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closedcircuit

Broken promises

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I'm experiencing some serious customer service issues and I'm trying to ascertain if I'm being unlucky or if it is a sign of things to come. The email enclosed below is self-explanatory and I would appreciate any comment or advice that people may have...

It's probably worth mentioning that my UM2 was ordered back in December and that I have given Simone several chances to get things right.

 

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Phil Lenz <xxx>

Date: 17 March 2014 17:54

Subject: You did promise... Order #R024360351

To: Sander van Geelen <@ultimaker.com'>support@ultimaker.com>

 

Simone,

I was sent an email by Sander that my printer would be sent two weeks ago. It wasn't.

I was told by one of your colleagues that my printer would be sent last Tuesday. It wasn't.

You, Simone, promised me that my printer would be sent last Wednesday. It wasn't.

Last Friday, you told me how sorry you were and that my printer would be sent on that day. You promised to send an email to confirm that it was done. The printer wasn't sent and you didn't bother to send me the promised email.

Today, you told me once again that you were really, really sorry. You told me again that the printer would be sent today. You promised again that you would personally ensure that everything would be alright and that you would send me an email to confirm that the printer had been sent (or otherwise).

It's now 17:45 and your office is closed. I had no email from you and no email to tell me whether the printer has been sent or not.

What the hell is going on? I have been nothing but nice and polite and I can't believe that I'm being taken for a ride like this. Don't you guys have any respect for your customers whatsoever?

If it hasn't been sent out already, I expect the printer to be shipped out first thing tomorrow morning. Please advise.

Rgds

Phil

 

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Hi Phil !! :smile:

Really sorry to hear about your experiences.

I know that ultimaker has been simply swamped with orders and emails as there populairty and name is kinda.. exploding at the moment.

I also know that they are at the moment in the process of getting more people on computers and sorting out the backlog of customer emails and questions.

I also know that the existing staff are under monster pressure trying to handle things.. thats why the need to expand.

So .. yes it is unacceptable to be ignored and pushed around like this.. you are a customer and the customer is... KING !!!

But you are dealing with a very unique company that does consider their customers to be very special people !! belive me.. iv had the good fortune of meeting many many many of them and they thank there lucky starrs every day.. that they supported and bought into ultimaker.

Ill try and help you as much as I can and send a direct message to Ultimaker to get your stuff sorted... If I can help.. I will !! :-)

and then you have to promise me... when you get your printer.. you have to show us off some of your cool creations on the forum !! :-)

Have a good night and ill get working for you now.....

Ian :-)

 

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Hello Closed Circuit,

By the time you should ever require spare parts for your machine, then you learn the excellent efforts of Ultimaker to know them exactly. Then you know that it was the right decision to buy an Ultimaker.

I have already received two times fast and excellent help. The long wait >8 weeks on the machine is quickly forgotten.

Markus

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So .. yes it is unacceptable to be ignored and pushed around like this.. you are a customer and the customer is... KING !!!

Yes. It is unacceptable. And I had a pretty big fight with one of the people from sales&support last week. About a related problem.

So I want to thank you Phil. As your post backs up my point.

Now, a lot of machines where delayed due to the lack of heated-bed cables. Which where promised to us 2.5 week ago by our supplier, but only got delivered last Friday. So they have been installing the cables on almost finished machines, testing them, and sending them out ASAP.

Now, when they ship, you should get a tracking number. So I do not think it's shipped yet. But I cannot be sure (I do not have access to those systems in the company)

(David, R&D, Ultimaker. The software guy)

 

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I know that ultimaker has been simply swamped with orders and emails as there populairty and name is kinda.. exploding at the moment.

I also know that they are at the moment in the process of getting more people on computers and sorting out the backlog of customer emails and questions.

I also know that the existing staff are under monster pressure trying to handle things.. thats why the need to expand.

I have worked in a couple of growth companies myself... You have to see the difference between the growth pains and pains caused by company culture. After I had my share of lack of communications, I started checking old posts on these forums. You'll find discussions like this from 2012:

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/1493-have-i-made-a-huge-mistake/

...which makes me wonder whether only growth pains are to blame - or is there something more chronic behind it. Many promising companies with wonderful products have failed when they have repeatedly been optimistic about their capability to deliver and to secure customer satisfaction. When customer satisfaction gets compromised, the team starts burning out - which is a very stressful process for the organization.

What worries me is - in small(ish) companies the top management needs to literally lead their team from the front, not from the backseat. Regarding securing customer satisfaction, I see little of this happening on these forums - or maybe as a newbie I'm just missing something.

 

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I feel I might be in the same boat but we'll see.

A few points / suggestions for UM to improve the situation-

1) Don't charge until the order is shipped. This is the only company I've ever dealt with that charges as soon as the order is place and there isn't stock available for immediate shipment (that isn't a preorder). I would be a lot less demanding if you didn't already have my $1500

2) If you tell someone a date, make absolutely sure you can and do ship on that date.

3) Fix your damn ordering system so that Shipment: Ready is NOT displayed until the order is being packed implying that it is shipping that day or the next.

