View Full Version : Re: Aftermarket Parts Sales Support....
well i just want to vent a bit....
i have found thru the years that the aftermarket parts stores (that sell performance parts)...mostly suck in regards to service and sales support...
1=they don't follow up
2=have a bad attitude
3=not very professional
4=late on deliveries, and don't care
5=don't do research and just guess
i come from a sales background, and when i see the service that (I) we give..it makes me sick to go to these "performance shops" and get the crappy service that they dish out..i am not sure if this is due to them having to serve consumers, or if they are just untrained..or maybe they just don't care...
anyone else feel this way? or am i just alone..it has gotten to the point where i am bringing in most of the parts myself from the usa...and just doing the research and giving them the part number and my credit card number and having it shipped to me...
05-06-2002, 10:54 AM
I have faced similiar problems with Cdn vendors. I am a Canadian first and foremost but am embarassed what many Cdn vendors supply as "customer service".
I have resorted to sourcing most of my racing equipment for my various efforts from US side suppliers. I would guess that more then 80% of equipment I have purchased has been through this route.
Even with the exchange rates, duty (sometimes), customs clearance, shipping and the regular GST-PST I can get parts cheaper and usually faster then relying on Cdn suppliers.
I don't wish to tarnish the reputation of sponsors of solo. I have had dealings with several of them and there service and support has been exceptional.
One example is my radiator story. I have shopped for a quality rad for my 1992 Integra for a couple of years. I attended the 2 major hotrod shows this spring to finally nail down a supplier. I spoke to a few vendors and picked one out in London, Ontario. Actually made an appontment and carried down my current rad as a sample. We spoke for a couple of hours about this and that and I left with the impression I would have what I needed in a couple of weeks.
Several days passed without the call back I was suppose to receive with a price. I finally called after a full week had passed to be told - No he hadn't found a suitable core but would intensify his efforts. I called a few days later and then a week later with no good result. Finally a few days later he called to say he found a core and my rad would be ready in 5, yes, five weeks. The price was to be 895.00 Canadian (plus taxes or 1029.25 plus either shipping or a trip back to London). I took a deep breath and told him I would call back.
I did some research on the web. Found a vendor in the US of A with what I needed for 319.00 US. I have found that landed cost is approx doouble what the quote is in US bucks. So I ordered up a rad, a fan and a mounting kit. Cost approx 700.00 Cdn (taxes in) and I had it in my hot little hands in 8 calendar days.
Now that's service.
05-06-2002, 03:28 PM
I think the biggest reason for bad service is simply because they can get away with it. There are so few distributors and retailers in Canada that the people in the shops know they are the only place for you to get those certain items. Therefore, they can overcharge and be lazy and not try to give proper service or sales support because people will buy from them simply because they are the best of a limited set of options.
Shipping from the US, Europe, or Japan is not often cheaper than finding the same parts at a local importer/distributor/retailer .. that's the main problem for any of us wanting to buy parts yet not wanting to reward poor service.
I can't think of a solution for this other than word of mouth and voicing your disappointment and searching out either different parts or sources .. until the poor-service shops lose enough business that they try to be nicer to the people spending money at their shop.
05-07-2002, 11:56 AM
I'll chime in a bit on this one.
Having operated (and still operating) a retail (although virtual) auto parts business, let me tell you that those companies who don't supply customer service simply won't be here in the long run.
The market is "very" competitive with most consumers looking simply for the best price. Note that I say "most". Some of us (as consumers) that have been around cars for a while actually seek out businesses that will supply good customer service and will stick with them if pricing is in line, not necessarily cheapest, but reasonably market-priced. Only a few retailers understand that great customer service will keep customers coming in time after time. Most suppliers are more concerned about what they can sell you today. There are many, many shops out there and that makes it very difficult for a retailer to get an edge or a hook to get customers into the store. The edge they simply forget about is: quality customer service.
The quick solution: Don't go back.
As a consumer, I will drive further and pay more just to get the service I expect. I don't expect them to kiss my ass but I expect a real concern for my needs and an appreciation for the business I am giving them.
