Gun Retailers Customer Service Levels Plummeting

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Stepping onto my soapbox....

Seems like many gun dealers and retailers have forgotten what customer service is in this current gun buying panic. Just putting all on notice, that when this panic subsides, you are going to be begging people like me to purchase from you. And if you are now refusing to answer your phone, treating people like crud in your stores, giving off an attitude that we should be thankful you chose to speak with us, I will never purchase anything from you or do any business of any kind with you for the rest of my days. I have been collecting firearms for 40 years, and spend a large share of my income to support my hobby, and have seen many dealers come and go. And the one thing that all failed gun businesses have in common, besides being out of business, is poor customer service, profiteering, and treating customers discourteously and with disrespect.

I don't care how overworked you are, how inundated with new demand you are, how your distributors are treating you, or how tough your life currently is, nothing is an excuse to be a discourteous jerk or to provide poor customer service. And if you think that as customers we do not have choices for our hard-earned dollars, even in a time of high demand, you are sorely mistaken.

And from reading many comments in these boards, I am not alone in thinking this way.

Off soapbox...
 
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Ok, so I'm going to counter soap box.

Customers who use any disruption to the world view they expect, in order to vent their spleen are a mess. For example, whining about ignoring phone calls, when frankly, the phone is the last thing in their mind when their service queue is already 4 guys deep. At best you get passive aggressive responses from the potential customer once you can get to them, or they go and make pithy comments online, be it yelp or twitter or somewhere else.

Buying from a retailer shouldn't be about them cowtowing to your every immediate need and whim. It's about working together with you to determine what you need, and then best service that. At the end of the day though, they're all people, just like you. bubbleguming and whining or stomping and frothing aren't going to make things move faster. While you may have had 10 minutes of "ruined day," these guys are in the muck and mire all day long facing a very unsure market, and really having no clue what the government is going to do to their ability to live and pay their bills.

Good customer service is good, but many people these days feel that they're entitled to white glove service while buying PBR and Coors.

All that said, there are a lot of gun shops that have issues especially with counter guys that come up with their own laws, or strange interpretations of laws. It was a huge problem in MA. Feedback on that is good, but too often the complaints go off the rails and turn into simple bubblegum fests that bring in completely irrelevant information with a scattergun approach that when taken as a whole, it discounts the quality or usefulness of the feedback given.

Just people being people, it's amusing to me. I see it in my industry all the time, my favorite is always, "These profiteering a-holes are sitting on stocks of inventory, they're doing this to us! AHHHHHH!" So dramatic.
 
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There some that are bad, one in gresham (great prices on glocks) Another just cares about selling now and jacking prices up (milwaukie) It sucks. If I had a place, customer service, get to know the person and get a feel what would work for them, so they dont get something that is worthless to them. If they didnt know bubblegum. Take a class and learn, then come see me. There are too many out there that buy, and are nubes. Thats more dangerous to me.

one thing: at one store in OC, lady comes up to counter, wants a LCP .380 has 3 boxes of ammo. says" I want that gun(lcp) and these boxes to go with it". Clerk. well" This one goes with the gun (380) these two boxes are for a 38 special....Bhahahahahahahahaha. deny selling gun until she gets experience. LMAO inside.
 
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TheHumungus
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Thanks for proving my point. It's obviously the customers fault that the service is so bad! If the customers are to blame for a businesses' poor service, then that business deserves no customers. It's not a matter of demanding white glove service. It's a matter of demanding common courtesy, respect, and appreciating that the fact that someone may be willing to part with their hard earned money in your store. Sure, many customers are jerks. But no one is forcing dealers to be in the gun business, and if they don't know how to deal with unruly customers, then they will be at a competitive disadvantage for those who do know how to respectfully handle idiots. Retail aint for everybody.


Ok, so I'm going to counter soap box.

Customers who use any disruption to the world view they expect, in order to vent their spleen are a mess. For example, whining about ignoring phone calls, when frankly, the phone is the last thing in their mind when their service queue is already 4 guys deep. At best you get passive aggressive responses from the potential customer once you can get to them, or they go and make pithy comments online, be it yelp or twitter or somewhere else.

