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A Tale of 2 Customer Services: Prior and ExoticBoards


Guest AllMountain
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Guest AllMountain

in a recent thread here, i came across a link to this thread about prior from a while ago (my apologies if this has already been hashed over; i searched and didn't find anything). a couple of really terrible customer experiences were detailed there. prior made an official response of feel-good corporate-speak, with no offers to make things right. to paraphrase: "we're sorry some of you aren't happy. feel free to call us and talk about it." this was to people who had already done plenty of talking to prior, even to one of the signers of that official response, and were mighty unhappy with the final outcome.

the response was disappointing. it tells me that if i ever have a problem with a prior product, there's no guarantee it will be solved to my satisfaction. maybe it will, maybe it won't. there are also reports of good service. but the company is willing to leave at least some people hanging out there who are justifiably very unsatisfied. (i own one prior board, bought thru bomber. no problems with it. always thought well of prior until this. not any more.)

contrast the prior response to this email i got from RJ at exoticboards, when i expressed a reservation about the tanker i'd just bought:

In terms of your situation; here's what I know...when someone buys something they are not completely satisfied with, it just doesn't bode well. Either you will always be looking for something to be wrong with your board. Or you will just have a bad feeling like you didn't get exactly what you thought you should. Either way you paid good money for the board and it makes me uncomfortable holding onto it. Who knows, someday we may be boarding together.

So here is my recommendation: Send the board back to me and I'll refund your money.

I've never had an unsatisfied customer and I certainly don't want you to be the first one.

what a quintessential statement of customer service! i've never seen a better one.

(my concern was about the tanker being made in china; it was addressed thoroughly in a recent thread here.)

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I am confused why you need to bring Prior into this since you have not had any bad experiences with them and are only referring to a thread on another forum. I have bought several boards from Prior and they have always taken care of me.

Just commend RJ for being a great guy to work with. I have also bought a Tanker from RJ and have the utmost respect for him.

Prior, Exotic Boards, Coiler, Bomber, Hardbooter, Donek, and all the others do a wonderful job of supporting us riders and I am greatful to them all.

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Guest AllMountain
I am confused why you need to bring Prior into this...

this is not just a theoretical exercise for me. i came close to buying a prior for myself in the last month and came very close to buying one for my son. in both cases, i ultimately chose other boards for design reasons, not customer service reasons, but i certainly would have liked to know about prior's customer service issues.

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Guest AllMountain
... I think we all ( manufacturers and distributers )just want to get riders who want to obtain gear that is THE top of the line stuff that's out there, with all disciplines that exist, A PAINLESS EXPERIENCE. No BS. ...

dave - i have no doubt this is your position (and it's been a pleasure doing business with you), but just because you think this way doesn't mean everyone else automatically does.

with prior, the thing that really floored me was not the initial offenses, bad as they were, but what prior said after they'd heard the complaints and had time to think and formulate an official response. you can read it in the linked thread; they posted it there. seven paragraphs of self-congratulation: we're the best. our goals are the highest. we're excited about our new stuff. our sales are skyrocketing. we have the best employees. we're excited. rah rah rah... it's all about us. sounded like steve ballmer (microsoft).

there was one paragraph of the thinnest apology, with no contrition or offer to make things right. they should have said, "we're sorry we screwed you and then stonewalled you when you called us, and we'd like to offer you a new replacement board or a refund." instead they said (my paraphrase): we're sorry if YOU FEEL we did something wrong, and you can call us any time to talk about it [even though we stonewalled you the last 10 times you called us].

from what i can tell from the original thread, and searching the forum in which it was posted, prior never did satisfy those customers. i guess a few unhappy customers don't really matter if your sales are doubling and you're in the REI catalog. (although if their sales are doubling, you'd think they could afford to take care of those unhappy customers).

comparing this to the note from RJ, the difference couldn't be more stark. the message from prior is "it's all about us." the message from you and RJ is "it's all about you [the customer]."

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When things go well you don't find out what risks you're running with poor customer service. It's only those who actually have a problem who can tell you how the supplier really treats their customers.

Hence I'm hyper-sensitive to reports of both good and bad service.

Yes I could pick up a board or two from Prior, and I'd probably not have a problem. But I don't, because I've heard the buzz and it's not a risk I want to take.

The exoticboards chaps sound spot on, that's what I'd want to hear (and I'd probably keep the board after hearing it).

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Please delete this negative thread

I agree completely.

We have dealt with all of this within the last year regarding our own discipline of alpine boards. It is nothing comparable to the Splitboard stuff, mostly warranty issues.

Again, please repost and just thank RJ.

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Please delete this negative thread

Why? If we censor this discussion board we squash any chance for a balanced, open discussion. Sure, I can understand censoring out porn or hate speech, especially if its unrelated to snowboarding. But if someone wants to take issue, and express an opinion about a company or even an individual, why should we stifle that? If what they are saying is bullspit, we have lots of members who will call them on it.

