You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

I'm sure all of us have dealt with great and poor customer service even in the ham world. I have heard it time and time again that it's customer service that will make or break your business. Now having said that I understand there are those out there that no matter what you do for them it's never good enough, that being said I'm the person who wants to inform a business when they fall short but at the same time I want to make sure I inform a business when they have given great customer service. This post has to do with both an Amateur radio business that went above and beyond and another that in my humble opinion fell short. From my last post you all are well aware that I purchased a Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna. The loop was purchased from DX Engineering and it's now time for me to toot my horn regarding above and beyond customer service!
  1. I emailed DX Engineering regarding some questions I had about the loop and I was promptly emailed back with an answer. 
  2. They did offer free shipping on orders over 99.00 but it was CLEARLY indicated that for orders outside the U.S this did not apply (I'm in Canada). I hate very small print or no print regarding this but DX Engineering had it plainly stated. 
  3. I ordered the antenna on a Monday evening and it was shipped Tuesday. 
  4. The antenna arrived Wednesday, over the boarder, through customs and to my door. 
  5. The price I was given for the antenna and shipping (FedEx) was the TOTAL cost. In the past I have dealt with Amateur radio dealers in the U.S. I pay for the item, it gets shipped and then I get a call from a carriers "broker" who tells me to clear the item it's going to cost "X" amount. Then I'm asked for my credit card number or it goes back. Let me tell you it has never been cheap.
This is where DX Engineering went over the top!

The antenna came with a carry bag which was a big plus but I noticed the zipper on the bag was defective. I attempted to open the bag for the first time to place the antenna in. Here is what happened:
  1. I sent DX Engineering an email regarding the bag and I was promptly answered that they would contact Chameleon and have them send me a new bag. 
  • DX Engineering contacted me promptly after the sale when there was an issue.
  • I was not passed off and told to contact Chameleon myself, they took ownership. 
    2.  I was then contacted via email from Maria at DX Engineering and also a phone call regarding 
         the outcome of contacting Chameleon Antenna. (more on Chameleon's reply later) I personally 
         spoke with Maria on the phone, she told me at DX Engineering they tried to see if one of their 
         bags would work. It was determined it would not meet the need of the antenna. Maria then told
         me to go and get the bag repaired and they would cover the cost. 
  • I was contacted in person by Maria who was the person dealing with my issue from the start and was very knowledgeable on the situation. 
  • DX Engineering took the time to see if one of their bags would work but would not. 
  • They did not stop there I was then told by Maria to get the bag fixed and send them the bill. Again DX Engineering took ownership and went out of their way to solve the issue.  
    3.  I went out that day and contacted DX Engineering with the cost and was told not a problem to
         scan the bill and email it to them and I would then be re-inbursed for the cost. 
  • 10 out of 10 to DX Engineering for the way they handled the issue! Thanks very much Maria for your personal attention and professionalism .
This is where Chameleon Antenna dropped the ball!
First off let me post the email Chameleon sent DX Engineering regarding the issue I was having with the carry bag:

 We realized about a month ago that the last batch of bags that we ordered last year have more or less all the same issue which is if they press fit too much things into the bag then the zipper might fail. They seem to have all the same issue. Those zippers aren’t the best! But if they use the flap over with Velcro without the zipper everything will be fine. So sending a replacement won’t change anything as it already happened to few other people already and we can’t do anything about it. To be honest, It would be better for him to get a local zipper replacement for about $5 or $10.
As you close the bag the zipper opens up

  1. Chameleon only admits to having an issue with their bag to the customer and supplier when the defect has been mentioned.
  • This is poor support for the distributors who sells this product under there name and reputation. 
  • Knowing there is an issue with the bag and still sending it out promotes poor customer trust.  
  • I also emailed Chameleon regarding the issue and I received the exact email that DX Engineering received. Seems like it's a cut and paste answer to all who email about this issue.

