Contacting Expedition Imports

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hackcampbell
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Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by hackcampbell » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:08 am

Howdy folks,
I reckon this question is to those who have purchased from EI in the past (most, I assume). I've been trying for a couple months to get a hold of them to order some small parts identified in the part drawings which aren't specifically listed on their website. Unfortunately, phone calls, emails (directly to Scott), and tickets have gone unanswered.

It appears that they have updated their website this summer, so I don't suspect they're inactive.

I hate to appear naïve, but is there something I'm missing? Have people successfully ordered from them in the last couple months? Is there a secret handshake involved somewhere?
1974 Pinzgauer 710M

unimog2450
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by unimog2450 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:06 pm

I too was reached out to them a couple of months ago specifically to purchase a Gelandewagen and Haflinger to replace another Gwagen I just sold. I left voice messages to various 'departments', and placed an online request thru their site with NO response.

Lost business? Yes. I purchased another Gwagen and a Haflinger somewhere else. Not sure where customer service etiquette across all industries has gone. And, as a paying advertiser on this site, I would have expected some type of response. Poor use of advertising dollars.

Hope everything is OK with the business.

Merrick
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by Merrick » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:31 pm

Scott is overseas at the moment and super busy but one of his other guys should have gotten back to ya. :-\
712FAL 76 Austrian
710K 74 Austrian

Terra1936
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by Terra1936 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:14 pm

I ordered through website and shipping and delivery were super fast and awesome. However any fringe or other items have resulted in NO return calls or emails. Bummer!

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ExpeditionImports
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by ExpeditionImports » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:15 pm

Hi Guys,

Not all inquiries will be returned. Just the world we live in. Unfortunately in the last 5-7 years it appears that OUR RESPONSIBILITY is to teach a customer how to be a master mechanic. Or how to read a website. Or to provide the verbal information for a repair because they are not willing to purchase and read the repair manuals. Or to call 11 times in 1 hour as they are sitting in their local Napa and want to know a crossover part number so they can buy the oil filter there.....(last week.) I digress...... This may or may not apply to any of the above individuals, but nevertheless directly impacts our ability to respond to legitimate requests.

Instead of attempting to respond to every inquiry we are required to make a judgement call on a response. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. No excuses. If I am looking to return a call for readily available nuts and washers, versus a hub reduction, the HR will get the focus. The hope would be that EVERY call/email gets a response, but unfortunately the Pinzgauer customer base does not support that level of overhead.

Let there be no question, I believe we are in the middle of a HUGE shift in retail and customer support/service. When was the last time you got technical support on your Amazon Order? I've tried numerous times....it doesn't exist. However, we are expecting brick and mortar retail to offer the same pricing, shipping, and order fulfillment of an Amazon, but in addition the customer support/service of a brick and mortar operation from the 1950's.

Hackcampbell, your request for basic screws and washers did not get responded to as they are available from pretty much every hardware store in North America. If you are still having difficulty things have slowed and I can probably help out.

Unimog2450 missed the inquiry, although when I just looked it up, you were wanting our 250GD ASAP, and it is currently awaiting a transmission.

So far this week: we have 113 ticket support requests. 69 have been solved this week. 37 Voicemails, and 144 phone conversations. Have we missed some.....I am sure. When you do get us we will do our best to help you out. However, I would urge people to consider what they are requesting. If you are calling to get tech support for a part you purchased elsewhere, please call THAT vendor. Or if you really need to know the firing order of the pinz engine (page 202) operators manual, please check the manual. I asked a customer THIS WEEK why he was not willing to ask a question on the forum....."I don't want people to think I am lazy." "Dude you just called me 3 times to ask the belt size of the Pinz fanbelt....."

I appreciate our customers and we will do the best that we can. However, keep in mind last year Pinzgauer Parts and Vehicle sales made up about 15% of my total business, and I would venture to guess took up 40% of my time........

Cheers,

Scott Ingham
Back from Europe and Digging thru requests/emails.
Expedition Imports Corporation
Vallejo, California
Phone: 707-643-6757
www.expedition-imports.com

pinzinator
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by pinzinator » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:17 pm

I have to agree with Scott 100%. I have to wonder sometimes if customers actually own a voltmeter, a fuel pressure gauge, or metric tools. This is very basic if you're working on tuning a Pinz. I can't troubleshoot your Pinzgauer with an email, either.

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hackcampbell
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by hackcampbell » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:22 pm

Scott,
I appreciate your response, and understand where you're coming from. I think many of us have worked in industries that suffer from the 80/20 rule, so we can appreciate that. My original post was made without malice, and was a genuine attempt to understand the situation. From my side of the screen, unanswered tickets, unanswered emails to different addresses, and unanswered calls are a good indicator that you could be inactive. As a potential first time buyer and someone with no relationship with you, I have no idea how active you and your team are, so this was the best place to find out.

Having said that, I don't think this response is fair: "Hackcampbell, your request for basic screws and washers did not get responded to as they are available from pretty much every hardware store in North America."

