Interesting Business Model

Submitted: Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 15:57
ThreadID: 140413 Views:5675 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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I'm sure we've all scratched our heads at times but I can't for the life of me fathom the lack of interest in customers' needs from some Australian businesses - especially in current times. Let me elaborate.

Being "locked away" has given me plenty of time (too much) to look at upgrading camping gear etc. As part of my research I've sent emails to a few different businesses telling them I'm in the market/ready to buy, and asking not particularly complex questions about products - questions which aren't addressed on their websites and which I couldn't find answers to using google (despite extensive searching).

Here's a few examples.
(1) What are the warranty specifics on your LiFePO4 12V 100-120Ah batteries?
ZERO response
(2) What compressor do you use in your new fridge range (the brand is new to market and says " fridge provides the ultimate in cooling and is built to last utilising our 12/24 volt DC compressor").
Again ZERO response. Particularly baffling this one because they've entered a very competitive market with a mix of established players and cheap Chinese knock-offs.
(3) How much are your rear floor mats (TPE "liners")?
Sorry we don't sell them separately. From TWO different businesses selling two different products!

Yes I appreciate some businesses are operating with reduced staff and no I haven't rung yet because I'm still researching and like written rather than oral answers.

Perhaps I'm suffering the lock-down blues or maybe they get too many queries from "tyre kickers" but I'm somewhere between gobsmacked and appalled at such apathy and lack of interest in a potential customer. Little wonder people look overseas for a bargain.

Should say this hasn't been my experience in the past so maybe it is all Covid-19 related?
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Reply By: RMD - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 16:39

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 16:39
Not unusual at all! Most don't want to provide warranty details because they don't want you to know, whatever it is, it will be hard to get warranty anyway until you prove every conceivable aspect was competently carries out by you. Hard to do for most people.
Sellers of fridges are sales people, why would they know about compressors? they only have to sprout the company line about "bestest" and coolest and superior cooling performance. Please don't ask them about insulation abilities of the unit will you. Is the compressor in the fridge 12v or 24v, or made with a circuit to deliver the appropriate 12v either input. Ohms law says something which designed to run on 12v will usually burn up on direct 24v. Sales talk is not always the way it really is. They haven't seen inside any fridge! Maybe it has two inputs and two run windings and more wires than need be.
I don't even know what a TPE liner is! please explain? Most people don't buy rear mats without fronts as well. Sold as sets?

I used to ask questions when I visited motor houses and 4wd stores. In nearly all cases the counter jumpers eyes glazed over and they had no background knowledge with almost everything. Useless asking tech questions. A product of the way schools now deliver the curriculum with politics instead of skills. Years ago, Tech schools used to provide an insight into the real world which students built on when they got a job. Now they have no basics at all. It isn't apathy as such in many cases, it is a person who has been disempowered, not developed in mind, and wasn't taught the relativity of anything. I taught apprentices for a while and most are unsuited to the motor trade, hopeless. Some very good, but they came from a good basics background. Clear as day, that situation.
AnswerID: 633093

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 17:05

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 17:05
RMD - TPE is the "indestructable plastic" used for most of the new high-lipped floor liners these days. Eg sandgrabba etc. I bought front liners a while back from a Melb manufacturer who said they were developing rears for my Prado (which has electric seats), but months later they said no go. Looked to me like the non-electric rear seat liner would work but they said no. Hence I'm now looking for similar - or not too different - rears.

Understand what you're saying but there was nothing really technical about my questions. In any case common courtesy would be to reply and say we don't know but will find out or we're busy but we'll get back to you.

The fridge company has definitely lost me; the Li battery maker I might give one more chance; the floor liner sellers can take a hike, they won't get my money.

FollowupID: 910015

Reply By: Mark C9 - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:10

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:10
i suppose that you could try calling them and get them to email the details
AnswerID: 633094

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:37

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:37
Yep might eventually have no choice Mark but I was really fishing for other people's experiences dealing with online queries etc during C19 lockdown. Can't buy the fridge or floor liners locally but I can and will talk face to face (always better in my experience) with a reseller of the Li batteries.

I'm inclined to give most businesses a fair bit of leeway wrt supply etc at te moment but wondered if this was typical (or perhaps not atypical to be more accurate) of Australian business in normal times. Fully appreciate what shop assistants have to put up with in b&m shops but find it hard to have the same empathy for online businesses and importers/manufacturers.

FollowupID: 910017

Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Saturday, Sep 19, 2020 at 20:23

Saturday, Sep 19, 2020 at 20:23
These days you need to call to ask if they got your email!
Cos mostly you don’t get any acknowledgement at all.
FollowupID: 910505

Reply By: Hoyks - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:11

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:11
Its Australian businesses in general.

Even before the whole COVID lockdown thing I had $300k in cash to build a new house. I emailed, filled out 'Contact Us' forms and called 12 different builders, kit home providers and spoke to a few builders as well as left my details with them at the Brisbane home show.

Number that called back: 4.

1st to tell us that they were a 'premium builder' and that much would get us a 1 bedroom granny flat, but thanks for the inquiry.
2nd set up a meeting, listened to what we had to say and promised to come up with a quote, but its been 5 months now...
3rd listened to what we wanted, came up with a quote that wasn't far off what we wanted and will have a house onsite before Christmas and
4th called 7 months after I sent them an email and pretty much just badmouthed everyone else.

