David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
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location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: Behringer, Digitech, business, troubleshooting, @musings info

Customer service, good and bad

I want to share with you a recent experience that illustrates the difference between great and awful customer service. My problem was a strange interaction between two vendors' products: a Behringer Xenyx 1832FX mixer and a Digitech RP355 modelling processor. Both units perform flawlessly in conjunction with other equipment. When I plugged the RP355 into the 1832FX, though, I'd get a few seconds of clean sound followed by distortion. If I unplugged the RP355's cables from mixer then plugged them back in, I'd get another few seconds of clean sound followed by distortion.

I wrote detailed reports to both Behringer and Digitech. I took care to specifically state that I know both units to be functioning properly. I said that I was seeking neither repair nor acknowledgment of any defect. All I sought from both manufacturers was some advice or speculation regarding why these two particular units might interoperate poorly, in hopes that I could understand the nature of the problem and devise a workaround. My queries went out shortly before I went to sleep for the night.

Digitech's response was already in my mailbox when I turned my computer on in the morning. They offered an excerpt of the RP's schematic showing the output circuitry along with some thoughtful and useful conjecture about what might be happening in the mixer. That information led me to some measurements that clearly identified the cause of the unfortunate interaction and to a few experiments that led to a number of potential workarounds.

Behringer's response arrived the next evening. They blamed the RP355 and provided instructions for returning the mixer for service. I couldn't imagine a more useless response if I tried.

Lesson learned: People who work at smaller companies are paid to think, which provides value to both the company and its customers. People who work at large companies are paid to follow procedures, which creates a false sense of efficiency and alienates customers.

October 08 2009 20:28:57 GMT