Need some advice on how to respond

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rpollack
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Need some advice on how to respond

Post by rpollack » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:01 pm

I am very disappointed by this and would like some advice before I respond.

We recently shipped an Amazon M2 order and shortly thereafter received the following email to support:
---
the firmware or software is not user friendly
how do I scan a picture and make a figure
?
why don't you supply a guide on how to use the software
THIS HALTED THE USE OF THIS MACHINE UNTIL I GET AN ANSWER
THE NEXT STEP IS TO SEND THIS BACK.
FUK
---

This issue is the tone - thankfully we get very few messages like this - but based on five years of MG experience the best thing to do is just to get away from this as quickly as possible. I responded that this was unacceptable and asked the person to return the machine for a refund. I received a very nasty response and then the following was posted on Amazon.

The software in this case is pronterface. Please let me know your advice on how to respond.
Thank you.

MarkG
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by MarkG » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:47 pm

Rick-

My advice to you is to always take the high road. I say this knowing that people take the tone and content of the review and into account when deciding. Currently, I see NO bad review on Amazon, so whatever you are seeing is not viable to me as part of your reviews in the past 4 months.

I saw this knowing that one bad review out of 50, written in that way, would have no real effect,. However, that said, it's important to respond with critical questions, such as how they are trying to use it, if they have followed all the instructions for setting up the machine, and if they were getting prints out of the machine from the sample files, and then also what use they were planning on. Separate the proper operation of the machine, as designed, from their desire to quickly print a project.

If you wish, I would also offer a refund if they were not prepared to utilize it due to lack of having any 3-D modeling experience. You can also refer then to many site on how to download files from thingiverse and print using software. Ask their age, as well. If they are young, ask if there are people they know who have computer experience, ask if they looking into a local makerspace or hobby club. Point them to the great forum that exists.

However, I understand that you do NOT want to soak up valuable time with problems that exist for only one person. You may want them NOT to keep it.

I also do not know if Amazon has a policy for unfair bad reviews.

Mark

Toby
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by Toby » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:05 pm

It's hard to tell where a person like that is coming from. Obviously he's frustrated at not getting something he wanted, and doesn't know how to politely ask for help. Probably your judgment is correct that this is not going any place good. But you never know. I tend to be a softy and remember that many people have had bad experiences with high tech customer support. So maybe they just need a little hand-holding or something.

If you can stomach it, I think an apology might be in order. I mean, telling a customer his tone is unacceptable and he should return the machine... well, it's original! But, yeah, I can see that would really piss him off and motivate a bad review like that.

You could also refer him to the forum for help. My understanding is that Makergear policy is not to support the software, which is is reasonable once you understand the overall picture of 3D printing, but to a newcomer it could be confusing. A short explanation of your policy and a link to the forum would channel him away from MG support for non-hardware issues. It's a lot easier for us to respond to a guy like that. My guess is he would get a few responses pointing him in the right direction and then it's up to him. If he continues to be rude and complaining, people will stop responding and he'll go away. And then he'll probably figure out for himself that 3d printing isn't for him.

But it could have a happy ending. Maybe he just needs one successful print and he's hooked.

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Tim
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by Tim » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:37 pm

I'm not sure there's a whole lot you can do about people who have not done their basic research before making a purchase decision. I think in the long run, very few people will commit over $1500 to something that they have not looked into thoroughly to know they are getting what they expect. You can't kick the tires of an unpurchased MakerGear M2, but you can read the forums. You could put disclaimers all over your home page to the effect that this is a technology in its infancy and anybody who buys into it now is an early adopter with all the associated caveats. . . but that's counterproductive. The best thing I can think of is another campaign to get people who have purchased an M2 and like it to post a review on Amazon. You have over 1000 customers but only ~50 reviews. . . there must be more people out there who can be convinced to write you a good review. It lessens the impact of the occasional person who has been influenced by too much media hype and not done their homework. I tend to agree with you that distancing yourself from this guy is the best policy. You can encourage him to try the forums, but his attitude, frustration, and lack of planning all peg him as a non-Maker sort. Converting him to The Cause is the stuff of Hollywood movies, not likely to happen in real life.