Buying from a retailer shouldn't be about them cowtowing to your every immediate need and whim. It's about working together with you to determine what you need, and then best service that. At the end of the day though, they're all people, just like you. bubbleguming and whining or stomping and frothing aren't going to make things move faster. While you may have had 10 minutes of "ruined day," these guys are in the muck and mire all day long facing a very unsure market, and really having no clue what the government is going to do to their ability to live and pay their bills.

Good customer service is good, but many people these days feel that they're entitled to white glove service while buying PBR and Coors.

All that said, there are a lot of gun shops that have issues especially with counter guys that come up with their own laws, or strange interpretations of laws. It was a huge problem in MA. Feedback on that is good, but too often the complaints go off the rails and turn into simple bubblegum fests that bring in completely irrelevant information with a scattergun approach that when taken as a whole, it discounts the quality or usefulness of the feedback given.

Just people being people, it's amusing to me. I see it in my industry all the time, my favorite is always, "These profiteering a-holes are sitting on stocks of inventory, they're doing this to us! AHHHHHH!" So dramatic.
 
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What we're missing here is realizing what both the buyer and seller have IN COMMON.
Sellers viewpoint--A dozen people in your shop that can accommodate 4 people wanting items that aren't there (Got any AR's?), or worse not knowing what they want (Can I see the .380, the .45 Long Colt, that 7mm-08 and the 20 gauge?) and not wanting to pay retail for it. You answer their questions as best you can but as some point you realize that they're "just looking" and you move quickly to the customer you think might help you pay the rent this month.
Buyers viewpoint--You jockey for position at the counter at the place your buddy told you about that has suddenly become Calcutta at rush hour. You are well researched on prices and have narrowed your search down to just a couple of options. The store doesn't have any of these choices for you to see and handle. You ask for a suggestion (I was looking for something like a Colt 5" Commander in stainless) and get that look that says the guy behind the counter is fighting every ancient urge he has to fall asleep right then and there because he has answered this question twenty-six hundred times in the last 4 days. You are prepared to spend $500-$600 today but they don't HAVE what you WANT. The fella behind the counter may even go so far as to give you a lot of "expert" advise or go and presume you and he have the same political views. Why is it you don't get that kind of attitude when you buy a hamburger?
Please, for the love of the firearms COMMUNITY, let the shop owners make a profit and let the customers give you money.
NOW...the BOTH of you,...shake hands and get over it.
 
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I have had good customer service at most of the shops I normally go to.. centerfire, classic arms, dinzag, copes... been waiting a month for a few items but it comes with the times. I get emails responded to within a day or so.

You should know the shops with poor service by now, so don't shop there
 
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i expect the delays and just wait patiently. I feel for the gunshop owners right now, it must be very frustrating. Some places are just bad though, and even in good times. K-var for instance, I ordered a gun and couple mags from them on 12/20, it said in stock. I got nothing from them since, no email or call or anything. Tried calling and they have a front end message that tells you they are not answering the phone on purpose and to send them an email. I have emailed them every other day for the past 2 weeks and have not gotten a reply. No excuse for service that terrible.
 
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i expect the delays and just wait patiently. I feel for the gunshop owners right now, it must be very frustrating. Some places are just bad though, and even in good times. K-var for instance, I ordered a gun and couple mags from them on 12/20, it said in stock. I got nothing from them since, no email or call or anything. Tried calling and they have a front end message that tells you they are not answering the phone on purpose and to send them an email. I have emailed them every other day for the past 2 weeks and have not gotten a reply. No excuse for service that terrible.
That's a pile of crap.

I'd file a charge back and let my them chat with my credit card company. Ain't nobody got time for that.
 
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Well I can say after working in a sporting goods shop on weekends for the last 10 years that this last month has been F-ing hell.

I try to be the best employee I can. I try to be a very kind and courteous person but after the 15 person before lunch that’s start yelling in your face that your lying and have some in the back room of whatever he wants or I drove all over hell cuz my buddy told me you had some yesterday, and then you spend 2 hours 17 minutes on the phone for a background check to have the guy get delayed you tend to get a little edgy cuz he wants it now before they ban it. We even walked out 3 people for causing a scene.

We went from 20 guns a day to 100 and have gone through 2.5 years of ammo in a month and the great news is we are hearing 6 to 9 months on stuff we ordered before any of this happen and if they ban it we may not see it and our business will be hit hard to stay afloat.