Witness Bordy's recent rant about metal bindings / board interfaces. Sure, Bordy may have pressed the "submit" button a bit prematurely, and if he'd re-read his original post, he may have edited it a bit, but his points were still valid, even if he did attack a well-respected company in our little hardboot community. The great thing was that representatives from the company had a forum to respond directly to the complaint, others were able to chime in, and in the end we're all better informed for it.

BOL is censored enough as it is. Heck, we can't even swear or post nekkid pictures (well, maybe if they were on a carving board it would be allowed, but not likely). We have assembled (I'm surprised that word didn't get censored) a great, tight-knit community here, and combined with moderators we get very little here that could be considered controversial. Heck, compared to some of the sophomoric crud I see on other boards I read, this place is like freakin' kindergarten.

Keep BOL free.

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Why? If we censor this discussion board we squash any chance for a balanced, open discussion. Sure, I can understand censoring out porn or hate speech, especially if its unrelated to snowboarding. But if someone wants to take issue, and express an opinion about a company or even an individual, why should we stifle that? If what they are saying is bullspit, we have lots of members who will call them on it.

Witness Bordy's recent rant about metal bindings / board interfaces. Sure, Bordy may have pressed the "submit" button a bit prematurely, and if he'd re-read his original post, he may have edited it a bit, but his points were still valid, even if he did attack a well-respected company in our little hardboot community. The great thing was that representatives from the company had a forum to respond directly to the complaint, others were able to chime in, and in the end we're all better informed for it.

BOL is censored enough as it is. Heck, we can't even swear or post nekkid pictures (well, maybe if they were on a carving board it would be allowed, but not likely). We have assembled (I'm surprised that word didn't get censored) a great, tight-knit community here, and combined with moderators we get very little here that could be considered controversial. Heck, compared to some of the sophomoric crud I see on other boards I read, this place is like freakin' kindergarten.

Keep BOL free.

Excellent point, but the subject of this thread is second hand hearsay about one of the few companies that supplies gear

delete this thread and start over with a more broadband view, hey let's pick on oakley, now their customer service really sucks

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now that's just CRAZY talk........ :rolleyes:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Basically, the First Amendment guarantees a variety of civil liberties and restricts the government from interfering with freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, the freedom to assemble, the right of privacy, and the separation of church and state. The courts have interpreted, and in some cases, limited, these freedoms in certain circumstances. The First Amendment only pertains to actions of the government. In other words, private corporations or individuals can – and often do – violate First Amendment freedoms, without repercussion.

translation:

This is a public service announcement

With guitar!

Know your rights, all three of them!

Number 1:

You have the right not to be killed

Murder is a CRIME!

Unless it was done by a

Policeman or aristocrat...

Know your rights!

And Number 2:

You have the right to food money

Providing of course

You don't mind a little

Investigation, humiliation

And if you cross your fingers

Rehabilitation...

Know your rights!

These are your rights!

Number 3:

You have the right to free speech

As long as

You're not dumb enough to actually try it!

Know your rights,

These are your rights!

All three of 'em!

And it has been suggested

In some quarters

That this is not enough!

Well....................

Get off the streets

Run!

post-123-141842238991_thumb.jpeg

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Guest AllMountain
... the subject of this thread is second hand hearsay ...

no, it is based on official, public statements made by the company in response to a public airing of their behavior.

Please delete this negative thread

this impulse to stifle criticism is why i never heard about any of this when i was shopping recently.

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Allmountain,

You seem like a great guy and I have been very impressed with the way you asked some questions, sifted through the answers, and picked up some quality gear.

Make your own decisions about who to buy from, but your post is comparing apples and oranges. A personal reply to you from RJ should not be compared to a poorly done reply by Prior to a long negative thread on another website. You have no idea how Prior would have responded to you.

You could have simply searched 'Prior' here on BOL and found all you needed to know about experiences with Prior. There is plenty of information just in the last year.

The fact is that there are a huge number of Prior boards out there and very few dissatisfied customers. This is not some crisis of customer service, though they could certainly do better.

What ursle and I are saying is that a straight compliment of RJ would be a much better way of saying thanks to him than dragging in a bunch of irrelevant negative stuff that is going to detract from praise of RJ. He certainly deserves the praise.

Take care, Buell

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I have issues with Prior as well BUT one of them was because they had a jackass answering the phone, it seemed as if he did not want to take my order or deal with the possibility of a custom flex which I needed. I called back and talked with Dean and it was all set, the first time around I was just dealing with a meathead.

My second issue was with the tune it came out of the factory with, bad tunes are very common in the industry but with a board that ended up costing me $1100 I expected better. that said, Rossignol and Solomon are known for the same issue with skis. It is not unique to Prior at all. PTC solved that issue for me and I now have a product that blows away just about anything out there unless I go Kessler or a metal Coiler.

There are some other minor issues that I have with their older boards but that's a moot point because they have changed the design but even Burton stopped using the aluminum tail blocks before they did.

in the end my metal wcr was worth the money and the their service was good I just would rather deal with Bruce V for a coiler and have to wait for my deck.

