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  1. #1
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    customer service

    Just after I bought my new Co-Motion Co Pilot, I emailed both Reynolds and Co Motion asking for Reynolds tubing decals (I still remember when 531 was the thing to have, unless of course you liked SLX...). Reynolds replied to the email immediately and I got an envelope from England a few days later, free of charge, with a complete set of decals. Co Motion still has not responded....

    I like their bike a whole lot, but wonder at their lack of responsiveness.

  2. #2
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    I'd love to shop for a Co-Motion some day, and part of this has to do with their reputation for good customer service.

    Not to flame, but, if I some day find myself corresponding with CoMo regarding the purchase of a tandem, I sure hope that they prioritize responding to my bicycle purchasing inquiries over questions about stickers, if you take my meaning. I bet they will.

    I do hope you eventually get a reply -- and your stickers!

    -Greg (who'd ride a Co-Motion with or without stickers)

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    I've 'said' this before and I'll 'say' this again, if you have a time-sensitive question or concern that you need addressed by one of the small bicycle businesses like Co-Motion, pick up the phone and call them. Santana is adamant about this too, as are most of the other small builders. Email is not something they center their lives or businesses around.... for better or worse.

    Companies like Reynolds, Trek, Cannondale, and other firms have employees on staff to route and read Emails, Co-Motion's employees all have dirt under their fingernails and spend all day multi-tasking...

    Just something to consider...

  4. #4
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregm
    -Greg (who'd ride a Co-Motion with or without stickers)

    You obviously have no appreciation for speed. Don't you know that the stickers make it go faster
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  5. #5
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    I've had excellent luck with emails to Co-Motion when sent directly to co-owner Dwan Shepard:

    dwan@co-motion.com

    I've even had him phone me with a reply. Of course my question pertained to the purchase of one of his tandems.

    Their customer service when I phoned them was also great. I wanted info on a used Supremo that I had purchased. They went above and beyond the call to respond. A great American company!

    Mike

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Co-Motion is great on service, but they have a tendency not to use tubing stickers on their tandems, just Co-Mo decals.
    Decals do not affect the ride, just the looks!

  7. #7
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    Thank yo so much for your responses. I didn't expect a tutorial on commerce, but thanks anyway. And my legs are more than adequate for propelling the bike, thank you, I don't expect decals to do it. BUt I come from a generation where the substance of a bike frame, i.e.- the tubeset, was identified. Sorry you don't like that. If CO-Motion doesn't want to answer emails, they shouldn't put a "Contact Us" email address on their website. That's what any reasonable business would do.

  8. #8
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    And my legs are more than adequate for propelling the bike, thank you, I don't expect decals to do it.
    My comment was in response towards the writer I quoted of course. And to the rest of you...stickers do make the bike go faster. Just like the pin stripes on my car. dammit
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  9. #9
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    I always wanted flames on my bike/car. I do have a pair of leg warmers with flames on them.... they look pretty stupid but were on sale.

  10. #10
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    It sounds like you were doing a test- company A and company B. Did you follow up with a phone call?

    Koffee

  11. #11
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    Folks! I was simply trying to point out a difference in responsiveness here. No test: I had two possibilities for getting the material; I chose a shotgun approach to waste the minimum amount of time. One company responded quickly and efficiently, one didn't. Were it a real BIG DEAL I would have called Dwan himself at Co Motion. Or God. My method was very successful- got what I wanted free and fast- but I guess the facts don't match some folks' preconceived notions. As an aside, CO Motion STILL has not responded. The email was sent October 18th.....

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    For future reference...

    From Co-Motion's Contact Page: http://www.co-motion.com/contact.html

    Sending Email to Co-Motion
    Wait! Before hitting the send button on your email, please make use of the information we've presented throughout our website. We make every effort to keep our information current and useful. Emails are answered by people who may be helping another customer, or they may be away at an event. Also, the proliferation of unwanted email (spam) has made the accidental exclusion of legitimate email more common thoughout the Internet. We don't want your message to be lost. For these reasons, please don't expect immediate response by email. Instead, we encourage you to call our toll-free number [1-866-282-6336]. We are happy to take your call.

    When you contact us, please include your mailing address and a daytime telephone number. We may prefer to answer more complex inquiries by phone, or by mailing literature to you.