 

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On the growing pains. We went from 12 people 1.5 year ago, to 53 full time people right now. It's very hard to keep up with the growth.

With such explosive growth we have internal communication issues. Oddly enough, mostly from sales&marketing (who you know, should deal in communication)

But, that's no excuse to handle communications and customers like this IMHO.

@anon4321

1) We sell and ship world wide. You do not want to know how many orders we have in the system that come from people that promise to pay but never do. And just about any webshop that I know of takes money first and sends products later.

2) Yes. Or at least, tell people if you will not make the date. For the cables, it was out of our hands that we did not make that initial ship date 2.5 week ago. But if we communicate that there are some minor issues with getting the parts the customer at least knows what the hell is going on.

3) In all honesty, there are bigger problems then a simple name. It's "ready for shipment", at which point the logistics people know they can ship it. However, on the back-end side of the shop there are much more pressing issues that need to be fixed.

 

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It's very true that the communication about the status of the delivery is very annoying. I was very happy to receive an email from Sanders (I think) a couple of weeks ago that detailed the lead time.

Following that mail my printer was supposed to be delivered the week of 7 march but i read on the forum that they had some more delays... So I waited a week more, then i sent a message on twitter because it seems that people respond fast on it (i never tried pm or emails). I got an answer 3 hours after (which is good) telling me that my printer would be send start of this week.

Since then no news...

When I ordered the printer the lead time was about 8 to 10 weeks (ordered 10th of January) so i didn't expect to receive it before mid march - end of march. But the news i got made me happy at the moment then they piss me off because what is said is not done. So of course i understand the pressure and the orders piling up which is good news because it means that the community is growing, but don't tell a date when you cannot fulfill the request, or give yourself some more time when estimating.

It's frustrating to wait but when you are prepared for it, it's less annoying.

 

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Hi Guys & Phil,

I am sorry to read about the frustration you are experiencing and that you are not alone.

First I would like to say we, as Sales&Marketing and myself as Community Manager are fully aware about

the importance of open and frequent communication. Just as I recently posted in another thread I share the same goal as most of you on these forums. Which is sharing information.

We want to give you the information you need, but it turns out to be rather difficult getting the ríght information.

We learned this the hard way, because just as Phil experienced, we have not always been able to keep our promise.

In Phil's case I want to add, that I have just checked his order and it should actually have been send out yesterday.

I will double check if this was the case, and if not I will make sure it will be dispatched today. Hopefully that is some comforting news after a troublesome road. The tracking will be send to you by mail.

I am also happy to say, as it may be a bit late for some, that we are sorting our things out and learning from our mistakes. We know what we want to achieve, and we are getting there. This is not something that happens overnight but every day we are focussing on helping each other and giving each customer a positive experience.

The lead time is not something I can change that fast, but I can contribute in keeping people up to date about the progress during this time.

Just as always, if anyone needs a specific update about their order please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help. Just as the rest of my team.

Thank you for your time and have a great day!

 

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Thank you all for your replies and helpful comments. This is really appreciated and I like the fact that the community is obviously very, very active. In addition, hearing back from people who work at Ultimaker was great.

Before going any further, I want to stress that I was very happy to see that my grumpy post made it through the moderator. The fact that Ultimaker allows less than glorious comments on its forum shows a lot of maturity and a willingness to improve. This is very reassuring. Thank you and well done.

By way of an update, and following on from my post, Simone emailed me late last night to say that she would contact her colleagues from logistics “first thing” in the morning. She hasn’t yet come back to me, but I’m sure that she is about to do so as the morning ended a little over four hours ago.

I’ll post an update once I hear back from her and/or if I receive a tracking number.

P.S. – Sander: I wouldn’t mind a call from you if you can find 2min in your very busy diary…

 

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Daid, one clarification - UM should not charge until the order is ready to ship. No one I've ever did business with shipped before being paid. However, unless it was a pre-order, no one I've ever don business with charges when the order is placed when there is a significant lead time involved.

 

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Daid, one clarification - UM should not charge until the order is ready to ship. No one I've ever did business with shipped before being paid. However, unless it was a pre-order, no one I've ever don business with charges when the order is placed when there is a significant lead time involved.

 

That would mean we have to have printers, sitting in a box, waiting. Then notify that people can pay, and after they pay (which we've seen take weeks sometimes) we can ship them. So we would have a warehouse full of printers waiting for payments?

We would much rather not have this added complexity. It's complex enough as it is already. You pay, you get added to the queue. That's how it works right now.

We would like to have stock ready to send out, however, currently, we are not producing them fast enough for that yet. We're working on it. But until then, there is a 8 to 10 weeks delivery time. As noted when you order. Pretty much take it or leave it.

 

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I understand but that is how most e-tailers work.

Customer places order.

If products are in stock, charge customer and if successful then ship the order.

If obtaining payment is unsuccessful., notify the customer that their order will be cancelled in X days and the stock will be used for other orders.

If not in stock, notify customer of backorder and that they have not been charged.

