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Customer Service Kiosk -- Questions for LE vendors.

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  #61  
Old 2010-03-14, 1:08pm
Carols Glass Carols Glass is offline
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Default middle of the mandrel girl, too

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I don't own one of Mike's kilns because I'm a middle of the mandrel girl, however, I've gotten to use several at GlassStock and they're very good kilns, worth every penny AND worth a little patience in order to get them. Most quality kilns are built to order. Sometimes you get lucky (I did, 13 years ago), but in general having to wait is just part of the "suffering" we glass artists have to do.

I became a middle of the mandrel girl after I had purchased the Wide Guy from Mike and I have found a great way to load the beads into the kiln.

I have two 15mm boro rods placed all the way in the back of the kiln. I have the long sheet of kiln fiber blanket (or whatever it is called) right in front of the door on the outside shelf. When done with a bead I put the mandrel all the way in and the tip sits on the boro and the other end sits on top of the fiber blanket. The door doesn't meet the floor so the mandrel doesn't get bent if you place the mandrels in diagonally.

I hope I explained that correctly.

There, now you can get one of Mike's kilns
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  #62  
Old 2010-03-14, 2:03pm
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It will be worth the wait! Mike, I would wait three months for one of your kilns! Once you get it, you will not be disappointed. It's the best equipment purchase I've made.
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  #63  
Old 2010-03-14, 4:42pm
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Given that I'm in Hawaii, shipping takes a month or more. That hasn't kept me from ordering a second one (which I got in January, I think, or maybe February, ordered in Novermber, I think).

I do believe that small businesses that build large pieces of equipment one by one should be able to ask for advance payment. And, I have seen much much worse than a few weeks delay. I'm witness to a rather large build of something that sounds like it's never going to happen and was paid for. (And no, it doesn't have anything to do with lampwork or any other glass art that would be represented here).

If I'm ever going to need another kiln I'm happy to order from Mike and Pam again.
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  #64  
Old 2010-03-14, 9:14pm
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ChaseDesigns ChaseDesigns is offline
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Quote:
Once upon a time I ordered a kiln, it was a paragon kiln. I paid in full (as required) when I ordered. They told me it would be 4 weeks before it arrived at the loco cabana... It took 3 months and one week to arrive. I was impatient, but realized it was being made specially for the voices in my head...

When it arrived I was thrilled! It came complete with instructions, written by martians, to program the controller. Seeing as how I did not read nor speak martianise I was screwed. That was until a few days latter some very sweet person answered my on line call for help. Wooo Hoooooooo that paragon only sat at my studio for 3 days before I could use it!

Fast forward:

I ordered a Glass Hive kiln, I paid in full (as required) when I ordered. They told me it would be 3 to 4 weeks before it arrived at the loco cabana... I got a call about a week later saying it was done.... I told them: "If there is a current order for one like mine, send it to them! I know what it's like to wait." I did this several times, knowing that others would be thrilled with their Glass Hive kiln.

Eventually my kiln was shipped and I was, of course thrilled to receive it. Even though UPS could not read nor understand and arrow: THIS SIDE UP! Packed amazing well, sheared rivets and a controller box that was severely damaged. I received a new controller box before I had the chance to package the damaged one.

The voices in my head don't understand electronics, but somehow poor Mike and Pam can always walk me through what ever it is I want my kiln controller to do. Their customer service is uncomparable! There is NO ONE at ANY glass company that I know (and I know a LOT of glass supply company owners) that has more superior service. Some come close, but arn't quite as top notch as the glass hive.

Ohhhhh and just so you know: Mike and Pam watch LE and any time ANYONE has a kiln problem, they are almost always there. Even when it's not one of their kilns! Gladly giving free help to anyone about any kiln whenever they can.

So your bitching about your kiln not arriving and it's been less than a month? Princess get over it! When it arrives it will be well worth five times the wait!
Way back in early 2000 pretty much the only bead annealer kiln around was made by AIM. We were told three weeks, that turned into four months and we ended up driving eighty miles to pick the damn thing up because we couldn't wait any longer for them to ship it.

3 to 4 weeks sounds like a dream for a kiln.

P.s. I take custom orders and I require my customers to pay in advance as well.
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  #65  
Old 2010-03-15, 4:23pm
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I remember Mike even programmed the controller for me prior to shipping. I thought that was the awesome extra detail
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  #66  
Old 2010-03-18, 8:57pm
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I do custom orders and according to my lead time now if someone orders 4 sets of beads it's likely going to be the full 32 days before I ship them....

I have a Paragon kiln that I got 7 years ago and it's no longer being made. It was a special order line and it took 4 months to get. So 3-4 weeks is nothing! I am getting ready to to put a down payment on Mike's layaway plan, and it will very likely be 3-4 MONTHS before I get mine, and that's fine with me! Gotta be paid in FULL and then Mike does the work. That's the way it's supposed to be.