05-07-2002, 12:22 PM
I WAS DOWN IN BUFFALO LAST WEEKEND FOR A SHOPPING AND PARTY EXCURSION. I LOCATED A STORE, K + S AUTO PARTS 811 NIAGARA STREET TONAWANDA NEW YORK. LOTS OF PARTS, GREAT FOLKS, MORE THAN HELPFUL AND EXTREMELY WELL PRICED.
E.G. A FIVE POINT SFI APPROVED 3" HARNESS BY RCI INC FOR $69.00 U.S DOLLARS. THE BEST PRICE I COULD GET ON THE INTERNET WAS $85.00. CHECK THESE GUYS OUT IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A GREAT STORE. ALSO CUSTOMS WAS VERY FRIENDLY. EVERYTHING WAS DECLARED AND WE WERE WAVED THROUGH.:D
WHEN COMING OVER THE BORDER AS I HAVE ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, I HAVE ALWAYS DECLARED EVERYTHING. I AM ALWAYS OVER THE $200 LIMIT. I HAVE FOUND BY DOING THAT I HAVE ONLY HAD TO PAY TAXES AND DUTY ONCE IN THE LAST DOZEN TRIPS.
GOOD LUCK, GOOD SHOPPING.:)
05-07-2002, 01:32 PM
Check out this customer service horror story. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in that shop when a customer comes in to find his Viper has been parted out.
boy..those are nasty ones....
05-07-2002, 08:35 PM
My take on the situation is this
90% of the performance shops I know deal in Rice. Rice is young. Young is attitude. Attitude is cheap.
This goes for the average person that runs such an establishment and the average person that frequents such establishment.
I would start my own business in this area (i.e. expand) but the simple fact remains that most "customers" are going to shop for the best price, in fact, after coming to "my shop" and try out my gear or pricing or whatever, they'll actually get back in their car and drive elsewhere to save $2. It's pathetic. That's right, these shops can get away with poor service because it's too competitive, and people do the research online or at another store and just buy from whomever has the best price.
Now a garage, that installs, that's a different story all together. But when it comes to parts, cheapest wins (in the import market anyhow).
Course then there are the guys like Raven/Bavarian who are pretty niche and cater to people with a little less youth, a little more practicality and often a bit more scratch. So customer service is a pretty big issue, course they also have a shop that does the installs. I think if you want to have parts, you need to install too.
The place I use has been good to me, but I know they haven't been good to everyone. I think the kind of customer that frequents the shop has resulted in a selective or profiled attitude and until you actually pony up and buy something, they figure you for a price shopper and would rather you disappear than waste their time. It's unfortunate but I can respect that. They're not hurting for business, so they can't be doing too bad.
For the most part, I'd rather just order online because I find the saleman knows less about my application than I do, so what do I need him for? Though I must say I wouldn't be in this situation if I actually felt I could trust sales people and I was given good service over the years. But that is not the case, the service sucks, so I decide what I want outside the store, then find it at a resonable price and go buy it. No need to say anymore than "Debit", "Thanks, Bye".
I think the sales and service industry in Canada needs to take a HUUUUUUUGE 180 real quick or it could get really ugly.
I've yet to have a poor experience with a US retailer online, or when I lived there or when I visit there. (Well there was this one laserdisc rental place.. but that's another story).
As for price shopping, unless I'm saving > $100, I'll buy local. Besides the fact that it keeps the money here it's just not worth the potential hazard and delay. I'm one of those guys who wants it today, even though I won't use it for another 2 months. I'll take in stock at a higher price than wait.
05-09-2002, 09:49 AM
I think the parts distributors bastardized the market. They set up so many dealers that everybody and their mom can now sell you Koni shocks, urathane bushing and the like.
Had they qualified their dealers and set them up geographically there would be much less of this price shopping and poor customer service.
I'm all for competiton in the marketplace but when every riceboy in the GTA has a line on parts it gets way out of hand.
05-09-2002, 10:20 AM
Anyone ever go to BC Auto?
This has got to be the absolute worst place for customer service. Go in an you get treated like dirt, quoted prices that are made up on the spot, and generally ignored. If you are spoken to, good luck trying to hold a conversation because the staff can barely speak any English. Product knowledge? Non existant.