    Santana's Contact Page: http://www.santanatandems.com/contact.html

    How to Contact Santana
    The best way to contact Santana is to call us at (800) 334-6136 or (909) 596-7570, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. We love talking to cyclists, and have found that a phone call is usually the fastest way for you to get the right answer.

    If you would rather contact us via e-mail, we can be reached at:
    info@santanatandem.com
    If needed, you can mail us at

    Santana Cycles
    P.O. Box 206
    La Verne, CA 91750

    or FAX us at (909) 596-5853
    I believe all of the Email links on Co-Motion's Web site now link to their Contact page. That may or may not have been the case in the past as their Web site has been undergoing many changes during the past 30 - 60 days relative to '06 model information, their expanding tour business, and other content changes. Santana's Web site rarely changes... they'd rather that folks request a catalog so that they can add their names to their mailing list and include local dealer info when they mail the catalog to prospective customer: pretty savvy marketing. Burley seems to keep their Web site fairly current, as do Trek & Cannondale. Bilenky's site doesn't change much but neither does their business model. I haven't checked around the horn on any of the other more common brands...
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-03-05 at 07:46 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    As an aside, CO Motion STILL has not responded. The email was sent October 18th.....
    Well, ok, let's start from the beginning.

    To fairly evaluate Co-Motion's customer service based on your experiment, you'll first need to confirm that it was successfully delivered, and walk us through from that point on.

    Tough first step, eh?

    Then... was it caught by a spam filter in error? Was it mistakenly deleted? (I've done that.) Was it directed to the appropriate person internally? How is that person evaluating his/her workload to best meet the goals of the organization -- and how does the sticker request rate as a result of that evaluation? Keep following it through... you'd have to also have the response successfully e-mailed out to you, delivered to your ISP, successfully acquired by your mail client, and then filtered correctly by the client (and you). Granted, these are typically reliable processes all around, but s* happens.

    Another way to look at it... in a classic half empty / half full situation, you can successfully conclude that:

    1. Co-Motion completely blew off your e-mail! How terrible!

    AND

    2. Out of the... hundreds? of phone inquiries, shop visits, postal correspondence, and e-mails that have been directed to Co-Mo since October 18, we are almost 100% certain that at least one was not acted upon, for reasons unknown.

    Whether 1. or 2. generates a stronger personal response will depend on the person, I think.

    -Greg

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    It seems some of you have alot of time on your hands. Ya, all the above could happened. Ya, you can draw those or other conclusions. On and on and on....over an email.

    Thanks for a note on your experience ElRey. Some will take it for what it is worth, free information about a single event and not try to extrapolate, expound or levy requirements on you.

    Let us know if you ever get a reply .

  15. #15
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Wow, this has been an interesting thread to follow. In retrospect, kudos to elrey for having what was apparently a lot of courage to say something negative, however minor, about Co-Motion on this forum. Clearly plenty of people willing to take up arms and defend the infallible brand.

    And the defense seems to be that it's OK for a company not to respond because they have to focus on the e-mails that will make them the most money. I mean, let's think about that for a moment. How much of customer service is profitable? Often times the quality of a company's service is measured by how much they are willing to stand behind their product if a customer is less than 100% satisfied, however small or large the issue may be, and that usually ends up costing them money. If anything, they should have jumped on this one because it would've taken SO LITTLE to make Elrey a happy customer!

    All Elrey wanted was a handful of stickers for his shiny new tandem, and he didn't get them from Co-Motion. The reason at the customer's end (not a profitable e-mail to respond to, intercepted electronically by Al Qaeda, dumped in the spam box, ignored, thrown out, e-mail response guy was abducted by aliens, bad day with the computers) is really irrelevant.

    DrPete

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    Wow, this has been an interesting thread to follow. In retrospect, kudos to elrey for having what was apparently a lot of courage to say something negative, however minor, about Co-Motion on this forum. Clearly plenty of people willing to take up arms and defend the infallible brand.
    So, let me see if I understand the premise here...

    I send an Email request to a company requesting information or some such... and they fail to respond. As to why they didn't respond, we're clueless about that. So, rather picking up the phone and calling the company on the toll-free number they provide to customers to follow-up on my request... perhaps giving the company the benefit of doubt as to why they may not have responded to my Email... the couragous thing to do is to create a thread on a public discussion forum that calls their customer service into question. An interesting view to be sure.