The biggest issue in that model is ensuring that you don't carry more stock than is required. However, right now, you don't have that problem as you have more orders than product. If someone can't/doesn't pay, it's almost guaranteed that another order will consume the stock and you won't have to "float it".

Also, for credit card orders, if you preauthorize the amount, 99.9% of the time, the charge will go through when you go for payment just before shipping.

 

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I also find the "pay now, we'll ship it later" policy strange and unusual... it was suitable and acceptable for the beginnings of Ultimaker, but by now a "pay before shipping" policy should be in place.

I don't think UM will ever be facing a warehouse full of unpaid printers... the machine is too awesome, and there will be always a line around the block for any printer that becomes available earlier than expected.

amazon merchant services have a simple functionality: capture the payment when the merchant is ready to ship (via CC), so you know you have the money when the box leaves the warehouse. paypal on the other hand isn't capable of doing that, even when you send out paypal invoices, which cause more work, and are more bureaucratic. maybe it's time do make paypal a secondary payment option (where people always know its 'pay first, ship later') and find a proper payment gateway for the bulk of the orders. to handle the problem with failed payments, simply put a 3-5 day hold on the order, to give the customer a chance to clean up the financial mess and then capture the payment. after 5 days of no emails or reply from the customer, the order goes back to 'on hold' or 'canceled', and the machine gets assigned to the next order that needs one. that way you should never have too many machines sitting around doing nothing.

or get to a point in production where everything is running smoothly, and you simply ship the same or next day, like we do in our company. hopefully UM gets there this year :-)

joergen

f360.us

 

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I've been following this thread with a rising sense of unease...

A couple of questions.

What is Ultimakers policy regarding those who have received a faulty/damaged printer (like I did) and are now awaiting a replacement?

What QA measures do you have in place and who is responsible for overseeing those?

 

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Could you atleast change the Ready for a Paid in the Orders? The Ready can be really confusing when you don't know what it means in your shop. Never seen it in any other shop.

- We are looking into this :)

I've been following this thread with a rising sense of unease...

A couple of questions.

What is Ultimakers policy regarding those who have received a faulty/damaged printer (like I did) and are now awaiting a replacement?

What QA measures do you have in place and who is responsible for overseeing those?

If you have received a damaged machine I would recommend to get in touch with your reseller (or us if you bought it from us). And we can see if we can help you out with either a replacement part or replace the entire machine.

As you can read on various places on the forums people have had positive experiences with us handling these situations.

 

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By way of a final update, I'm pleased to say that I received a tracking number earlier on today.

Although the story didn’t start as I would have liked, Sander handled the situation extremely well and gave me a lot of confidence back into the Company. It was also reassuring to see that there is a real sense of community around Ultimaker – a big thank you to all that responded to my plea for information!

Ultimaker is facing some tough challenges (after all, they quadrupled their staff in the past 18 months), but I’m confident that having people of Sander and Daid’s caliber on board will allow them to successfully overcome these obstacles. I, for one, look forward to continuing to deal with them.

Phil

 

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So here is my experience:

Order the special combo UM1 kit + ult controller + doodle3D on Feb 11. Note on web site did say that these order would ship in March.

PMed Sander on 2/24 to obtain a ship date. It was read but never received a reply.

Opened a ticket on 2/27 to obtain a ship date. Simone replied that these orders would ship in March. OK, not helpful but OK.

Opened a second ticket on 3/7 to obtain a ship date. Simone said "At the end of the week, we will have more information, when your order is being shipped.".

No further information was provided.

PM'ed Sander AGAIN on 3/9 (then end of the week). Sander said "We have the intention to ship out a large batch of Originals this week. I will try and make sure yours is included"

After the week came and went, On 3/17, PMed Sander again as was told "My apologies that previous mentioned date was not managed. I will make sure your order is going to be shipped out tomorrow." At this point tomorrow was either 3/17 or 3/18 because of timezones. I gave Sander the benfit of the doubt and waited until the end of 3/18

I PMed again late or 3/18 when the order was not shipped and it is now late on 3/19....

So it has now been more than 5 weeks since ordering and we are more than halfway through March. UM already has my $1430 since 2/15.

Had I not been charged, I would be long gone...

 

 

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Hello,

I still did not receive my UM1+Controller+Doodle but it should be here on monday !

I received a tracking number on tuesday and the package is "available for clearance" as it can be seen on the following screenshot: http://cl.ly/image/3c0w2C0Z1B3c

The invoice was missing but Simone provided it to me in a few minutes after my phone call

 

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After sending two PMs to Sander, this is the reply I received:

"It was scheduled for yesterday and it was suppose to be shipped.

But the order-status has yet to be updated so I send out a request for information on your order.

I expect to get notified about your order later today and I will report back to you."

I went to check the order status and now the order information screen results in:

Ooops

Looks like

Something went wrong!

We track these errors automaticly. (sic)

Try refreshing

Contact Support if the problem persists

Refreshing reports the same error.

Ooops indeed... I'm not sure UM is in a position as a company to sell something this expensive and popular...

 

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