I have heard dozens and dozens of horror stories about this place and yet they have been around for 5+ years and are doing rather well. I don't understand it. One would think that this level of crappy service would be rewarded with an eventual store closure but this is not the case.
Instead, horrible service has become the accepted norm. Everyone does it so it must be the way it is.
05-09-2002, 10:37 AM
You're absolutely correct about BC Auto.
If you're not from the other side of the world, you get no service at all. Was in there for about 20 min one day, and no one around to help. 3 asian kids walk in and Bell Chan (owner) walks out from his office, walks right past me without a word and greets them. Pitiful. I walked out. Decided I could do much better on my own.
In my own home town of Sudbury, a parts place regularly charges 150% of the regular retail price of parts. When customers scoff at the price, he tells them to drive to Toronto and buy their parts there if they're not happy. Oddly enough, he's still in business too.
Don't know how, but these businesses defy the norm. They should have been out of business a while ago, but they have their hook whether its the only game in town, or that they have a certain "clientele" they only look after.
Their time will come.
05-10-2002, 10:22 AM
After reading these comments I feel I should make a counterpoint.
All the parts for my car are aftermarket as Triumph went out of business in 1982, but all except one supplier I have dealt with in the past 10 years has been polite and helpful, and parts are not that expensive.
Everything is available for my car, I replaced a cracked cylinder head this week for $100 used, but could have got a brand new casting complete with all valve gear, delivery 2 days, for $1795 US. I did get the wrong camshaft from England once because a part number was misprinted in a catalogue, but my local supplier got the correct one shipped Fedex in 5 days..... Not only that, but he is interested enough in his customers that he sponsors two of us with parts at cost and gave me a free leather jacket!
There are some great suppliers - lets give them our business and treat them fairly by not trying to return used parts as new etc. and the bad apples will gradually disappear. Good Luck!
05-11-2002, 05:00 PM
I had to add my 2 cents here....
Approximately 6 weeks ago I bought Eibach springs from Northern Motorsports. The next week, after doing nothing more than taking the box of springs home, I found a better deal on better suspension. I went back to Northern to attempt a refund.
The policy there is apparently, "We have your money, so blow me" because it took them 3 days to even agree to a credit for the $470.
4 weeks later, I have spent over $20 in long distance just TRYING to reach Pete mills, who has never returned a single one of my over 20 phone calls trying to get a credit to put towards equipment I DO NOT NEED, but now HAVE to buy.....
I still have the springs, they have my money, and I have no use for the springs. They advised me to try and sell them!!!!
Now, I apologise to those who may be offended by slagging one of our sponsors, but here it is:
NORTHERN MOTORSPORTS HAS SCREWED ME ROYALLY
If you continue to buy there, beware. They don't care about you. They just want your money, so they can go buy more 20" rims for their Civics....
I have to add that I'm extremely disappointed in Pete. As a racer and fellow soloist, I expected better from him.
I'm looking at selling my Camaro and coming back in a couple years with an open wheel car (thanks Preet, for the fix more addictive than Heroine), and that means more money to spend.
I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER ITEM FROM NORTHERN
So, there's my story.....
If you're bothered about my public lashing of a sponsor, I don't apologise. But I will gladly sell you some Eibach springs, still in the box.....
05-15-2002, 02:06 PM
Well, I have to admit that this is a disappointment. I want to preface all that I say here by saying that I work for a company, and I do not get to make all of the rules. I have to live with a set of rules that are created by my employer.
I also HATE having this kind of discussion out here in this world. Jeff and I talked yesterday, and I was unaware of his level of dislike of our business practices. I would appreciate that this does not turn into a pissing match, so if Jeff has some further concerns, he can contact me via email - email@example.com, or via 416-777-2599, then ext 226.
That said, I actually have a little problem with the fact that Jeff is not overly happy with the service. Yes, I am a busy person, and it can be a challenge to get hold of me to talk. The reason is that I work in a busy retail store. Jeff purchased a set of springs from Northern Motorsport. He did not originally talk to me, nor did he buy them from me personally. I did start to have conversations with him once he wanted to return his springs. The reason that he did, is that he found a used setup way cheaper. I am happy for him, but firstly, that is not my problem. I said I would do what I could do. This was 2 days after he asked someone else at the store if he could return them.