My inquiry wasn't entirely for basic screws and washers; I also asked about finding leather straps and buckles which I couldn't add to my cart. Your blog specifically states that you sometimes get behind on pricing (totally understandable) and that contacting you via ticket is the best way to resolve that (also totally understandable). The resources you maintain on your website, your activity on this forum, and your willingness to work with the customer to sell parts is what led me to select you first for my purchase. I intended to purchase other parts listed on your website, but wanted to identify the leather and buckles first so I could do a single order. While I understand that a hub is higher on your priority list than leather, minimizing my efforts to find parts you might be behind on listing to a "request for basic screws and washers" isn't an entirely accurate representation of my tickets. And while the hardware is available in stores, there's no reason not to think you might also sell it. As a consumer, ordering the hardware via the parts list is a sure fire way to make sure I get the exact hardware I need and save a trip or two to the store. Who knows, maybe you have a shelf with common nuts and washers for sale, that doesn't sound unreasonable.

I understand you are frustrated to be the focus of so many tech support calls from people who are new to the hobby, however, all of the responses in this thread to my original question (and PMs directly to me) are from people attempting to purchase parts and vehicles. People wasting your time with questions about fan belts and information available in the manuals sucks, and appears to be a major waste of your time, but that isn't what people in this thread were looking for. We just wanted to buy what you were selling.

I hope you recognize this stemmed from a good-faith effort to follow your directions to purchase parts you didn't have itemized on your website.

I like the value you add to this community, I want you and your business to succeed, and I intend to purchase from you in the future and maintain a relationship, so I hope you have a generous interpretation of this dialogue.
1974 Pinzgauer 710M

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ExpeditionImports
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by ExpeditionImports » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:15 am

Hi hackcampbell,

As I mentioned it is a judgement call and there are times when we get it wrong. We appreciate the dialogue and I assure you if you ever get the chance to meet me you will understand that I do enjoy debate and discussion that will make us better. You will also learn quickly that I do not sugarcoat the truth.

The "canned" corporate response would have gone something along the lines of: "every customer is precious and we will strive to make sure it never happens again yada yada yada." In reality that is simply retail giving you the middle finger because it is what the consumer wants to hear. In reality what you are experiencing is an industry wide problem that is garnering all types of "solutions." How about the AI customer service rep that does a reasonable job of having a conversation with you until it turns technical and crashes....and then pisses off the customer because they just realized they have been conversing with a computer put there to appease their feelings of being appreciated. Some companies are finding this is having the reverse effect with customers and might be worse than no response....

Honestly, I believe the future of technical support is going to be coming from small groups like these when it comes to specialized vehicles. Even that is becoming more difficult if you compare Unimog/Pinzgauer BB's of today compared to 10 years ago.... Our support of Real4x4 has always been because we appreciate the service that Vince offers our community, and far less about the advertising which as many know we do not really do much of.

Even today, the beauty of the U.S. is that if someone can do it better, they are able to jump into the market and take their shot. I would honestly ENCOURAGE this as at this point we have seen a healthy group of Pinz retailers/vendors shrink by about 80%. That simply tells me that the market is not there to support that many healthy businesses.

Back to my conference meeting.....they keep giving me dirty looks as I type this......

Cheers,

Scott
Expedition Imports Corporation
Vallejo, California
Phone: 707-643-6757
www.expedition-imports.com

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VinceAtReal4x4s
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:04 pm

Thanks Scott.

And are all those parts you are bringing in Unimog only, or are there other things mixed in there? Ran into any Gwagen parts lots?
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ExpeditionImports
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Re: Contacting Expedition Imports

Post by ExpeditionImports » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:45 am

Our Sept. Parts trip consisted primarily of Unimog parts. We loaded out 47 tons and subsequently unloaded them yesterday in Vallejo. There were some other parts mixed in (New GE230 Canvas Tops, ex) but in general it was Unimog parts. Last year it was a batch of Swiss Military Pinz parts. Surplus parts for all of the vehicles is getting very hit and miss. The Unimog parts come from a purchase that we did in 2005 and store overseas as it is cheaper than CA warehousing costs.

The surplus G-parts will be a bit hit and miss as the replacement for the Swiss GE230 is also a G-wagon so it is not as clear cut for the depots on what parts to purge from their inventories, but we do expect some parts lots to make it out. My gut is they will go EXPENSIVE. In regards to the Pinz.....the only remaining military parts stocks are currently located in NO GO countries that currently would not be viable. It will be interesting to see what happens when/if the factory decides to dis-continue their Pinz parts support.

The bigger question for all of those in the parts business is simple ROI. If I invest a million this year in spare parts, it is likely I will not see returns on that investment for MANY years. 20 years ago I was willing to make those gambles. Today it is not nearly as easy of a decision. Declining vehicle stocks, lack of interest from the younger generations, regulatory compliance issues, shift in business customer support expectations, business exit strategy, all weigh heavy on these types of decisions.

Just so people do not misunderstand our commitment.....in 2017 and 2018 alone we have on-boarded some significant spare parts inventories totaling well over 1.5 million. Those are investments for the future. What we are also working on is a BALANCE between work and life. The past 20 years our work was our life. Those times are changing. What we need are a few passionate twenty-thirty somethings that want to shake up the Pinz world and make their mark......if you are reading this give us a call!!!!

Probably a longer reply than needed, but it's morning coffee time.......

Cheers,

Scott
Expedition Imports Corporation
Vallejo, California
Phone: 707-643-6757
www.expedition-imports.com

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