A Customer Service Tale of Two Companies (One doesn’t suck)

I’m writing a review of two companies and their products –  Concept2 Rowing and MacSpeech. One makes me wildly ecstatic and the other wildly frustrated.  One is awesome, one sucks.  Let me start with Concept2.

Concept2 Rowing

This is one of my all time favorite companies in the world.  Their product is solid!  I purchased my rower used off a craigslist ad and have been impressed with it from the beginning.  I’ve worked out with a couple of other brands and they just don’t feel as, I don’t know, dependable.  Every time I get on it it works – smoothly.  I’m not a big maintenance guy and it still works – smoothly.  I live in Hawaii near the beach where everything rusts and this rower still works – smoothly.  What else could you ask for?  How about exceptional customer service?

I’m using the Model C.  They’re up to the E model now.  When I first bought my rower I decided to upgrade the computer to better track my crossfit workouts (Why else would I get a rower but for “Fight Gone Bad??”).  I contacted the company through their website, found my product and, BAM!  they’ve got it out the door and on it’s way.  Over the years I’ve had to replace the battery, a wire and a couple of obscure nuts and bolts.  In EVERY case, the communication with Concept2 was fast, helpful and positive.  In fact, in one instance, where I was missing one screw I lost somewhere in my garage, Concept2 just sent me a pack of them – for FREE!

I’ve never been to a retail establishment (do they have one?) but in every on-line and on-phone interaction have been impressed with their organization. In all my “moment of truth” encounters they’ve left me smiling and satisfied.

I love this company!  I wish I could buy more things from them.  Maybe another rower?  Certainly not to replace the one I have because it’s still going strong but maybe to get another as we expand our workouts.  They really are that good. They definitely do NOT suck.

Let’s turn the page now and look at Macspeech.

MacSpeech

If one company doesn’t suck and I’ve just got done writing about them above obviously we’re into the one that does suck.  Welcome to the nails-dragging-across-a-chalkboard experience of dealing with MacSpeech.

I have one product from them so my perspective is limited.  Maybe I’m the only one with a problem.  Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe not. I really, really, really wanted to like this product.

I’m using their Dictate program, a speech recognition software for the Mac.  (I just went to their site to get the url for you and BAM!  I get a video of a women coming out from the right-hand corner of my page that I can’t shut of or turn down or skip who is “welcoming” me to the site.  I hit my mute button.) I’m so inspired with frustration in using their program and communicating with the company that I’m thinking of writing a poem, MacSpeech Dictate, How Do I Not Love Thee, but for now will bullet-point my annoyance, nay, my unhappiness, with the company.

  • The software doesn’t work. It’s pretty expensive, nearly 200 bucks and advertised as an accurate, reliable program.  It’s not.  Or wasn’t on my version.  (They since upgraded since linking up with Dragon, which I hear is an awesome company.  More on why I haven’t upgraded below.)  It took me more time to correct mistakes and navigate around with the program than if I would have chiseled my text in stone.  I put in the time to “train” the software and to learn the commands.  I’m not ignorant of computer protocols and software but I could not make this happen.
  • The software doesn’t work. Did I mention this already?  Even if I did, it’s worth it to mention again.  Frustrating.  In my hours of looking for help on their forum and online what I found were a lot of similarly unhappy people.  It was kind of depressing.
  • The website doesn’t work for a Mac. What in the world??  When I click on “Upgrade” on Firefox and Safari the Step 2 page doesn’t allow me to select the program I have and want to upgrade.  I went on to my son’s Windows pc, fired up Internet Explorer, and LO! It worked!  This is sadly funny to me.  So, what do you do when you find you can’t upgrade but want to?  Click on the “Support” link and contact them of course.
  • They don’t like me. Upon receiving my first email they immediately did – wait, I don’t know what they did.  I didn’t get a response to my plea for help.  I sent another and that too disappeared.  I sent a third – still no response.  I sent a space probe questing for life at the end of the macspeech.com email universe and…nothing.  I tweeted my disappointment and LO!  A response!  I received an email telling me that MacSpeech was now following me on Twitter.  Huh?  You’re following me?  Even though they are one of my followers I don’t think they like me.

Here’s the take-aways from this rant/blog therapy:  Communicate and communicate again with your customers.

What to do?  How about I do the smart thing and buy their competitor’s software?  Nope.  No can because none exist for the Mac.  I’m stuck with them.  But, FYI, since my upgrade to Snow Leopard I haven’t been able to use the software because they didn’t offer a fix outside of the upgrade that I can’t buy!!

You know, I probably could live with the application crashing periodically and inaccurately rendering my speech.  What I have an incredibly difficult time dealing with is the complete and total absence of RESPONSE to my support requests.  I’ve not felt this much non-love for a software company, any company, in, uh, I can’t remember.

Here’s the take-aways from this rant/blog therapy:  Communicate and communicate again with your customers.  That’s it. Even if it’s to say “No,” please say something.

Now, go buy a rower from Concept2 and send me your score for Fight Gone Bad!  Here’s a video of some friends of mine from CFO and their FGB fun.

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Leave a Reply 4 comments

Greg Hammond - September 27, 2010 Reply

Thanks for the kind words. My name is Greg Hammond and I am a Crossfitter as well. Some of the coolest people we work with are in the CrossFit family. Thanks again. – Greg

Greg Hammond - September 27, 2010 Reply

Thanks for the kind words. My name is Greg Hammond and I am a Crossfitter as well. Some of the coolest people we work with are in the CrossFit family. Thanks again. – Greg

Anonymous - October 11, 2010 Reply

Hey Greg! You guys totally rock! Your rowers and service are so good I hardly get a chance to interact with you. Let me say it again: CONCEPT 2 RULES 🙂

Kaʻala Souza - October 11, 2010 Reply

Hey Greg! You guys totally rock! Your rowers and service are so good I hardly get a chance to interact with you. Let me say it again: CONCEPT 2 RULES 🙂

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