Secondly, I offered to do a return, and then a store credit. It is the best that I have to offfer, based upon our store's policy. Again, it is not my dollar at stake here, so I have to apologize. But, his request to just get a refund might be a little extreme. I don't know of too many stores that would allow it. Would he prefer a re-stocking charge?
As a further note, I work with no-one that owns a Civic besides one person who happens to have the original 14" wheels and tires on, and we don't see too many 20", besides the truck packages that we sell.
I would like to apologize to the list as I don't really post too much here, and have had to get to into a dispute on here. If Jeff would like to have any further discussions, I would still be willing to discuss things. Since this option is not to his satisfaction, he will need to talk to my boss.
Have a good day all, and please think about stuff before things get out of proportion.
05-15-2002, 03:28 PM
I will keep my reply as short as possible, as I also prefer we don't turn this into a pissing match.
I have spoken with Pete regarding this problem, and for the benefit of all competitors, feel that this post is necessary.
My issue was not ever, nor is it now, with Pete.
I was disappointed that I could not return my springs for a refund. Having worked in marketing and retail management, I have always had a dislike for stores which only offer in-store credits. As Pete stated, this is his stores' policy, not his. We were attempting to work with this credit. The problem came from a lack of communications. Pete has been unaware that I have been calling the store as many as 5 times a day for 3 weeks, and it appears all messages I left have not reached him. My problem with Northern has been primarily based on bad communication, on their part. I hope for their sake they fix this problem
Pete is working to resolve the matter with me in the form of the in store credit. This is not ideal, but I am fully aware that Pete is working within his means, and appreciate his efforts.
I will not add any more to this, as it appears Pete has received incorrect information regarding MY actions while dealing with the store, and it is irrelevant.
As for the Civic comment, it was uncalled for. I like talking about them less than I like looking at them... 'nuf said.
So, my apologies to Pete if he took it personal. It's business, and we are attempting to clear up the issues. As mentioned, Pete is attempting to resolve this matter, and I appreciate that.
well i was not complaining about that kind of stuff..as far as i am concerned...
1=unless the product is defective..you buy it you own it(as long as it was the correct part that was needed for your applicatiion)finding lower prices after the fact i would have to agree with northern motorsports policy...store credit would be a bonus if they offer it..ps. pete mills is a stand up guy
i was complaining about poor service...
I must confess that I brought this post to Pete's attention, because I too think that Pete is a good guy to deal with, so I thought it only fair to get both sides of the story, and hope that it could get worked out, which it seems it will.
I would like to say that it is nice that no-one really flew off the handle, and dealt with it as adults, not whiny little kids. I guess you pay for the company you keep... :)
And yes, I drive a Honda... :)
05-15-2002, 10:19 PM
I have a problem with Pete too.
We had the HADA meeting this evening and the waitress that was serving us inquired about Petes whereabouts.
When I can't even eat a meal without having to deal with Pete's mistresses it's gone too far.
Pete's a classic.
05-16-2002, 07:11 PM
OMG. Ok, now that was funny, and added a little levity to this.
You see, since befriending a certain HADA member, I have become a Poster Boy for dating.
(Just so ya know, you made me cry Theo. Thanks.)
05-18-2002, 12:01 PM
As as supplier of custom products to the specialty aftermarket, I need to say someting here too...Taylor is absolutely right about difficult and disloyal customers. I sell my products to Canadian and US customers alike and I must say, overall, US customers are a pleasure to deal with. Profits are better with US sales, and for the most part, they are more appreciative of a good product. Canadian customers tend to be very cheap, even when you offer something they can't get anywhere else, and they tend to be far more impatient and very mis trusting of "mail order". They will drive an hour to save $2.
The Solo group in general tends to be more sophisticated than the typical show/street customer, and needs more technical support, so the frustration with poor service is understandable. Considering that good advice can be the difference between a faster car and a huge headache, it's definitely worth a few more $$ to work with a supplier that costs more, but is able to give good support, whether they be local or otherwise.
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