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STD Heads & Customer Service

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55FL
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STD Heads & Customer Service

#1

Post by 55FL » Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:25 am

Evening,

Runnin down the road aware of an oil seep from the front head area when bam! The front head gasket went and the dreaded steam engine sound came from my beloved '55.

Limped home making embarrising noises and the next day pulled the front head.... lo and behold three (3) of five (5) headbolt inserts have pulled approx 1/16" of an inch out of my high dollar S.T.D. head.

Concerned and twice bitten by utilizing a third party vendor, who supplied the head and did the outside oiler mod, I sent the head back to S.T.D. for repair. The quote was reasonable as was the estimated turn around time.

Thirty days and numerous phone calls to Barbara and Marty I'm still headless with no idea when I'll finally get my repaired head and all will be well with world again.

What happened to customer service? What happened to giving a sh*t about the product and work that had your name on it? I work in the medical field and our success is based on customer satisfaction and the idea that your work represents who you are.

Not up and whining about it,
John



Cotten
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#2

Post by Cotten » Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:54 am

Shall we form a mob with pitchforks and torches?

Or would you rather that STD hire new people off the street to fix your soul-threatening anquish, rather than let their trained pro's take care of it properly when it is the next in line?

Be careful what you demand.
Many service writers shove a work order back to the bottom of the stack every time some wanks at them.
Good customers should come first. Be a good customer.

....Cotten

awander
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#3

Post by awander » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:58 am

SO I read that to say that a good customer is one who accepts whatever is handed out.

Hmm, I don;t agree with that. Especially if you are quoted a turnaround time, then an effort should be made to meet it-if it can;t be met, then an explanation should be given, along with a real estimate of when it WILL be met.

I do agree that a customer needs to be reasonable, as well-but I will say that, for me, anyway, the worst thing a supplier or vendior can do is either lie to me, or ignore me. Straight talk gets my tolerance.

VT

Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#4

Post by VT » Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:50 pm

"Motorcycles" are different. Sometimes repair work doesn't go as planned. People get sick, orders get pushed back, etc. If you have someone competent doing the work (STD rates as one of those), then you have to forget about your motorcycle and go find that "honey-do" list and work on that.
Go paint the house, or clean the shed and your shop, and call them in about 2 weeks. Once you're no longer drove-up to get the heads back, they'll be calling you telling you they're ready. It's what I call "Surfing on Murphy's law" (i.e; if you want it to rain, go wash your junk heap and all the windows in your house. It will rain).

Cotten
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#5

Post by Cotten » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:04 pm

Andy wrote:
"SO I read that to say that a good customer is one who accepts whatever is handed out."

Nothing has been handed out, so don't put words in my mouth, Andy.

The vintage/aftermarket industry is based upon and supported by mom'n'pop operations that do not have the re$ource$ to drop everything else every time someone misses their sick puppy. If you want the doctor's care, and not the clean-up crew from a temp service, then you must be patient, and wait your turn.

If STD has made any mistake so far, it was making a promise in the first place... Or was it just an estimate, John?

As a micro-micro-business myself, Liberty's policy is to never make a promise of date of delivery, as it would surely make a liar out of me. If the customer is in just too much of a hurry because the sun is shining, then someone else can hack on his hardware.

....Cotten

VT

Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#6

Post by VT » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:02 pm

a third party vendor, who supplied the head and did the outside oiler mod
Look for that simple mod to be the possible root of the problem. IMO, maybe you're lucky STD even chose to work on the head after an "unknown" third party put his mitts on it. Calif. State automotive liability laws says, in short, "If you own a shop and you work on somebody's bike, the last shop to work on something is liable for the whole mess." Says so in the M.M.I. classroom workbook. I read it right from Stett's notes.
"Third party" is a wild card. Who'd in their right mind would want to stand behind one of their products after a "third party modification", with a subsequent repair?
Lesson to learn if you ever get your head back repaired, with critical components, is to go to the source from day one. If you can buy an STD head from STD, don't even think about buying it from a vendor.
•••••••••••••••
Anyway, don;t burn any bridges. Give STD another week without hearing from you and then call them on a Friday morning. Tell them your so and so, "and you'd like an update on your cylinder heads, please" . That will work.
••••••••••••••••
It's a better suggestion than what my plumbing buddy told me when I lost a lump of money to a customer. He said, "VT, did you get any money from the job what-so-ever?" I told him "yeah I got a check for 10% down when I started the job".
He said, "Then take some of that money and go buy a big block of ice and sit on it."
Last edited by VT on Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

awander
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#7

Post by awander » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:53 pm

Cotten:

