Very slow service

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I sent my several month-old 6700 back to Flex two weeks ago as it wasn't putting out any RF. Tim assured me it would go into the urgent queue (it did), and it was received on July 21. After not hearing anything for a week, I asked for the status on the support ticket, and just now received this reply (technician's name redacted):

"Hi. I have been on vacation and we are swamped.We will get to it as soon as we can. Thank you."

Two weeks is a long time for an urgent request, and I have to believe Flex has more than one technician to diagnose and repair high-end radios. I run my own business (high tech - medical field), and if I was this slow to respond to customers, I wouldn't be able to afford to buy Flex's (or anyone else's radios). I tried to find a direct number to call, but I only get the answering service. Emails go to the generic service inbox as well.

I have to say that I'm very frustrated. Between having a very expensive radio fail after a few months and being without it for three weeks now, and waiting almost a year for a Maestro (I'm still waiting), my sentiment toward the company is beginning to sour. I had to send another piece of equipment back for warranty service in Texas on the same day that the 6700 went back to Flex, and it was fixed and returned, and has been in my shack for a week as of today. Why the difference? I was really hoping to have the 6700 back for this weekend's NA QSO Party, but clearly that's not going to happen.

I don't usually vent publicly, but don't feel as if there's any other way to get attention to the situation in this case.

Eric NC6K
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Eric Gruff

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  • Irritated and frustrated

Posted 2 years ago

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Gerry Jurrens

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I wonder if they could at least provide you with a loaner...
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Mike Eddinger

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Great.... I just tried to use my Radio for first time in a year last night..... Software shows I am in transmit mode, but no RF power is indicated... zip.  I hope it's something stupid I am doing since the software upgrade...


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Danny K5CG

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Nice way to hijack a topic there Mike,
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Kevin

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Maybe. Or maybe Mike is just saying he's concerned he's going to face the same problem Eric faces. In both cases, I hope they get up and running quickly as possible. Resources issues seem to be a way of life here.

Mike... if you are looking for help maybe open up a new post with a full description. Someone may have a quick answer for you.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Mike, When transmitting, the TX icon in the lower right band corned will indicate if there is a TX interlock issue while transmitting.  Placing your mouse cursor over the icon will show the detail of why the radio is not transmitting.  What does it say?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Eric,

We are down to one service tech right now due to a recent death in the FlexRadio family. Our current service tech was on vacation (and a well deserved one at that).  

Thank you for your patience while we get your radio repaired.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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To bad about you problem, there is alway one person who falls through the cracks. What I do know is Flex considers this important, posting here or not.

In my case,,you may have read my post about how amazing their service was for me.
Dudley was my contact, and he took care of things. I called Flex a few times to talk to him, no problem. Or anyone I wished to talk to.

I hope you get it back soon, my radio was one week turn around and thats crossing the boarder to Canada.

Sorry about the death Tim,
I will re- state, he did not fall through any cracks, just a timing  issue.
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Its pretty obvious for most of us who have been around for a while that flex genuinely cares about its customers and in no way want to leave people hanging intentionally.  All small businesses get backlogs and have resource issues.  there are busy times and slow times.  bottom line is that repair queue status can vary greatly based on how many things are on the backlog, and the severity of the issues received and unanticipated resource turnover.  an example is the elecraft repair backlog is almost 6 weeks right now..  Dealing with an unanticipated death in a small business is extremely difficult to manage for obvious reasons. 

   That being said setting customer expectation is a big part of this, And it may not have occurred as best it could in this case.  Being notified in advance of a backlog could be useful in diffusing some of this frustration and some competing vendors do this quite effectively.  Something for the team to work on...

~C.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Chris,

I appreciate your comments, but we do set expectations.  Specifically, in Eric's ticket, it says..

Your HelpDesk support ticket has been converted to a High Priority RMA to resolve your hardware issue as quickly as possible. While a High Priority RMA places your service request in the highest priority work queue, current service workloads and available resources may affect the actual time to resolve your issue.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Your right Tim.  I realize that what I said here could be taken out of context.  so just to be clear I wanted to reiterate the first line that conveys my true opinion.