Then to top it off these are not my loyal bread and butter customers they are some shmuck who is panicked about what is going on or someone looking to buy low and sell high that we have never seen before and probably will never see again when this all settles down.

So if you came into the shop I work in I am sorry we did not kiss your *** as we try our best to make people happy.

Yes I sound cold and hart less but it is easy to get that way when it is the way you’re treated every day for a month.

And by the way the customer is not always right.

Rant over
 
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What it boils down to is customers don't like being told "no," and there are only so many ways to do/say it.

Phone rings, Joe counterman answers:
"Bob's Gun Shop, how can I help you?"
"Got any ARs?"
No.
"Got any mags?"
No.
"Got any 5.56/223 ammo?"
No.
"Can I order some?"
Sorry, but no, because we have no idea when we'll get some in, and all of our sources have dried up.
(Meanwhile, the six people at the counter are getting pissy because they are being ignored while Joe is on the phone)

Phone question guy gets pissed and hangs up on Joe, turns to his friends in the forum and makes crappy remarks to any that will read, that customer service sucks. It must be so, because he made 5 phone calls and the results were the same every time.

Well pardon-freakin'-me, because you didn't get white-glove treatment, when you asked the same questions the last 300 callers asked, and aren't any better at hearing "no" than the last 299.
(and the phone is ringing AGAIN at Bob's Gun Shop, and there are now 7 customers at the counter, waiting to be told "no")

The bottom line is customer service people don't know what to tell you, because with volume high, and stocks either dwindling fast or non-existent, there are no good answers or easy answers, and certainly few if any "yes" answers.
And because you're tired of being told "no" you believe they don't want to help.
That's not the case.
They'd love to have the stock so they'd be in the running for sales-person-of-the-month.
But for the moment, they are out of stock, tired of having to say no, tired of pissy customers that won't take no for an answer, and tired of getting hung up on.

So tell us, were you the guy on the phone, or one of the pissy ones at the counter?

Oh and:
And if you think that as customers we do not have choices for our hard-earned dollars, even in a time of high demand, you are sorely mistaken.
If you are so sure there are a myriad of choices at the moment, please share with the forum your hidden sources for all these guns/mags/ammo, and we'll see how long their stocks last, and how friendly and personable their employees are 2 weeks after they've run out.
 
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i expect the delays and just wait patiently. I feel for the gunshop owners right now, it must be very frustrating. Some places are just bad though, and even in good times. K-var for instance, I ordered a gun and couple mags from them on 12/20, it said in stock. I got nothing from them since, no email or call or anything. Tried calling and they have a front end message that tells you they are not answering the phone on purpose and to send them an email. I have emailed them every other day for the past 2 weeks and have not gotten a reply. No excuse for service that terrible.
I am having the same problem with them. After browsing the different forums I found that people who ordered "in stock" rifles 3 weeks ago are just now getting emails saying that is is out of stock and too bad. I am going to be not happy if that is the case for my order.
 
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I am having the same problem with them. After browsing the different forums I found that people who ordered "in stock" rifles 3 weeks ago are just now getting emails saying that is is out of stock and too bad. I am going to be not happy if that is the case for my order.
But what is the gun store to do, when some/many/most manufacturers are gun shy about building things that may be illegal to sell in 90 days, and CAN'T promise to fill the gun store's order?
 
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There are 4 LGS's in my area.
One is run by a guy who looks like he's waiting for the apocalypse so he can do some live fire drills on NATO troops.
Second is run like it is the guy's retirement coffee shop and only his buddies are welcome.
Third is run by a really nice guy who is helpful, honest and straight forward. He had plenty of stock, just no AR platforms (which I don't want).
Fourth is run by a couple who were courteous, helpful and accommodating even though it looks like a horde of post-Katrina New Orleans refugees swept through. I could have fit all their stock in one U-haul moving box.

These are my first impressions, and they held true on my second visit to each shop. The first two I visited a couple years ago, between obama scares and I have not been back. The second two I visited in the last couple weeks and they will get my business because they were big on customer service. To me that just means they were courteous. Of course, I treat them the same way, which goes a long way.
 

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