Iím sorry if this comes off as being rude, but I have to stick up for Hobby CNC. What part of CUSTOMER support donít you understand? It does not say potential customer support it says customer. Forums are not free, you have to pay for the server space, and even if the web space is free (Iím not familiar with Yahoo Groups) there is still the need for someone (an employee of Hobby CNC) to read through all the posts and answer questions. Time costs money too, and if Hobby CNC were to maintain a forum for every Looky Lou who (most of which) have no intent in buying there product, they would not be able to offer a great product at a great price. As the person from Hobby CNC stated, there are plenty of other avenues for getting questions answered prior to the sale. Use your head, and donít trash on someone with out understanding the issue.
Customer service would imply service before as well as after the sale. How is someone supposed to make an informed decision if they can't get feedback to questions they have about a product. In this world of multiple options for like items the thin line that can seperate success from failure is the customer service. All things being equal with regards to 2 or 3 products the deciding factor for most people will always be support and service. Usually the monopolies out there are the most lacking in service after all who else you gonna go to. IE The DMV... Why should someone have to wade through "other avenues" to get a question answered from someone trying to sell them something. Seems like the sales people would have all the avenues marked and easily accessible to aid people in making a decision to buy their product. If you have to run around to get an answer before you buy what will you have to do after is what most people are thinking. I have heard nothing but good things about the products being sold and I do not use them myself so this is just observation and personal thought.
It appears as if this thread is a fragment of another one, however, I would like to point out a few things with regard to purchasing products for this tiny hobby CNC industry.
Some of the companies providing products are small - very small, part time businesses. Many products are being sold slightly above cost just to share what they have with fellow hobbiests. I don't know if this is the case with HObby CNC or not.
However, if a person wants "Gold card" treatment, they should be prepared to pay "Gold card" prices.
If having the absolute best customer service is a primary concern, then I would suggest looking at industrial products from:
etc. etc. etc.
Be prepared to pay a very large sum of money and frankly, be sure to lower you demands, because you won't get much better treatment from those companies either.
You make a good point; it is reasonable to expect some customer service prior to the sale. However, I still feel that the owner of Hobby CNC is entitled to maintain his forum as a tech support for paying customers. If someone has a question about if one of Hobby CNC's products would work for his or her application, then he or she should email Hobby CNC directly and ask. For general reviews and opinions, he or she should go to a neutral forum such as this and ask. I felt that the people whom the original post was intended for were rude in the way they were trash-talking this person and his company, with out even buying one of his products.
Chris D - Agreed that a lot of these small outfits are just hobby guys wanting to pass along their creations to other hobbiest at what I am sure in some cases amounts to not much profit margin. Some would say that if these individuals intended moving from part time to full time one day then customer service would be even more paramount to success over time. Perhaps its the ability to create such professional looking websites that gives people the impression they should be expecting more from the business when in fact it is just a lone individual dabbling in the market with his products having no intention of trying to make a go at it full time.
Your right as well about even if you pay for the Champagne and Caviar plan you may still get Thunderbird and Olive loaf even after you pay out big $$$. I guess the old saying still applies to most products in that "you pays your money and you takes your chances."
Pat-f - Sure everyone is entitled to run their business however they see fit. The thing I find most curious about this whole issue is the fact that yes if you have not purchased anything your not a paying customer but how many places do you go to buy something and are asked when entering what your gonna buy before they offer help. The typical phrase here is How may I help you. Not buy something then I will help you. All customers were non paying before they were paying. If someone walks into a store once they are in the door they are considered a customer worthy of helping in order to make a sale. Maybe my thoughs are misplaced in the business of online retail sales versus storefronts but I think the people who shopped storefronts all their lives and now are venturing into the online world of purchases take that same expectation of service with them onto the WWW. Would probably make an interesting paper for some college student interested in e-commerce. Anyways I hope all parties have a happy outcome.
I found no less information on HobbyCNC site than I did on Xylotex or Stepperworld websites when I was controller shopping. I went with HobbyCNC for the price and a little diy adventure. I got a great controller, and service with a fast response, and courtesy. I got a complete kit, very detailed step by step directions, and when I found I had mislaid a resistor I couldn't easily get locally, Dave mailed me two replacements free of charge. On his forum he has proven to be patient with many who were less than polite and later found their problems were caused purely by their lack of patience, and inability to follow directions.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't expect a cottage industry to be better than the big $$$ dealers. But I do expect to get what I pay for and no more. In this case I was pleasently surprised with questions quickly answered, and problems resolved with no fuss. Service with a smile....Thanks Dave for a good quality product and service! My opinion of course, but I have bought the product and experienced the service.....