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Supplier Ratings...

I like the idea of honoring the companies that have the culture of extreme customer service, and also letting people know which companies have the attitude of an almost adversarial relationship with their customers. When I started my first business over 40 years ago, the type of customer service we all enjoy today was definitely not the norm. In the late 80s I remember Smith and Hawken, the gardening tool company, came out with the statement that all their tools were guaranteed for life! It was such a novel concept that I ordered Paul Hawken's book “Growing a Business” to see what the heck he was up to. Nowadays, we have many companies that have realized the mutual benefits of having outstanding customer service. Below is a list of companies that I deal with, and a short description of how their customer service rates in my experience.

 

McMaster-Carr

Not only legendary customer service, but if they ever make a mistake, or you make a mistake, they get it fixed almost instantly.

 

Summit Steel

Really nice people, I wish I could deal with them, but unfortunately their customers' needs are not a priority. Fortunately, there are metal suppliers who will bust their butts to meet their customers' needs.

 

Industrial Metal Supply

These guys work pretty hard for your business, which is why they are one of the largest in my area. The only gripe I have is that if you are a tiny business just starting out and can't place large orders, they really charge you very high prices, which is why I had to look elsewhere for steel and aluminum. I think they should realize that the small shops just starting out could really use a price break so that they can grow into a larger customer, and have some loyalty to the supplier who helped them out in the beginning. Instead I was just plain irked for a couple years.

 

Uline

Another pioneer in great customer service, I just wish they didn't send out so many catalogs. I think they could charge less on their products, and save several million trees.

 

Century Spring

This company gets the award for worst customer service of any company I have ever purchased from. (I take that back, there is one worse). They screwed up on my order, lied to me, and instead of spending a small amount of money to fix the problem, they now have a vocal opponent for life. Perfect example of a company saving a small amount of money to loose future business and get a bad reputation.

 

Haas Automation

Now the largest machine tool builder in the world, making reliable machines here in the USA. There are more accurate machine tools, but Haas machines are an outstanding value. Service is pretty good, if you don't mind waiting four days for a service tech to show up. My other beef - they should not charge the customer for known issues, like parts that were poorly made and thus mass fail after warranty. The customer should not have to pay for replacement, but for some reason Haas doesn't mind pissing off their customers over a few hundred dollars.

 

Omniturn Lathes

Another Made in USA lathe builder, great customer service, they build a nice inexpensive CNC lathe.

 

Brownells

I admire their customer service statement so much I used it for my company. No questions asked guarantee for ever on all their products! You can't get much better than that!

 

C & M Topline

Vibratory finishing machines and supplies. If you do metal finishing this company is top notch for products and service.

 

QA Lubricants

These guys are quick, nice people too. Best of all they carry the amazing cutting fluid QualiChem Extreme Cut 250.

 

Marubeni Citizen-Cincom Inc.

They make great lathes, their installation tech and trainer were outstanding, the sales person was very knowledgeable and helpful, but still not sure about the rest of their company, will update.

 

Autodesk

I use their Featurecam and Partmaker software, and was a little leery of dealing with such a large software company for a purchase that sometimes requires some after sale support and customer service. I must say, so far I am very impressed, they seem to have hired enough competent people to provide a very quick response time and very knowledgeable tech support.

 

Mitsubishi

I bought one of their EDM machines, and was very impressed with their training. I was a little intimidated by the seeming complexity of wire EDM, but their trainer made sure I was up to speed and could run the machine on my own before he left. I wish they did some follow up training, and offer more than one year of free training.

 

Tykma Electrox

I have one of their laser marking machines. Great machine, super support, and the salesman actually still visits to make sure everything is running smartly. Even better, Made in the USA.

 

Acxess Spring

Interesting turn of events, I ordered some springs from them and they really screwed up the order. My first thought was that I will never buy from this company again, and what's up with these spring companies? Century spring was horrible, now these people too? Well after I emailed Access Spring about the problem, I received a call from (I think) the owner, who apologized profusely, explained how it happened and what they were going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again, and remade my order correctly the same day! I went from never wanting to do business with them to being a big fan of their company and willing to purchase again. It's a great example of how to treat a customer when you do make a mistake, and if done well, you can actually save the relationship. Very impressive, and a good lesson for us since we all make mistakes on orders at times.