Thread: New Product E-flite Edge 540QQ 280 BNF Basic
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Old Feb 01, 2013, 07:46 PM
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I agree with the others that HH will jump through hoops to 'make it right' once they validate you are not some scrub trying to 'get over' on them or game the system for some spares. If a legit customer has a legit problem, they usually go beyond what you could reasonably expect or ask -- it just happens.

I have shared in the past (on the field and here in the forum and even via PM) that I have a personal theory of hobby business paradigms that puts Hobby King (HK) in a certain 'classification, and places Horizon (HH) in a different 'classification', and without attempting the impossible task of making a value judgement which 'classification' is 'right', I would contrast the two methods:

It seems to me that Horizon epitomizes the 'Customer Service and perceived quality trumps all." type of company. However, achieving this model is not costless -- in fact, a relatively large premium is attached to the price of each and every SKU sold, to defray the cost of a small percentage of them that will require attention, correction, or even outright replacement, including all the attendant frictional costs of phone calls, technical assistance, mailing/shipping, handling returned goods, etc.

People who want the 'most-est for the least-est' might find this model unsatisfactory, because shopping around can lead to the perception of better value via lower prices for apparently similar merchandise.

People who value their own lost time, the up-time for the model, and knowing that any issue will be rapidly solved, even if they rarely have to avail themselves of that service, will find this model particularly pleasing, even at a premium cost. This is the Rolls Royce model.

It seems to me that Hobby King works off of the almost exactly diametrically opposite model. Some might disagree, but not many, in my experience. Hobby King provides huge volumes, direct from the factory, but not very quickly (shipping time, percentage of back order status, wrong items shipped, and order fulfillment in general much worse/slower) and their customer service model is frankly barbarian -- I feel they actually want it to HURT -- to actually cause great frustration and even anger for a customer to avail themselves of any sort of customer service inquiry, even perfectly justified claims!

Now, I don't think any company would ever openly admit to such a strategy, but experience speaks volumes. In order to keep returns, claims, and inquiry at an absolute minimum, it is necessary to not only be a pain, but to be such a pain that the potential customer base understands and openly shares this fact about you PRIOR to their deciision to engage -- therefore, it is implicitly mutually agreed that for a much lower initial cost, you are making certain concessions as a buyer. This is the Soup Nazi model.

Over the past two years, I have expended copious resources in BOTH models, in both companies, and almost every interaction has gone towards confirming my theory.

I make no value judgement as to who is 'right' and who is 'wrong' -- I use both major vendors, but in different circumstances and with different expectations.
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