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What is wrong with most boat service providers?


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...we have been boating for a good few years, and have found that pretty much every boat maintenance company we have ever dealt with are totally incompetent when in comes to basic communications?

 

We have found that when dealing with painters and general maintenance providers they seem incapable of replying to e-mails, telephone calls or texts?

 

No idea why this should be, and we are always polite, but narrow boat service companies seem to have no idea about the basics of customer service?

 

..is it just ur are they all as bad as each other?

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7 minutes ago, SteveLevis said:

...we have been boating for a good few years, and have found that pretty much every boat maintenance company we have ever dealt with are totally incompetent when in comes to basic communications?

 

We have found that when dealing with painters and general maintenance providers they seem incapable of replying to e-mails, telephone calls or texts?

 

No idea why this should be, and we are always polite, but narrow boat service companies seem to have no idea about the basics of customer service?

 

..is it just ur are they all as bad as each other?

 

Just companies in general I would say. Some are better than others, not really specific to boating.

 

The worst ones are the ones that provide the ability to contact them via a form on their web site but just dont respond.

 

You wonder why they go to the trouble of providing the facility if not making use of it.

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And itdoesn't just apply to the boat franternity. We are selling our house and buying a new one (to us) and solicitors and accountants are just as bad. Oh and removal companies.

Edited by pete.i
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I do think Steve has a point. There are a lot of companies like chandlers, boat yards, marinas supplying coal, gas and pump outs, etc, that seem to dislike boaters. In some cases they know that you haven't got a lot of choice in a particular area so they don't really care about their lack of customer service.

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28 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

 

You wonder why they go to the trouble of providing the facility if not making use of it.

Probably because someone has told them that their business needs it.

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My engineer of choice never asnswers his phone, or phones back if you text him.  He reckons that if he spent all his time answering calls and texts he'd never get any work done.  You just have to keep ringing until he's out of somebody's engine room and feels like taking a call.

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We have an answer message that says "leave a message , we may be working on your boat..."

Out of 10 calls, 1 leaves a message,  out of that one, probably 1/2 leave a phone number.

 

 

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And here’s the other side of the story. Occasionally I’ve had an email enquiry from a boater, asking for a quote, with a very vague specification. My usual response is to reply with phone numbers, suggesting that we discuss options before proceeding. I rarely receive a call or further email afterwards. Ah well.

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55 minutes ago, dave moore said:

And here’s the other side of the story. Occasionally I’ve had an email enquiry from a boater, asking for a quote, with a very vague specification. My usual response is to reply with phone numbers, suggesting that we discuss options before proceeding. I rarely receive a call or further email afterwards. Ah well.

 

 

That's the modern way and I'm afraid I'm like to too. Everything by impersonal mail........, text or forum!  ?. "Speak" to someone....  nah.

Edited by mark99
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If a small, or single person boaty business is answering the phone, or emails, then they aren't working on boats, which pays their way. If they are busy working on boats all the time, then they have more than enough business to keep them going. There are only so many hours in the day and they have to sleep, eat and perhaps even have a life too. It may seem a bit rude, but at some point something has to give.

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Begin your message with “I’ve just discovered an outstanding bill from you, that I’d like to settle”.  That’ll soon get their attention....

 

 

 

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It took my electrician three months to install three batteries, and not to BSC specifications, that was the easy part of the job, I sent him some money and he never came back to ask why he did not get paid fully, I think he realised that I expected the job to be done properly, perfectly capable, but not bothered. There was plenty of work to do, he had agreed to do it. Wasting my time and his.

I now use Thorne Boat Services, expensive but competent. 

Edited by LadyG
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8 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

My engineer of choice never asnswers his phone, or phones back if you text him.  He reckons that if he spent all his time answering calls and texts he'd never get any work done.  You just have to keep ringing until he's out of somebody's engine room and feels like taking a call.

I can understand  that, at least he has told you not answering the phone but having a second phone which he uses to talk to people to catch up on gossip is a total pain My electrician told me he had not been to see me 'cos he knew I was having blood tests, therefore must be ill, presumably. Obviously I had not discussed my medical history with him! 

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40 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

If a small, or single person boaty business is answering the phone, or emails, then they aren't working on boats, which pays their way. If they are busy working on boats all the time, then they have more than enough business to keep them going. There are only so many hours in the day and they have to sleep, eat and perhaps even have a life too. It may seem a bit rude, but at some point something has to give.

It annoys me when the wife answers the business phone 'yes?' so it's hard work from the start. You don't know if your message will get through, it's not a good start, and I probably try yet another 'business', these are often people who are so incompetent they can't get regular employment. 