"ts pretty obvious for most of us who have been around for a while that flex genuinely cares about its customers and in no way want to leave people hanging."

There is no way for me to know more about this other than that line.  bottom line is there are few companies that spend the clock cycles that flex does trying to do their best to help.
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Kevin

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Chris, Elecraft is probably not a good comparison. I know of at least one, maybe two cases where Elecraft has offered loaner radios to hams. One recently to an overseas ham whose shack had burned down. I'm not sure about the six weeks service queue. No experience with any failures. Elecraft offers schematics of their devices and doesn't void warranties for turning a screw and peeking and poking inside.

While there seems to be plenty of E vs. F to go around (what a silly thing), I know you and I are both pretty happy customers of both companies. I think both companies have plenty of very strong and possibly a couple of weak points.

73,
Kev K4VD
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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Same issue here.  My '6500 has been sitting for 3 weeks with no progress or ETA reported.  I am very sorry about FRS's personnel problems, but there needs to be better communication.  I got an estimate of "4 weeks" to repair before sending the unit in.  If I thought it was going to be much longer than that, I would have considered some different course of action.

Furthermore, how does one achieve the "High Priority" status?  That was not offered as an option for me, I have to say!  I venture that most of us would say our repair is high priority, unless we have a stable of Flex rigs to fall back on.  My dollars are just as green.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Priority status is determined by several factors including the type of problem being experienced and now much warranty is remaining on the product.  Martin, in your case, your radio is out of warranty therefore not eligible for elevated priority status.
(Edited)
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Eric Gruff

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I don't doubt that Flex cares about customers, and I was only commenting on the lack of updates and long time to achieve a diagnosis and repair. I've sent a radio back before (6300), and as I recall, it took a week or two to be repaired and sent back to me. 

I didn't presume to ask how long the repair would take, and that's on me. I just assumed a week or two, and then it would be on its way back. Had I known it would be more like four weeks (which it's now going to be), I would have made arrangements to borrow a second radio for contesting (I operate SO2R), but again, that's not Flex's fault that I didn't ask. 

Frankly, in my opinion, a company the size of Flex should have more resources devoted to support, especially with the now-expanding hardware line. While it's expensive and not always practical, backup for illnesses, vacations, etc. need to be part of the business plan. I am a consultant to over a dozen small companies, and I have to make provisions in advance for vacations, etc. It's just part of doing business.

No need to reply to me at this point. I'll just assume it's going to be at least another several weeks until I get the radio back.
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Michael Coslo

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Eric, perhaps you did not see the info that there was a death in the family. Seriously, have a little compassion. 
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Eric Gruff

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Michael - as a matter of fact, I started the thread before that point was raised. Since I didn't hear anything for two weeks, it would be hard to know that on my own.  

Perhaps you should read the thread more carefully before condemning me for something I had no idea about.
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Michael Coslo

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Tim notified everyone of the death 9 hours ago. I commented on your post of 8 hours ago. Peace out.
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YV5WZ

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We are down to one service tech right now due to a recent death in the FlexRadio family.

I'm very sorry...my condolences for FlexRadio family


George, YV5WZ / PY3ZZZ
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thank you very much.
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Brenton Meadows