I didn't put words in your mouth-sorry you misunderstood me-what I was referring to as "handed out" is the general situation this guy is in-having been promised something, and now not getting it-you may be inferrng that only actual goods delivered is a handing out-both just different ways of looking at it.

I agree about the mom-n-pop, and about the vagaries of any kind of mechanical work-and I know that an unreasonable customer is not worth having-what I object to, though, is the inference that improper communication(or lack of communication) is ok, because of the reasons given above. If they gave a promise, then they should be able to deliver, or at least to communicate why they can;t deliver.

I think all of us, in our business dealings as well as personal ones, need to tell the truth, and not avoid giving answers to questions asked, even when we know theyt are not the answers that are desired.

I do notice that John's original post only says,
The quote was reasonable as was the estimated turn around time.

Thirty days and numerous phone calls to Barbara and Marty I'm still headless with no idea when I'll finally get my repaired head and all will be well with world again
SO, John, what was the originally quoted turnaround time?

AND what are they telling you now?

Ripley/Fla
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#8

Post by Ripley/Fla » Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:48 pm

55FL - I don't fault you for wanting to get your bike together one bit. The question is why they let go. One month! I sent a project to one of the Gurus recommended on this site and in one week it will be EIGHT months. My BS detector went off at the 6 month point. Unfortunately, I will have to spend time and money to go get it back and then have an illegal, third world hack finish it. You are from N.California. Is this near Chatsworth? A personal visit is always worthwhile and gets everybody on the same page. You really should have O-Ring heads and a Linkert on that bike, tho. JUST KIDDING! Good Luck.

panhead
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#9

Post by panhead » Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:21 am

I picked up my 45" today after two years.....

john HD
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#10

Post by john HD » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:59 pm

i believe this is a good thread from the points of view from both sides of the counter.

let's keep it going.

i have a very good friend who runs a mom and pop vintage bike repair and service facility. it is truely mom and pop because my friend runs the shop with a couple of younger guys working part time or on weekends to keep the orders current. the helpers do the small projects such as oil and tire changes and minor electrical work. this frees the owner to do the complicated work such as motors and transmissions, welding and machine work. his wife has a full time job and does the books after hours.

what i have discovered after a 25 year relationship is that time is relative, if you drop a set of heads off for work and do not state your time expectations clearly it may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months to get the project completed. unlike most of us working on one project at a time my friend may have 25 projects going on at once. however, if your bike is down and you really want it back asap i have found greasing the skids helps somewhat. case in point: i was getting ready for a trip and i lost 4th gear in a sporty i used to have. i needed it done in a couple of days to meet my schedule, so in partial exchange i laced and trued 2 sets of wheels for my buddy at home so he would have enough time to fix my tranny. a couple of 12 packs of his favorite beverage helped too!

of course this kind of thing is only available if you have a trusting relationship with your local shop and have the ability to help if there is a time crunch. i have even been out to his place on sundays to help with restoration wiring work so a bike could be ready the next week!

since i have had a close working relationship with my buddy i understand his side of the counter much better. and i think he understand my point of view better too.

another thing i have learned about having an antique motor cycle is to have plenty of spares even if you never think you will need them. i have loaned or borrowed such things as generators or carbs to keep my or a friends bike running. when i first got my pan it ran for 6 months on a loaned magneto until i got a timer for it, had it rebushed and found the rest of the parts to put it back to stock. (take a guess who loaned me the magneto!)

so when dealing with a vendor or a shop be patient and repay your favors!

ya never know when you will need one yourself!

john

Cotten
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#11

Post by Cotten » Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:23 pm

Furthermore,

I have a 101 Scout that has been on the bench for over eight years.