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9 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I can understand  that, at least he has told you not answering the phone but having a second phone which he uses to talk to people to catch up on gossip is a total pain My electrician told me he had not been to see me 'cos he knew I was having blood tests, therefore must be ill, presumably. Obviously I had not discussed my medical history with him! 

 

So how did he know you were having blood tests?

 

In your case it's probably a bit more understandable why you get bad service. ?

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9 hours ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

Just companies in general I would say. Some are better than others, not really specific to boating.

 

The worst ones are the ones that provide the ability to contact them via a form on their web site but just dont respond.

 

You wonder why they go to the trouble of providing the facility if not making use of it.

 

Its all a front. The last thing they want is for you to keep a paper trail of their conduct and promises. Having a web form makes it more difficult for you to keep a copy where as email and nowadays a letter keeping a copy is easy. The less you can keep the more poor/no service the company can deny in court.

 

The ones that really get me and its usually apparently large companies are those that if you manage to find a proper email address on the web or reply to an email address from a past email ignore the email and list your IP address on Spamhaus so you can't send emails for three days.

 

I accept small companies are different and I am not sure how they solve the time problem.

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I am having the same issues as the OP (Steve). I've been trying for 3 weeks to get hold of a local 'boat engineer' and none of my phone messages or emails are being answered. I've used him for a few years now and I've never haggled over prices and always pay him straight away. It's the same with a boat electrician I use. 

 

They're obviously so busy they aren't bothered about getting the work, but there's no excuse for not getting back to people. I was a sole trader for years and was very busy most of the time, but I always had the courtesy to return people's messages even if it meant spending a little time doing so in the evenings, and often having to tell them that I couldn't fit them in for a while. At least then they knew where things stood and didn't have the hassle of  constantly trying to get hold of me.

 

The problem is that there aren't many doing it around here so there is little competition so we just have to put up with it. 

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1 hour ago, LadyG said:

 I probably try yet another 'business', these are often people who are so incompetent they can't get regular employment. 

Do you ever wonder why "often people" are often hostile towards you? 

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The welder who did a few bits and pieces on my boat last year was only ever available, and only sporadically, by telephone. I can understand that: if he spent the day fending off text messages and emails, he'd never get the job finished. The joys of self-employment, I'm afraid.

 

Larger companies with front office staff have less excuse.

 

@LadyG: you seem to attract problems and attitudes. Just an observation.

Edited by tehmarks
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3 hours ago, tehmarks said:

The welder who did a few bits and pieces on my boat last year was only ever available, and only sporadically, by telephone. I can understand that: if he spent the day fending off text messages and emails, he'd never get the job finished. The joys of self-employment, I'm afraid.

 

Larger companies with front office staff have less excuse.

 

@LadyG: you seem to attract problems and attitudes. Just an observation.

I can assure you I was perfectly polite to the man, and struggled to get an invoice. He came several times to look at the boat, bought the batteries, his choice, he then did nothing for two more months, and only came back when I told  his pal , the boater next door that he would be replaced in two days. Amazingly he turned up the next day, fitted the batteries, got paid for the batteries, never came back for any more money or work.

He spend several hours looking at the boat, two and a half hours fitting the batteries, there was still three  or four more days work to be done, but did not want to do it, for whatever reason, that was no use to me. Someone else fitted the solar, someone else did the servicing, Someone else did the engineering. 

I tell them I want an very experienced engineer, electrician, most fail this test, wasting my time and theirs.

 

If we discuss my requirements, agree a solution, then don't bother to follow through , in this case I was expected  to wait three months for the only part of the job I could do myself!

 

Edited by LadyG
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8 hours ago, LadyG said:

I can understand  that, at least he has told you not answering the phone but having a second phone which he uses to talk to people to catch up on gossip is a total pain My electrician told me he had not been to see me 'cos he knew I was having blood tests, therefore must be ill, presumably. Obviously I had not discussed my medical history with him! 

Perhaps he had access to SPINE or whatever its called

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I do accept that every trade has its "non responders", and I have come cross a couple of excellent "one man" outfits who I understand are busy "doing their thing", so may only reply "after hours". But boat servicing just seems to have a far higher percentage of businesses that can't be bothered to communicate with you. Our current problem is not a one man business, but despite daily calls to the office, (has an answerphone but never replies), and now daily e-mails, but still never bothers to reply.

 

I don't expect them to promise me the earth, or prioritise me over somebody else, a simple "got your message but too busy to help you at present, try later" would be more than sufficient?

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