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Sorry i was not complete truthful about our local agent future systems, they did offer to sell me at $11000 a new flex 6700 as an answer to my problem. My thoughts were, just what I need? Another $11000 outlay and toss the other to the side. I was polite, I was accurate in my description of the issues, it was clear only flex America will be fixing flex products. At least he was honest. Nothing unlikable about the chap but closing me on a further $11k sale when there is a perfectly good working unit here with a 200hz high issue, hard sell. And what about version 2 software, worked perfectly prior for a month, added version 2 software spending $199usd which is approx $250 aud very approx...could my unit have a firmware glitch not accepting version 2? How much less pain if a conversation could be had constructively working out if my unit in actual fact needs to go back or something can be looked at remotely. Hey I can remote my iPad, my maestro, hey flex, I have given you all the passwords to infiltrate my system and see what im seeing, I log data during open periods like this, no one has looked at the unit remotely. Just thinking outside the square, efficiency is my key aim for both of us.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We have extensive experience troubleshooting hardware related problems.  I reviewed your HelpDesk support ticket and the troubleshooting steps taken for a problem report of this nature were customary and appropriate.  The recommended course of action provided by tech support to resolve the problem was also correct. You performed the same procedure that our tech support engineers would have done had they needed to access your radio remotely; I do not believe the outcome would have been different.  The fact is, the radio needs hardware service as your issue cannot be resolved via a software or a calibration process.  And I seriously doubt that the firmware update had anything to do with your hardware issue, I believe it was coincidental.

I can appreciate your frustration and disappointment, but our Austrailian dealer is under no obligation to provide warranty service or provide any extraordinary accommodations since he did not actually sell you the radio.  You did purchase the warranty transfer for this radio, so the repair costs will be offset by it being a warranty repair.

Since you have an open HelPDesk ticket, we'll be converting it to an RMA so if you choose to do so, can return it for repair.  As a gesture of good faith on our part, I'll assign your repair a higher service level priority.  
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Brenton Meadows

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Thank you Tim, can you educate me on the rma process and we will attempt to ensure that if we have all the paperwork from your end, the flex6700 in original packaging will leave Monday. Pls leave my previous posting live, i have not broken any of your forum rules, i have had two seperate people review your policies and it is important people understand the lengths we went to highlight and assist Flex internationally. I think we are both big enough and ugly enough to accept the comments regarding future systems suggestions from them to ask us to part with $11k to relieve them of stock that they possibly would have liked to clear prior to the end of the financial year. We all do it, July often is where we realise what we may be overstocked on, in our case, over $58kUsd of a particular GPS antenna that we had a heart attack over. Just one customer who's yearly forecast is a little behind schedule. But future systems to suggest that the answer was to buy a new unit, some flex education on the rma system is required. At no time did future systems discuss your rma system or were they aware or did they discuss the ticket we had lodged. The focus was buy a new unit, problem solved. Maybe this could have been delivered as one option, but when i asked about the repair option, basically it was passed on with no information of the process, basically the message we received, the USA's dilemma. Hopefully information you can educate your dealer program over its progression. I ran Motorola dealerships from China right down to Australia, I get it, your just starting a network of dealers and like myself, I found some great fits and some shocking fits. It's all experience... shoot me rma docs to brenton@posnav.com.au and I promise you, my staff, or myself ( i pack boxes sometimes haha)will ensure its on its way Monday. Thank you for the expediting of our problem, and my engineering background suspects the same as yourself, the v2 and the problem, purely coincidental. Thank you for your help...cheers brenton

ps v2 actually on the maestro has been incredible, my ipad locks up every two mins. Going to follow tony vk5tt suggestion and remove and reload, he assures me that the system remembers you have already paid. Report back, not an official rma haha....
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Brenton Meadows

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Things could be worse....
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response
We apologize for any delays in service at the moment. As Tim has stated, we lost a key team member in service and we had another on vacation last week. We also saw an unusual spike in incoming repair work at the same time. We will have to ask for your patience while we dig out of the backlog. Proactive communication is a trade off that takes time away from actually doing the repairs so there is a balance that has to be struck.

73,
Gerald
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Brenton Meadows

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Hi Gerald, I am ex Afghanistan,/Iraq participant, no matter who we lost, it doesn't hurt any less. My deepest condolences, our countries are so well aligned, your hurt is our hurt cheers brenton vk3cm
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Mike Eddinger

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My radio worked, did firmware update, now it doesn't transmit. Unusual spike in repairs? Since the new firmware?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Unusual spike in repairs? Since the new firmware?

No.  It is summertime and there is a spike in repairs from lightning damage and from people that have held off getting non-critical service until right before contest season.

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