Tag Archives: av

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I love PS Audio and respect Paul McGowan, but he is way off on this post.

He writes about an AV store that is supposedly closing, mostly in response to a so called customer who bought a Soundbar from someone who couldn’t service him and then went to this AV store for support. He wanted their services for free and they they refused. Sound fair? It does to me and this is what I do for a living, every day.

First off, Paul is incorrect in their assertion that they are closing. They aren’t closing, but are  going to an “By Appointment Only” format. He should check his facts before he publishes something like this.

Secondly, those of us that have put in countless hours of work,  research and money into our businesses, do not have the time for people that are simply cheapskates and have no interest in paying for the knowledge and support they need. We call them cheapskates and at 66, I have no tolerance for people like this..

I respect Paul, but he is way off on this one. I’d say a “heartfelt act of kindness” is supporting your local high end audio and video dealer and not asking for free advice from someone who pays a price every day to try and make a living, which in AV, is increasingly difficult..

Here is his post and I really don’t like this one..

Shuttering the shop

In a recent industry newsletter, a retailer decided to close their doors, shuttering their operations.

This wouldn’t have normally caught my eye because it happens a lot in this changing economy. But, their reasons for throwing in the towel startled me:

“An elderly gentleman recently stopped into our retail store carrying his sound bar and a set of directions—well, I assumed they were directions—for what he possessed was paperwork. He came with an issue and a plea for help.

“This doesn’t work,” he proclaimed.

As we always begin, we asked, “What is your last name so that we can look you up in our system?” The man looked at my front-of-house salesperson with a straight face and replied:

“Oh, I did not purchase this here. I just need help. I don’t want to pay… I’m sure it is simple. I’m sure you can tell me,” he said.

And this, dear readers, plus countless other illustrations, is why we have decided to close our retail doors; …people that will not, even with the best salesperson, turn into clients; tire kickers; those who believe you owe them because they shopped locally.”

Wow. As if a retail shop was a member’s only club, open only to those willing to pay—closed to all others.

Putting a price tag on an act of kindness is so counter to our own core beliefs that I am impossibly thankful they have decided to close their doors. It was the right decision.

Heartfelt acts of kindness are the currency of success. Once the heart hardens, it’s time to change the diet.





Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I have a saying that when you’re selling anything, you are only as good as the last good thing you did. Once you do anything bad, on purpose or not, you are usually finished with that customer/person.

I’ve felt that way as long as I can remember, and recently had another episode and with me, they are very few and far between. I don’t remember another exactly like this, but I cant remember when I last had someone bad mouthing me and would guess it’s been over 20 years. All  I was trying to do was help someone and it came back to bite me on the butt. The road to hell is truly paved with good intentions, but its a small bump in the road and you can’t fix everything, so you move forward, although guys like this make me want to quit the AV business.

As far as Paul’s story below, he probably had to pay the fee personally due to state laws, but the dealership should have made good on it with a free oil change.

The $17.20 customer service fiasco

The lease on my little Audi A3 ran out last month and I was excited to go pick up my new car—a car I had purchased online without ever going to a dealer or interacting with another human being other than via email. A new experience. And, I love new experiences.

This particular car company makes only electric vehicles. They are said to have the greatest customer service in the world—a familiar premise since PS Audio prides itself on offering the same in our industry. A match made in heaven.

On the appointed day Terri and I traveled to downtown Denver. It was hot, the mercury soared to 94. But the dealer had an air-conditioned delivery room and we were ushered inside the cool of the room with a smile and a handshake. And there she was, my new ride, along with four others awaiting their new owners. Business must be good. She glistened under the fluorescents: dark, metallic gray on the outside, cream, and oak on the inside.

Our rep walked us through the vehicle’s operation, spending a good hour answering questions and being helpful. It was time to sign the papers: title, loan docs—a hundred pages I would never read nor care what they said—mere formalities as just that morning we had emailed each other confirming everything was in order: insurance docs, down payment wired to their bank, credit approval stamped and certified.

“All we need is you,” said the friendly email, and we came.

Near the end of the paper signing, just as we were wrapping up, the kindly rep vanished and in walks Jeffrey, the manager that I had been emailing with. Seems there was a problem.

“Did you bring a check with you?” Jefferey asked and “no” we hadn’t.

“Seems Colorado surprised us just this morning with a new documents fee. $17.20, to be exact,” said Jeffrey, “and this will need to be paid before we can give you the vehicle.”

Surely this was a joke. “I am guessing the dealership can simply cover this?” I said. “Considering what we just paid…”

“No,” said Jeffrey, “we don’t discount the vehicles. Company policy.”

But, I wasn’t asking for a discount. Merely asking them to cover a pittance payment on a surprise expense they incurred on my behalf. Not wanting to spoil the euphoria of the moment and somewhat in disbelief, I reached into my wallet and flipped him a twenty. “Keep the change,” I said with a half-hearted smile.

“We don’t take cash,” said the internet savvy manager, “I’ll need a check or a wire transfer.”

Have you ever wanted to lunge across the table and put your hands around someone’s neck? Get angry like you dreamed of doing to the schoolyard bully but never had the cajones to actually do it?

It was finally Terri to the rescue. She had been digging through her purse the entire time we two banty roosters were squaring off and finally found an emergency check.

“You know this has ruined this experience for me,” I let him know, but the empathy that could have helped had been lost somewhere in the rules he pleaded he had no control over. Lost in his lack of creativity to accept the $20 and write his own check, or trust me to wire transfer the paltry sum upon my return, or better still, have the dealership absorb it.

The $17.20 was inconsequential to both me and the car company. It’s lunch for two at a fast food joint. What they seemed to misunderstand is the real cost of treating a customer so poorly. This car company relies on the referrals of happy owners. And, while the vehicle itself is a dream, I would never subject anyone I cared about to this kind of customer service.

Do I matter to them? No. But treating customers with respect matters a great deal to all of us. Or, at least it should.

It’s a shame when companies get too big to care, to empower the managers through training or relaxed rules to do what’s right in these odd situations.

That $17.20 won’t go far to helping their bottom line, but it just might cost a lot more than they anticipated.