What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#1 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:20 pm

I have been looking around for a 2,200 ft 16mm take up reel; plenty new in America, but not here. CHC advertise some 2,000 ft reels, I thought I would take a chance and email Phil. I got a reply 'I have a 2,200 ft reel at £12, postage a problem', end of conversation. I got through on the phone and spoke to a lady and asked him to email me with the price of postage; 3 hours later nothing. I rang again, this time a young woman answered the phone and put him on. Phil said it's too big for letter post and parcel post is £15, and suggested I order one when I order something else. I told him I didn't have anything else to order at present. Then I asked him about other couriers, and suggested Parcel2go as one. He said he knew about them but it would take his time up looking. So he lost a sale.

I then took a chance and emailed Paul Foster, who replied that he could supply me with one for £16 post included. No problem. The reel is on it's way as I write.

There was a time when the private shopkeeper would look after his customers. With 3 or 4 people working for Phil I wouldn't have thought it was too much trouble for someone to look up the price, or look after the shop while he did it. Looking at his lists every month, he doesn't seem to be shifting his used prints that quickly that he doesn't have 5 mins to deal with an enquiry. It's not the first time I haven't been able to buy something from him because he couldn't be bothered. We have always been a minority interest and now we are an even smaller minority, so you wouldn't think that anyone in the business would turn down the chance of a sale. I hope members will remember this story next time someone tells us to 'Use him or lose him'.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#2 by Andrew Woodcock , Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:56 pm

Robert, you make some superb points there Sir!

You are not on your own with your experiences there. I've often heard it said that Phil has a canny knack of making YOU the customer feel as though they are doing you the favour by selling their goods to you in the first place!

Phil's health isn't always what it could be it has to said and of course as we all get older, we all know we can all have off days.
To this end, I suppose we should be grateful to Phil that at least we here in the UK have the very last dedicated Cine Shop still selling new product!

Paul is a completely different animal I find and he generally will bend over backwards to assist a collector with a purchase.
He deals constantly with the couriers out there and therefore gives you a great rate on such matters.

Anyhow, glad you got fixed up Robert and equally, just so very pleased we still have competition in the marketplace for such products!



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#3 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:07 am

I have had very good films from Phil: I messaged him once about a special adaptor so that a normal exterior loudspeaker could be connected to the TQ1 and later models. He said he had a box full but couldn't just lay his hands on them, I never heard any more; so another sale not gone through. Then he advertises a Bell & Howell Filmo 70A. I tried to get this several years ago, said he would sort it out and tidy it up before posting, then he asked me if I wanted it for display purposes, I said 'No, I want to use it', next thing I know, they claim the key is lost and they have refunded my money. The Camera continues to be advertised, no mention of a missing key. Having said that, we are lucky to have someone who can supply belts, lens sleeves, and I don't know what else.

Paul Foster has supplied most of my 16mm features, as I go for the older movies, and with his grading I always know what I am getting. Enjoyed one of my latest purchases tonight.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#4 by Steve Carter , Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:59 am

I had the same Robert, when I asked if he had a sleeve for my lens, he said he would look 2 emails from me x nothing in reply, the same happened with the cleaning fluid the postage worked out at £15, nearly double the cost of the cleaner.
Yesterday we had a 'Tradesman' in, I say tradesman in a very loose term, as he thought it was OK to F and use other swear words in conversation with myself and my Wife, you might say why not report him...well he told us he's the Director of the company.


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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#5 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:42 am

That's not good Steve, using bad language in front of your wife. I did get a B&H sleeve from CHC, I rang them on the phone, and he gave me the price and took payment. I estimate that the postage on a reel will be £4 or less, you could probably send the film cleaner for the same price by courier. I answered the request to support Phil's magazine by spending time putting two articles together and providing pictures. I shan't be doing that again.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#6 by Andrew Woodcock , Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:22 pm

This is the sorrowful part about all this.

Tom on here regularly promotes Phil's cause with the excellent collecting magazine, but I wonder just how many would contribute more if Phil's
Approach to customer service was say a little more like "Perry's" for example?

Just a thought...


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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#7 by Vidar Olavesen , Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:46 pm

My my problem with Phil Sheard is that when I ask more than one question in an email, he replies only to one :-/ But, I appreciate his efforts to try to keep the hobby alive.


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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#8 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:16 am

This surprised me reading these posts. I have dealt with Phil for many many years now and have never had a problem
with him. He always bends over backwards to help me with my enquiries and offers very good advice.
In fact when I was picking up some films and a projector from Cleethorpes I was invited round to his house to see his
collection and his Home Cinema and some coffee. His wife Denise is very polite and warm too and does a lot of the work
in keeping the shop running during Phil's current illness.
When we were round at his home he gave my son an Elf 16mm Sound film projector for FREE and a couple of Walt Disney
colour cartoons. Now how is that for customer service ? 5 Stars I would say.
Over the years Phil has done lots to keep our hobby going at a financial loss to himself. Please bear in mind that CHC are the last
shop dealing with FILM in the UK. So use it or lose it. So hats off to Phil and his small team at CHC and for a wonderful Film Collecting Magazine.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#9 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:22 am

As a "footnote" to the above I think we are lucky to have any of them these days be they shop based or mailorder only.


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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#10 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:32 am

I do use use him, but as you have seen I am not the only one with problems. I think he knows some customers better than others, like our Hugh Scott; Phil only knows me from the ocassional order, and probably forgets me afterwards. He advertises 2,000 reels for sale, so the 2,200 would be the same to dispatch, yet there was a problem. His email was very brief, and I had to phone him to learn what the problem was. Perhaps you are one of his better customers and he remembers you by name. If it wasn't for Paul Foster I would still be without a reel and unable to show my film. We both need each other, it's not one sided.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#11 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:35 am

Americans seem better catered for than we are, Urbanski sells these large take up reels at about $13, but they have a minimum order price, and I don't know what the postage would be. Some sellers charge a reasonable postage and others make a huge profit I think.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#12 by Andrew Woodcock , Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:21 am

I think Robert makes a valid point there. If Phil sees an individual as some kind of "fly by night" pretender who is here today, gone tomorrow then I think he deals with them differently.