All the "glowing feedback" you speak of is very much well-deserved. Most kilns from most manufacturers are "made to order". So what's the big deal to wait 3-4 weeks, for a kiln in particular??
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  #67  
Old 2010-06-27, 3:12pm
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After reading all of this thread, I have to say, that when I am ready for a new kiln, Mike will get the order! Though there were issues, I appreciated his professionalism in his LE posts. I have worked with alot worse vendor issues then this one.
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  #68  
Old 2010-06-27, 6:21pm
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Melodie..I was thinking the very same thing as you.When my Chili Pepper bites the dust..I will order from Mike and Pam.I support any USA small businesses I can and the professional way Mike responded to the thread sold me.How to kill small businesses?Chat them down a bit behind their backs when you don't get instant results.I personally don't want anymore of our good manufacturing to die here because another company overseas sells back cut rate inferior items to us and then we whine that something doesn't work as well as the ones you know who(anyone) used to make in the USA.
I watched my Dad lose his livelyhood to the wonders of plastic back in the mid 50's.He made wooden signs and wooden toys and wham..plastic toys took over and look where that has taken us..you can't get rid of it..geesh.Anyway..my dad and mom had 7 kids to feed and he totally had change from owning his own business to being a hot tar roofer.Maybe Mike and Pam have 10 kids to feed..how do we know how important each kiln sale is to him? It could be food on the table and a roof to have over their heads.This could have been handled way differently..I agree but the silver lining is that now Mike has more potential customers than he did before this thread! Just MHO..not looking for a fight either..just had to agree with Melodie.
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  #69  
Old 2010-06-27, 6:50pm
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Originally Posted by demcc2 View Post
THANK-YOU STARR!!!!!! I had teears in my eyes from laughing so hard!
The sad part is, is that its true

Duane
PS ..but I thought DB knew EVERYTHING
Oh man, yes. Paid up front and took *months* but it has been a good kiln. I would just have appreciated upfront communication. If it ever dies on me, though, GlassHive will be my vendor of choice if I can figure out how to make middle-of-the-mandrel work. That boro rod idea sounds good; how many mandrels (roughly) fit inside?
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  #70  
Old 2010-06-27, 7:41pm
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I got a Paragon Bluebird from Clay King back in 2007 and I had it within a week and a half. That being said, the next kiln I get will be a Glass Hive. I like my Bluebird so-so, but I really like the specs of several Glass Hives better. Plus, the doors on my Bluebird keep getting stuck. And it's not deep AT ALL, which is a real p.i.a.
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  #71  
Old 2010-06-28, 1:48pm
Reenie Reenie is offline
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Edited to say.....Hope things are better on the delivery times. I didn't know this was an old thread and as usual, never checked the date.
Sigh! Sorry. I'm glad that 4 months was incorrect. I feel better now.
Back to your scheduled programming.
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Last edited by Reenie; 2010-06-28 at 2:22pm. Reason: I really need to look at the post of threads before I write.
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  #72  
Old 2010-06-28, 6:43pm
mikefrantz mikefrantz is offline
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Default And Again

This response has nothing to do with any of this thread, but I would like to address Customer Service. Please, this is not a rant!

I have seen lots of threads on C.S. I have been dealing with C.S. since 1991 and I have some observations.

1. Things are going to go wrong, I can bet on that.
2. Hopefully things do not go bad too often.
3. Where there is a problem DO NOT start with a post on LE

You see, when there is a problem, it might be the fault of the vendor, it could be the fault of the bank, it could be the fault of UPS, it could be weather, it could be a misunderstanding, it could be the customer, it could be the credit card.................there are lots of things, but I have seen customers post right on LE before contacting the vendor.

And I have seen posts on the weekend because the customer sent an email on Friday just before the end of the day and some customers think that none of us have lives...............ok, I work 7 days a week, but many vendors have a family, yard work, weddings and are not available all the time.

The question is: is the problem LIFE or DEATH? Can it wait til Monday?

I know some companies have 24/7 Customer Service, but this industry is small and at night we all turn out the lights and go home.

And always, when you speak to a Customer Service worker, or the owner of a company............STAY CALM............being mad will not help as much as being nice.

If you do not get the reply you want then ask for another person and then a sales manager, then the President/owner.

For those of you who say there is no reason to go through that many hoops............well sometime the employee does not really understand the problem, sometimes the customer does not express the correct information.

Trust me, this is the truth..............I have had employees to the point of tears, sometimes being called dumb and stupid and sometimes the phone call gets transferred to me and guess what?

Nobody calls be dumb and stupid! They can not get away with that, but my employees will take a beating for me, but I will stick up for my employees and I want to do what is right for my customer.

But sometimes we can be wrong and sometimes the customer can be wrong and sometimes it is the fault of both parties.

I think that once you have gone to everyone at the company and nothing works there are only two choices LE and 911.

I think Mike handled this well........he got on LE.
Since I did not read this entire thread, I have no comments, and again this response has nothing to do with how the Customer or the Vendor acted, this is just my thoughts on Customer Service.

Some customers have unrealistic expectations from those that they buy from. And sometimes sellers treat customers like they do not care one bit.

I think that most of the vendors should just follow the Golden Rule!!!!!

It is hard in these economic times to make a buck.

You notice that there are more sales then ever?

Do you think we have sales because we want to make less money?

We have sales because we understand that while almost every beadmaker is buying glass, tools and supplies, they are buying less.

I have been fortunate to have been in this business since around 1991 and have seen the good times and the bad times.

This is the BAD TIMES
Wish they were GOOD TIMES

Mike Frantz
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