    2. Chameleon's email states "If they (the customer) press fit too much things in the bag then the  
        zipper might fail"
  • You never win when you blame the customer. 
  • The only items I planned on fitting into the bag were the antenna items that the bag was meant to carry.  
  • My zipper "failed" while opening it with nothing in the bag for the first time. 
    3. I am asked to repair a bag that is expected to work but does not. The cost is 20.00 Canadian to 
        replace all 3 defective zippers on the bag. (main compartment and 2 side pockets that failed.)
  • Don't ask the customer to fix your bad and to foot the bill. 
  • Chameleon should bite the bullet and order bags that work, not sell the bag or inform the customer on their website of the known issue. Informing there dealers won't not hurt either.
Some may think this is only a small issue but to me it is the lack of customer and dealer support. Also the lack of taking proper responsibility for the issue. Having said the above about the carry bag I do want to say the Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna is a quality product and I tend to give it the glowing review it deserves in a later post. 
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

13 Responses to “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!”

  • Joshua | DC7IA:

    Interesting. 🙂

    You used ‘there’ instead of ‘their’. Correcting it would nake reading easier. 🙂

    vy 73 Joshua | DC7IA

  • Joshua | DC7IA:

    Interesting. 🙂

    You used ‘there’ instead of ‘their’. Correcting it would make reading easier. 🙂

    vy 73 Joshua | DC7IA

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Joshua, good catch and I even proof read it! I guess I saw what I wanted to see and not what was there.
    73,
    Mike

  • Rob VE6RLH:

    Great post Mike! I have to agree with you that great customer service tends not to get the credit due. People are very quick to trash all over something they don’t like or when they feel someone has not met their expectations. I commend you for giving credit where credit is due. As for the vendor, I agree that they dropped the ball and it is little things like that which will take a business down!

    73,

    Rob

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I have dealt with DX a number of times. I have found them to have outstanding customer support. Whenever I am looking for a ham related item, the are number one on my list to check first. Last year I needed to change coax. I had a few questions between types. Less then 24 hrs later I had a email back and name to call for any further questions.

    When it comes to radio Elecraft is second to none. PERIOD. I was working on a friends K2. I had little knowledge of the product at the time. After 2 emails, I was asked for me phone number. Wayne personally called me and walked me though the procedure…for a radio I did not buy from Elecraft…that I was working on for someone else… Co-founder call blew me away.. Noe I have two k3’s, KX2, P3, KPA500, KAT500 XG3 …. Needless to say the phone call might have had something to do with my setup 🙂 DX engineering is on my good guy list. Thanks for sharing…

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Rob and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the blog, it’s very easy to just dump on someone. As for me if I am lets say out to eat and things just do not go right I for sure email about it…..BUT….not to slam them but to inform them. I alway get a call or an email offering me gift cards but I turn them down as that’s not my reason for informing them.
    73
    Mike

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Top of the evening to you Harry, I too am a fan of Elecraft and have always had great service from them. Out this way it’s a K3, P3, KX3 and had a K2 (x2) and many of their smaller kits. As for DX Engineering they are also at the very top of my list.
    Have a great weekend Harry.
    73
    Mike

  • Robert VA3AOD:

    Interesting contrast Mike between good and bad customer service.

    Unless you are rich and in a big hurry, USPS is a cheaper way to
    have a product mailed from the US. Canada Post does not charge a
    brokerage fee.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Robert, I have dealt with some ham dealers that do not offer USPS because of issues in the past and FedEx, USP or Canpar is all they offer. But Robert you are very much right and when ever offered I use the post office.
    73,
    Mike

  • jeff WW6L:

    good post. objective, and good detail. thanks.

  • Phil K7TTI:

    I had a problem with an antenna I purchased at DXEngineering. It was a missing connector and bracket. I got the replacement in two days from DXEngineering.

    The entire process was handled on a personal, friendly and professional fashion.

    They do a great job

    Phil

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Jeff, thanks very much for the nice comments and I wanted to make sure it was a balanced post.
    73,
    Mike

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Nice to hear from you Phil, this is the common thread I have been getting regarding DX Engineering. It sure does say a lot with the attention to detail they show.
    Have a great weekend Phil
    73,
    Mike

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