They'll be crying to the government that the home building industry is going to hell and they need another cash injection.

AnswerID: 633095

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:47

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:47
You've picked a particularly poor industry as an example imo Hoyks. Relo was a builder, now does renos, and he has a very low opinion of many builders and tradesmen. The home building industry is far too mollycoddled in this country imo, but that's another topic again.
FollowupID: 910018

Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:58

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 18:58
Bazooka, Hoyks is SPOT ON with builders and tradesmen in general. Good tradies are a rare breed. All came through the education/indoctrination I spoke of above, it is a nation wide catastrophe.
FollowupID: 910019

Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 06:29

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 06:29
I cant speak for domestic builders but as a commercial/industrial builder, we are basically in a customer service industry these days. All our people are house broken, neat, and well mannered. Emails never go unanswered. I can guarantee work is hard enough to come by that if we treated potential professional clients with disdain we wouldn’t last 2 minutes.
I left domestic building years ago. Aggressive consumerism and contractors willing to drop their pants for them has ruined it. Recently we have gone back that way for commercial clients needing domestic projects done but couldn’t be stuffed dealing with what has been outlined above.
FollowupID: 910022

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 22:45

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 22:45
Most businesses that sell a physical product and have a store front are better setup to deal with face to face queries and phone calls.

In those businesses, email queries are not high priority.
Michelle Martin
Marketing & Customer Support
I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 633100

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 23:09

Monday, Aug 24, 2020 at 23:09
I agree Michelle. In retail business it has long been said that the most important thing is to get a customer through the door. Getting them on the phone is a near call. But so often, email enquiry may be considered as someone anonymously looking for free advice or shopping for competitive pricing. The retailer may consider this as time wasting. Rightly or wrongly that's just the way it is.
Even if your enquiry is legitimate, you may suffer from those who have gone before. Of course, if this behaviour offends then you have the option of crossing that retailer off your preferred list.

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FollowupID: 910021

Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:16

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:16
I have to say that when ExplorOz ran an online shop there was exemplary service from Michelle and particularly Adele. I had a few emails promptly responded to, and as a result bought a number of items from that shop.

FollowupID: 910023

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:40

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:40
More and more business is being done on line. Retail stores are dwindling. Fact not fiction. If a business puts a low priority on e-mails then they are being foolish. Do these same business,s also not take phone call inquiries as important?

It would be bloody stupid to ignore potential customers...especially if someone intended to spent mucho pesos!!!
FollowupID: 910024

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 09:07

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 09:07
Yes Banjo & Bigfish. Totally agree with that. Because of their fundamental morals or their smarts, some people run a good business. Others simply have no idea of how to treat prospective customers. Some customers behave rather badly and that dealer then treats the whole public as being an irritation. Foolish of course, but they think negatively.
People like Michelle, David and Adele are simply good people with smarts. It is more helpful if such are publicly praised, more-so than decrying the poor performers. It is not easy to run a good business.


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FollowupID: 910025

Reply By: rapid80 - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 07:09

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 07:09
Hi Bazooka
I'm also dumbfounded by the lack of interest many companies have and aren't surprised so many small businesses go under.
1 recent example for me was a ute canopy. I used the website's contact page and never heard back. I then met the owner at a 4wd show and mentioned I didn't hear back and he took down my details. 6 months later still no reply. That's around $25k they are missing out on.
In regards to warranty I remember an LED light I bought from Vision X and after 6 months it started playing up. They advertised a Lifetime Warranty. Old mate's reply to me was that was the light's lifetime and wouldn't replace it. I'd bought 10 lights on behalf of a company. For the new utes I kitted out this time I used Stedi, didn't even look at what Vision X had to offer.
Many retail shops aren't much better. Go overseas and you soon realise how bad Aussie customer service is.
AnswerID: 633101

Reply By: Banjo (WA) - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:19

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 08:19
Are overseas companies any better at responding to emails?
AnswerID: 633102

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 13:59

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 at 13:59
Yep, much better
FollowupID: 910027

Reply By: James S16 - Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 22:10

Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 22:10
There is nothing critical. Now there is a crisis and quarantine. We need to find solutions somehow. Switch to remote methods. Here is an example - schools with distance learning. they are a niche for themselves eLearning Solutions. Perhaps there is something similar in your area?
AnswerID: 633427

Reply By: Michael H9 - Friday, Sep 18, 2020 at 06:38

Friday, Sep 18, 2020 at 06:38
I'm very wary of replying to unsolicited emails in my business. You reply to one and then get a barrage of spam for a month. There's a hell of a lot of non-genuine enquiries and the real enquiries get lost in the crowd. You also get very tired of taking the time to answer a million questions for no result when margins online are extremely thin. Online gear sells purely on price once the buyer knows the information about the product. They'll use the answer you provided to buy the same product cheaper elsewhere. The same thing happens in store. People try on some shoes, get the sales person's advice, look at the correct size and model information, then walk out and buy it cheap online.
It doesn't take long to get jaded by the whole process to the point where you regard anyone wanting too much information as a potential pain in the arse. Slim profit margins make the effort not worth while when there are sales happening anyway.
AnswerID: 633430

Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Saturday, Sep 19, 2020 at 20:35

Saturday, Sep 19, 2020 at 20:35
Some of these websites have a “contact us” via email but don’t reply. So as previous posters said they haven’t got the “smarts” to reply.
So you go somewhere else. Their loss.
FollowupID: 910507

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