I am not certain which category I fall into but I have purchased quite a lot from Phil since arriving back in the hobby after a 20+ year absence.


 
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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#13 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:17 pm

Andrew, can you believe my absence from the hobby was about 30 years, I never had any thoughts of selling films; glad I am back into it, now here to stay.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#14 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:55 pm

I can understand Robert's annoyance when clearly he wasn't getting any help or encouragement from Phil, it isn't good either way,
for proprietor or customer. I have dealt with Phil now for many years, I speak as I find, so can only judge by my own experience.
Phil is usually helpful, he is a very generous man I have found, he sent me a 400' edition of a film he knows I love "City of the Dead"
only a few months ago, he searched for a cable I needed for a projector, a couple of days elapsed but he came up with the goods.
I know that the lad is ill, his medication does knock him for six, and it could have been one of these days that Robert chose to try
to buy his spool. Granted that Phil's postal system needs looking at too, it is frustrating that film cleaner, a totally harmless product
must be sent under disguise by another order, our stupid Postal system must bear some of the blame here, various solvents, paints
paint strippers, paint thinners, aerosols etc are sent through the mails every day to no ill effect, why single out a film lubricant?
I can see both sides of this problem, to be fair Phil should have taken Robert's order, if necessary getting back to him with a quote
for postage, surely Phil can't afford lost sales like that, even if someone else had taken Robert's request, it meant a sale and a happy
customer. To finish off, I must also add that Phil has done a lot for this ailing hobby, he even tried to import a s/8 projector for sale
to collectors, but he doesn't always get the support he should get at the time, apathy being a prime cause.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#15 by Dave Alligan , Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:08 pm

I offered Phil 2 35mm trailers to Skyfall (Teaser & Full) which I thought would make a great super 8 release but he turned them down flat so I didn't bother anymore and wont offer any more in the future.
I don't know of any business today in this economic climate that can turn down sales from customers.


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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#16 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi Dave, it might just be the costs of printing, he might be at his limit on printing, I don't know, but as you rightly say, there
are a lot of "Bond" fans out there who would be glad of that release, or maybe the Germans have already done it.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#17 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:21 pm

There could be a problem getting the rights to it, but it would be very popular I think. I will end my rant by saying that I received my reel today. It was sent by Royal Mail and came with the letters. Price was £16 inclusive, so I don't think postage was £15, with £1 left for the reel. Prices are the same for everyone, so I don't know where Phil got his £15 postage quote from. No one is into bashing Phil, just speaking from experience.

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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#18 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:01 pm

It wasn't a rant Robert, it was just a disgruntled customer wondering why he couldn't get his article delivered, I felt the same way about Cresclene.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#19 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:28 pm

In the past Phil has offered at a loss... to get new magnetic sound-heads made for Elmo GS 1200 projectors if enough orders or interest
was shown. A poor response from collectors prevented this.
The same can be said of the NEW Fumeo Super 8mm projector. Again not enough orders were placed to make this go ahead. A "prototype"
was made and tested but to no avail.
Phil also gets NEW PRINT releases struck at a loss to himself from which very little is sold. I feel he has now very little patience for "time wasters"
these days and quite rightly so. This man has a real passion for the hobby and we don't want to lose him anytime soon.
I could name and shame some film dealers for a number of reasons but I wont. However I think you would get a big surprise who they are.



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Last edited Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:28 pm | Top

RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#20 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:01 pm

Who are time wasters?; I wanted to buy something he had, more than once, but he couldn't be bothered, so I found another supplier.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#21 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:26 pm

It's a sure way of losing customers to be sure, Robert was waiting, cash in his hot little hand to make his purchase, post in this country tries desperately to make life difficult, it must be a certain size or it goes Parcelforce, what is it ? etc, Phil's best bet would be to use
a courier, that way he can inform his customers what mailing charges will be. On the whole, I have found the dealers to be very helpful
and courteous, I have had a couple of run ins with Derann, I got the impression that I was being buggered about, this was after Derek passed on, remedy, I stopped buying from them, I would be hard pressed to find fault with any of the dealers we have now, I ring up or email them, film is purchased, no probs. I think we are very fortunate to have them still in this day and age, but they couldn't exist without customers like Robert.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#22 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:33 pm

The only thing I don't like about Couriers is that they often don't give you a time slot for collection, can be anywhere between 8am and 8pm, so you can lose a whole day watching through the window for them. On the plus side, their prices are often much lower than RM, the item is often tracked, and handled better.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#23 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:44 pm

That is very true Robert, fortunately I tell them that if I'm not available, bung it in the shed and snap the lock, same with the
post, works a treat, saves me trailing down to Mail Office or return deliveries for the postman, everyones a winner.



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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#24 by Andrew Woodcock , Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:34 pm

The only thing I don't like about couriers is the way they handle heavy fragile goods such as projectors.

Never had an issue with films but every projector I've ever sent bar one has had some mishandling in one form or another


 
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RE: What happened to good old fashioned customer service?

#25 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:46 pm

I was worried when I sent my projector off for a new worm gear to Kevin Brown, I wrapped it well, but nothing could stand bad handling. Incredibly, it only cost £8 to send by Hermes; Kevin thought it best to send back by UPS. The projector survived both journeys. The first time I ever used a courier service I was given a time slot and chose 9-11am, now I don't see to get that option.



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