The customer knows it is safe, at least. When he drops in, it is not the topic of the day.
(His 438 Indian top end was finished a decade ago, sitting on display, but the lower end has been from one end of the continent to the other in the meantime: UNTOUCHED by the biggest names in the field.
Those names are now 'history'.
No doubt, whiners made up their mind to quit.)

Don't nobody send me nothing if you expect corners cut to get it out the door.

'Xuse my 'Muricun English.....

...Cotten

55FL
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:47 am
Location: N.California

Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#12

Post by 55FL » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:44 am

Original e-mail inquiry went out 10/19/2008, STD reply was 10/20/2008, with the price quote. A follow up call confirmeed the price and the original time estimate was"about a week".
Overjoyed at the speed of the response I sent them off Fed Ex on the 24th. Now it's a six hour drive ( weekend traffic)from where I live to Chatsworth, so I did not expect them to back in my grubby hands the following week or the next.
However when I called to inquire, I was not given a firm answer, but recieved the"... no problem, we'll finish it and send it out next week". Granted , in the big picture it's just a repair, but also in the realm of customer service, it's my repair.
After no further communication from STD, I called today and asked them to send the head back if there were no plans to complete the repair this week. I was told my head would be returned to me.
Meanwhile, the 3rd party vendor whom I bought the heads from and who performed the previous work, had contacted me and expressed a desire to make it right. So I'm awaiting the return and preparing to ship the head back out to Accurate Engineering.

The whole point of this thread has been to draw discussion to the idea of customer service. Perry at FloHeadworks can be a challenge with his attitude but he is straight up with you as to cost and time frame to complete your job, as well as doing first class work. If others who make their living from our love for this lifestyle hope to continue, customer service needs to happen.

I'm not asking for anything I do not provide my customers,... just be upfront when we are conducting business.

VT

Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#13

Post by VT » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:38 pm

Accurate Engineering
They were the "third party vendors"? They called you did they?
Oh they'll make it right. And you know them by now.
So, to anybody else reading this, just remember, in a world of cars, train, and aeroplanes......motorcycles are different and so are the people that work on them. We're a *small community and anything can upset the balance of a small shops work-flow. I appreciate 55FL coming back to give an end to the story. For me, the best way to make an impact on Accurate Engineering, or STD or S&S, is if I send them something to work on, I make sure that I pack the cylinder head or crankcase better than they could ever imagine. When my box is opened in their shop, they find my part(s) wrapped in more stuffing than a Chinese paper-surprise ball. I pack a box inside of a box, insured, with a diagram of what's wrong and blue tape marking everything that I want fixed. I want them to exclaim " @#!x!@# :!: .... man, I didn't think there was there much paper in the entire world...jeez...damn :!: " And then I don't call them for 2 weeks. Anyway, packing it right and including a detailed description of what I think is wrong has always helped. A company like Accurate, with employees that have been there 20+ years, will always send me back my old parts and my original detailed list and it's always re-packed almost as well as I sent it. Nobody packs parts better than me. Nobody.
* According to the fed., a "small business" is any company with yearly gross sales of less than 10 mil.
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
At this time I would like to salute S&S manufacturing's 350 lb. burst strength, double-walled shipping box - and what a fine box it is. An industry standard, this coveted box leads many lives. All of my Accurate Engineering parts arrive in re-cycled "S&S 350" boxes. I save them and the boxes get used over and over. It's just a great box. If they made larger sizes, you could live in them as a permanent residence. Deluxe.

mbskeam
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#14

Post by mbskeam » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:45 am

lo and behold three (3) of five (5) head bolt inserts have pulled approx 1/16" of an inch out of my high dollar S.T.D. head.
this is a STD problem, as the inserts were not installed correctly, or a torque wrench is way outa wack...LOL
as to the oiling issue , if it was not done right by whom ever, it is good to see that they will stand behind there work....

mbskeam

panz4ever
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Re: STD Heads & Customer Service

#15

Post by panz4ever » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:21 pm

So in the interest of keeping this going has anyone got a favorite person/company that you use/recommend for repairs on heads. HeadHog did my first set. The work was first class but turnaround time was excruciating slow (over 6 months). Oh, and I am referring to factory heads.

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