Dale Reed
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by Dale Reed » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:03 pm

I don't know if this will help or not.... Remind the purchaser that a 2D printer (ink jet, laser, etc.) does not come with the word processing, document design or other software needed to tell it WHAT to print. A 3D printer is the same way. You need other software to design the piece to print -- 3D CAD software -- and there are a number of such software packages to choose from, depending on what kind of thing you want to print (artistic, mechanical, etc.) and your budget. Microsoft Word is not freeware. Neither are the high end 3D CAD packages. LibreOffice IS free, community drive software, and so is OpenSCAD, for example. Then point out that you need what are basically "drivers" -- in the 3D printing case, a slicer, which figures out how to convert the design into printer moves, and a printer control package, that actually runs the printer, plus lets you set up the printer and manually control parts of the operation.

I agree that you should state that 3D printing is in its early stages. There's lots of software integration and hardware improvement to come. We're at the stage where you had to manually thread the "paper" into the machine and line it up so the first line would print in the right place. There are several brands/grades of "paper" (filament) now, but nobody is yet providing the equivalent of laser-cut business cards, iron-on transfers, glossy photo paper, or pre-printed textured stationery. We're on the leading edge of a not-quite-consumer-ready technology here. If you want "consumer-ready" -- be patient for a couple years and it will get there. If you are willing to learn a little technology to be on the leading edge, and experiment so you can contribute to the state of the art, then welcome to the fun!

We're basically trying to make an early consumer dot-matrix (Epson) or ink-jet printer (HP ThinkJet) in a time equivalent to when Iowa Basic and SAT scores were printed on pin-driven continuous forms on big IBM chain printers in clean rooms full of closet-sized tape drives. The ThinkJet was made in 1984 --- thirty years ago. Ink-jet printers and the software to design documents for them have come a long way since then. 3D printers will get there. With all the interested hobbyists innovating the heck out them, it should not take thirty years this time around!

Dale

Toby
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by Toby » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:29 pm

I seem to be out of step here, but I would not recommend selling the M2 as a hobbyist machine for early adopters. It has gone beyond that. You do not have to be a tinkerer or want to develop the state of the art in order to use it very successfully and consistently. To me this is its great selling point.

But you do need to learn a few things. Not much, but something that an average person would have difficulty knowing about. Some people will do extensive research, some people won't. I can imagine someone reading the Amazon reviews and thinking, "If they can do it, so can I. And if I get stuck, help is there." There's no reason to believe he's not capable of learning how to use the M2. OK, he was rude, but bottom line is he was asking for help and he didn't get it.

Maybe I'm just remembering my own experience. I got frustrated early on from all the things I didn't know how to do and made some critical comments about the documentation in the google forum. But then two members of the forum (jimc and jamil) helped me understand a couple basic things. That was just what I needed to gain the confidence that I could operate the M2. And it's all I really needed.

sshwarts
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by sshwarts » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:58 pm

Rick:
Having been through this on a number of occasions, the best thing you can do at this point having tried to satisfy the customer, is to do what was suggested already, try to increase substantially the number of positive reviews on Amazon. One harshly negative review in a sea of positives makes the bad reviewer to appear to be either a troll or have a screw loose.

Also encourage people to upload customer images especially of figurines!

Scott

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j-rod
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by j-rod » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:12 pm

Tim wrote: The best thing I can think of is another campaign to get people who have purchased an M2 and like it to post a review on Amazon. You have over 1000 customers but only ~50 reviews. . . there must be more people out there who can be convinced to write you a good review. .
I've been meaning to do that. Thanks for the reminder!

jsc
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by jsc » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:23 pm

I see a negative review in the sidebar, but it doesn't appear under the main comments section. Weird. Anyway, it must smart to see your perfect streak of high ratings marred, but that guy comes off as an angry kook, especially in context. I don't think anyone is going to read that in light of the other reviews and think, "this guy, he's not afraid to tell the truth!"

I don't get how some people seem to go straight to outraged anger as their first response to any situation.

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j-rod
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Re: Need some advice on how to respond

Post by j-rod » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:56 pm

yet another person expecting a complicated device to work like a toaster.

anyway, i just submitted my 5 star review to be added to the rest. ;)

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