I could air some issues with Donek as well but for that one you guys will have to email me because it really is not a big issue but if you race it might be something you'd like to know.....

in the end my point is that all the small builders have some issues that some people might not want to deal with it all depends on what you want.

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Guest AllMountain

Buell - Thank you for your kind and civil words.

i did do a search for prior here before i started this thread. a lot of hits, but mostly threads with titles like "Prior 4WD 179," talking about design issues, pros and cons, riding experiences, etc. i really hadn't heard about customer service concerns until the recent thread on "prior amf vs donek phoenix." i think the availability of this kind of information is important for potential customers.

the standard of customer service among small, personal, high-end businesses is customer satisfaction. that means if the customer isn't happy, either the company makes it right or allows them to return the product for a refund. i've owned a small business myself, and we screwed up many times, but we never stonewalled a customer who wasn't happy. not once. the minimum we gave was a full refund, and usually something more.

the difference in approaches is not just anecdotal. you can see it clearly today if you look at the published policies on the prior and exoticboards websites. RJ publishes a 14-day satisfaction guarantee. if you're not happy, for any reason, you get your money back. i looked but could not find any such thing on the prior website. (please let me know if i missed it). it appears that, once prior has your money, they hold all the cards. if they decide to ensure your satisfaction, they can, but they are not obligated to.

it appears that prior generally makes good stuff. if you play the percentages, you're likely to have no problems and be happy. however, the presence or absence of a satisfaction guarantee can and should be a factor in people's purchase decisions.

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This is really nothing more than a bunch of unnecessary whining. Something the internet has promoted to a level that makes me:barf: Produce enough of ANYTHING and there will be people that will complain about it in some manor, no matter How good you are.

After reading all of this, If your that concerned about your purchase, keep the $$ in your pocket.

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I was the original linker to the Prior splitboard thread. My apologies as I was using just to point out that all companies have production/customer service snags and not at all to deter people from buying a Prior (its their own choice). I personally own three Prior boards (WCR-M 178, Khyber 160 Split, and Majestic 143 for gf) and I am happy with all of them and would not hesistate to buy from Prior again. However, as with "any" company I do not take it as a guarantee that I will get amazing service should a problem happen.

Anyways... before dismissing the thread offhand, I would suggest people read most of the thread, including Prior's reply post and decide for themselves.

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Guest AllMountain

Buell just clued me in privately that there was a long thread here about prior last spring, which was eventually deleted by the author. that's why i never came across these issues until now. as i wrote in the first sentence of my original post, my apologies to those of you for whom this is picking open an old scab. i did try searching before i started this thread.

i understand that the deleted thread was largely about broken boards. i do not want to reopen that can of worms now, but i do want to point out that the splitboard thread was about problems with new boards right out of the box, not boards that broke after months of riding. that is what i've been referring to here all along. i am disappointed that prior didn't even handle these problems well.

... before dismissing the thread offhand, I would suggest people read most of the thread, including Prior's reply post and decide for themselves.

i agree completely. to get the context, the original thread, again, starts here.

at the end of the day, we all have to make our own beds and sleep in them. this is one data point that you can factor into your future decisions however you like.

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still can't figure out why you brought this up right now. You're totally new to the forum, and possibly even the alpine "scene." (sorry, I hate that word) and...somehow you manage to stir **** so shortly?

I'm not defending Prior but I will say my dealings with them have been quite satisfactory. I just don't get what purpose this serves. If you had a negative experience with them directly, definitely post a grievance, but your effort to point out other people's issues makes very little sense.

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Guest AllMountain
still can't figure out why you brought this up right now...

because this forum is (among many other things) the main repository of information that people use in researching equipment purchases when they can't demo directly, and this is significant info, which i hadn't come across either in searching old posts or in interacting with people here.

the thread from the splitboard forum was pretty shocking to me (i've been a prior owner for 4 yrs), yet nobody's even given any reactions to it in this thread; most of the responses have been attacking me for bringing it up. i'm really curious what you all think. does it bother you that this guy apparently still has not gotten satisfaction? do you think the splitboard thread should be hidden from people who are thinking about buying a board from prior?

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Originally Posted by D-Sub

still can't figure out why you brought this up right now...

I agree w/ D-Sub

In your "Tale of Two Customer Services" you are comparing your positive experience with one company and someone else's poor experience with another. Poor strategy for an argument, and really one that serves no purpose, as you never ask a question or look for more information.

If you want to give props to someone, give it, but not at the expense of someone you've never dealt with!

p.s. I have a Prior Split.

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Guest AllMountain

from a "free speech " point of view, i've said what i wanted to say on this topic. if nobody sees this the way i do, and all this is doing is irritating everyone, i'm happy to move on to more pleasant topics (but i don't want to delete this thread).

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This is how a customer should be treated when he has a problem with a product. I think it's an interesting contrast. For anyone bothering to read it, "Hanssc" is one of the owners of the company. Not saying that Prior or anyone else should lurk the forums and pounce on every problem they see, but it shows what a difference CS attitude makes, some people are afraid that these frames might have problems but are still buying them based on Customer Service alone.
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