailers are a mom and pop deals which attend model Railroad shows and have less time for mail orders, so the mail order side suffers big time. Pete(BLW) does not do the show circut so his mail order business works. And he does not charge your credit card until your reserve items have been shipped. So I stick with what works for me and that being BLW
  9. Frank Campagna

    Frank Campagna TrainBoard Member

    My first experience with mail order was back in 1972. I don't think the company is still around. Waited three months for the incomplete order to arrive. A real lesson in patience.

    When I discovered BLW in the late eighties, I would mail an order Monday, have it on Wednesday. Can you beat that? Yeah. My last BLW online order. Put it in on Thursday evening, had the item Friday afternoon. Less than 24 hours!!!!!

  10. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I have seen the same type of thread here and on other boards since I first started building my layout. I find them absolutely non productive and invariably degenerating into endorsements of the poster's favorite on line retailer. Is it really necessary or productive or even beneficial to our membership at large?

    I am reposting what I have already stated further up in this thread.

    "There will be people with complaints, founded or unfounded, against every single on line supplier. Other than outright theft (complaints of which are almost non existent) the main complaint seems to be a failure of communication, i.e. not knowing whether an order has been accepted, whether the item is in stock or back ordered or cancelled by anyone on the supply side of the deal. If a retailer is not responsive to your particular needs in this area, shop around for one who is. It took me over a year to find a supplier with whom I felt comfortable and I am still with him."
  11. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I agree. We need to stop beating the drums on this hobby shop thing, both positive and negative.

    I know that no one means anything bad by it, but it is something that a lot of you would not understand unless you had to deal with it from our end. And boy oh boy, doesn't it get the e-mails flying.

    Over the course of TrainBoard, this has been a constant and ongoing issue.

    Sorry, that is just how it is.

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