Stick due, immenently, so I’ve been told.

Chapman stickWell, I’ve been told, both by Stick Enterprises and the european dealer (Ron Baggerman) that my stick will ship next week.

I ordered my stick 14 months ago, yes fourteen, in september 2005. originally I was told it would be delivered late May, then it changed to July, then September and finally October, it’s now November.

Now, without wishing to sound bitter, I should say, I won’t beleive it until I can touch it. I’ve been given 4 seperate dates (not even dates, roughly which month) that it’ll be delivered, and this is past the last one of those. The only time I’ve found out the date has changed is when I’ve asked Ron for an update because the due date is nearing, and he’s contacted SE to ask for an update. I don’t blame Ron for this at all, he can’t sell/supply what isn’t made and is pretty much at the mercy of Stick Enterprises. What I am dispointed at is that for such a prized instrument, costing a lot of money the feedback and communication from SE is somewhat dispointing.

Given they’re supposed to be a world class, top notch company, I find it a little incredible that the only way you find out if there’s a delay is when you ask. I would’ve thought it a matter of good business, and at least common courtesy, to inform customers when there’s a delay. All it would take a 2 sentance email saying, “it’s been delayed, because of xxx and yyy, we’ll keep you posted”.

Perhaps part of the problem is the lack of competition. I mean, if they had competition and a reputation for delays and slow delivery (which they do) then people would have a choice. People voting with their feet (read: money) is always a good motivator for improving customer support and communications.

I’m not aiming this at anyone in particular, but simply pointing out that for such a prestigious instrument costing 1000s of dollars, the level of customer communication ought to be a lot higher.

Sure, I’m annoyed the delivery date has increased from 8 to 14 months, but it’s not the main reason I’m annoyed. I’m considerably more annoyed at not being told of a delay, or why there is a delay, until I activly persue it.

Let’s hope things improve, not only for Stick Enterprises sake, but also for the customers who wait, and wait, and wait, without hearing a word

I’m still undecided if I’ll keep it, or sell it on. I’ve found a buyer already, he’s after a second stick in case his breaks or gets stolen as he doesn’t want a long wait for another. Which speaks volumes.

UPDATE: an example of good customer communication:

This will give you an idea of a company that went above what I expect for service. I bought my bass from ebay, it’s a Zoot Custom S4, about 5 years old. After playing it for a while, I noticed I had some issues with the intonation. I contacted the company that made it (ZootBass) and had a chat with the guy who made it, he remembered it because at the time it was unique in it’s use of black hardware, anyway, I digress.

The best thing to do, he said, was to send it to them for them to look it over. I duly packed it and shipped it. About 11am the following day I received a phone call saying it had arrived and they’d look at it in the next day or so.

Two days later, another call, and we chatted at length about the problem and the ways to resolve it. basically it needed a new neck making and fitting, costing a smidge over £250 and it would take 4 to 5 weeks, I agreed and work began.

About 3 weeks in, I had another phone call, the guy told me that something had gone wrong during the varnishing/finishing and that it’d be three weeks from that day.

3 weeks later, I got a phone call saying it had been shipped. It arrived the following day and was a joy to use.

Now I know the time frames aren’t the same, but it’s a good example of excellent customer service, I wasn’t expecting a call to say it had arrived, but I was pleased they did. And I was undersatnding that somethign had happened and it would take a little longer to sort.
The important thing thing here was that I was made aware of the problem, instantly, ie the same day the problem became apparant. They could’ve just have easily carried on and nor bothered to tell me, but you know what they did.

As a result of this, guess where I’ll buy my next bass from when I want one?

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