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Old 10-03-2007, 17:53   #1
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I just had one of those wonderful experiences that I can't let pass without notice.

For the past couple years I've been trying to find out where the cast bronze portlights on my 1988 PSC34 were made. I have a broken dog that needs replacement and I also needed replacement gaskets as I'm in the process of replacing the safety glass.

The problem is, I hadn't been able to identify the manufacturer of the portlights. Not even the folks at Pacific Seacraft could come up with a record of who had built the units that they'd installed that year.

The other day I ran across the web site of a sailor who was rebuilding an Alberg 30. One of the photos caught my eye. He'd replaced his portlights and had posted a photo on the web page.



Those were the same as mine! On the web page, he gave the source, White Water Marine Hardware in Clearwater Florida - even including the name of who to talk with - Curtis Wallace.

I got on the phone with them. They had the gaskets. I then inquired about finding a replacement for the broken dog. I told Curtis that I'd take a photo and email it to him so he could see what I was looking for.

I hadn't had time to take the photo before the box arrived today. I opened it up expecting to see a pile of rubber gaskets. They were in there, but also, in the middle of the box, was also a cast replacement dog - on the house!

Life is about the little things, those daily touches that, although they can go unspoken, they are not unnoticed. Thanks White Water Marine. Thanks, Curtis. West Marine take notice. This is what customer service is about.
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Old 10-03-2007, 18:29   #2
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I had the same experience with Schaefer
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Old 10-03-2007, 18:46   #3
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Originally Posted by delmarrey


I had the same experience with Schaefer
Ya gotta love it when there are genuine, knowledgeable, caring people on the other end of the phone or across the counter. Those are the folks I like to do business with.
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Old 10-03-2007, 19:20   #4
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It's interesting that you DO find this kind of "help" from the marine industry. I can't imagine this happening in the computer or automotive industries, but I have also had some very "generous" and surprising customer support from several marine companies over the years... who have sent free parts and so forth.

Why are some of these marine companies so decent? And so many other industries so indifferent to customer service?

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Old 10-03-2007, 19:39   #5
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It's interesting that you DO find this kind of "help" from the marine industry. I can't imagine this happening in the computer or automotive industries, but I have also had some very "generous" and surprising customer support from several marine companies over the years... who have sent free parts and so forth.

Why are some of these marine companies so decent? And so many other industries so indifferent to customer service?

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I think you find caring customer support in all industries. Sometimes it may be harder than others, but in the end people who care about customer support and happiness are in all industries. I do think that more and more companies look at the hard bottom line and don't see the intangibles of providing good, or excellent, support. They just see a $2 widget they gave away, not the many dollars in return the goodwill generated.

I, for one, will support places that I feel appreciate my patronage. I am not saying they have to give me things for free, but I do need to feel like I am getting an honest product at an honest price and they want me as a customer, not that they just want me to hand them my wallet and bugger off.
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Old 10-03-2007, 20:08   #6
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Jef, it could be because no one gets rich in the marine industries, or at least, not RICH compared to the guys who run Enron and all.<G> Or, the folks in the marine businesses are aware that they are serving a smaller market where reputation counts, and providing exceptional care is the cheapest advertising anyone can ever buy.

Either way...thanks for mentioning them, the short list of folks who really go the extra mile can always use an extra name on it.
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:41   #7
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Or perhaps it just an issue of scale. The marine industry has companies which are much smaller. You won't find the personal level of support from Volvo as you might from Garhauer. Some of these companies are really one level up from mom and pops... while Apple, Dell or Audi area huge bureaucracies with rigid rules and layers and layers of staffing.

But this also means that the companies in the marine industry are less "reliable" and more apt to come and go, merge and so forth, be more local and have less reach for customer support.

The marine industry is very fragmented.

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Old 11-03-2007, 06:54   #8
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Jef, you mean Garhauer is even better than Volvo? Hard for me to believe that. When we told Volvo that we couldn't read the little corroded brass serial number plate on the old MD7A, they actually had Tiffany's send down a team with a new corrossion-resistant 22K gold one to replace it first thing thenext morning. The guys were on and off the boat in just a few minutes, and the new gold serial number plate--not just gold plated--was installed perfectly level. And they bead-blasted then repainted the entire engine before they started. The guys wouldn't even take a tip, they just said it was all part of the job.

And here I was, thinking that was good customer service, but you say there's better. Wow. <VBG>
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:57   #9
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Our Volvo guys fly down from Auckland just to check the oil level on our dipstick each time we start the motor. They must have some sort of indicator in the motor as we don't have to tell them when we need them. They just turn up. No charge. Just part of the great service you get being a lucky Volvo owner.
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Old 11-03-2007, 13:50   #10
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I guess in NZ they still have to fly down because of the spotty wireless coverage? I found a new little stubby antenna on the mast truck last year with a "Volvo" logo on it, and the usual basket of fresh fruits and cheeses on the nav station along with a note that they had installed the new telematics package so they could monitor this stuff without bothering us any more.

The cloudberries were a rare treat, but some of those Swedish cheeses...I dunno, I didn't want to offend them by asking what they were.
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