    Frankly, at least to me, I don't think it would have mattered if it was Co-Motion, Santana, Bilenky, Trek, or Cannondale. Moreover, I really don't see where the three posts that actually said something positive about Co-Motion constitutes plenty of people taking up arms, particularly when one of the three -- Zonatandem -- hardly utters anything but ringing endorsements of every tandem builder he's had a positive experience with, another -- gregm -- merely mentions their reputation in a positive light, and one -- Goldrush -- recounts a first hand postive experience. My posts, if you read them, merely convey to readers what I have learned in dealing with many of the small businesses in the cycling industry over the years... and that is that the phone is the preferred method of communication. I offered this information and quotes from the builder's Web site in question as well as another well-respected tandem builder to underscore that point because I foolishly assume the reason many people participate in these forums is to learn things, not just to vent, kill time, or entertain themselves: perhaps I've missed the boat and am wasting my time. I'm still overcompensating for the dirth of information that existed when I went shopping for our first tandem and had to learn everything the hard way... well, until I thankfully discovered Tandem@Hobbes.

    Bottom Line: There's an old businessman's adage that goes, "If you are pleased with our products or services, please tell your friends. If you're not, please tell me". Pretty sage advice if you enjoy having a good relationship with the businesses you patronize and something that anyone in business for themselves would certainly agree with.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-03-05 at 09:38 PM.

  17. #17
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    OK, so "Taking up arms" may have been a bit excessive. However, there's just a fine line between "huh, that's strange, I've always had very positive interactions with that company--I'm surprised you weren't pleased" and the tone that I was sensing from the replies. Perhaps it's the downside of electronic conversations, but the replies seemed to focus on the great experiences other folks have had and making no mention of the possibility that the way Co-Motion prioritized/lost/misdirected/ignored an e-mail left one of their customers feeling a little put off. That left me with a feeling that people who were voicing their positive experiences were implying that it was somehow impossible for someone to have a bad experience with a company. For a real over-the-top example of this, talk to a true disciple of Apple Computer, a smaller company that has had a truly zealous core of disciples. Yeah, I wrote that on purpose.

    Maybe Elrey's feelings should be taken to heart by the smaller manufacturers. Maybe the phone IS the best way to contact these companies, but for better or for worse we've entered the 21st century where companies are expected by consumers to communicate via e-mail as a 100% mainstream means of communication. I use it at every opportunity, right down to ordering pizza online so I don't have to wait on hold.

    Having just shopped for a tandem, I used the internet almost exclusively for all of my initial shopping, and I e-mailed companies and dealers for info. And honestly, the first thing that started our very positive experience with Mel at Tandems East was a well-put-together website and very timely responses to my questions, which I sent via e-mail. This has continued through my purchase, and he's equally happy to respond to my e-mails about getting my stoker's seat set up comfortably as he is to drop a new carbon seatpost in the mail for me. I'm constantly on the run at work and usually keep myself busy at home, so e-mail is a convenient way for me to communicate on my terms. I don't think I'm alone in that regard, and maybe companies would do well to recognize that an increasing number of people feel the way I do.

    Other companies, especially smaller manufacturers, actually spend time reviewing consumer web sites like mtbr.com and roadbikereview.com, and you can find occasional threads about reps from companies sending personal e-mail responses to folks who post their negative experiences online. Again, in my eyes that's a sign of acknowledgement that for better or for worse a company's reputation can rest on their electronic presence in this world.

    As for the old adage, I'm not sure about it. When I'm doing research online for a product, I want the most complete information about products I'm shopping for. If all I can find online are positive comments about everything, then I'm not really getting a realistic view of anything, because nobody's perfect.

    I wouldn't mind owning a Co-Motion someday either. I gawk in envy when I see a Robusta on the road. I've heard from many people that Co-Motion has great service for their equally great products. I still think it sucks that Elrey's e-mail went unanswered.

    DrPete

  18. #18
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    I still think it sucks that Elrey's e-mail went unanswered.
    I don't fully disagree with the general sentiment but, at the same time, I don't think discontent regarding a single unanswered Email rises to a level that warrants an indictment of a company's customer service in a public forum if you haven't at least attempted to follow-up with the company via the "traditional" form of communication, particularly when they provide a toll-free number (Period).

    I also don't disagree that these same companies need to become more internet and Email savvy and, in most cases, they know it too and are doing what they can to "step it up". However, until they "get there" tribal knowledge suggests that when Email fails to bring about a timely response, pick up the phone... it will take less effort than key stroking a note on a forum to poke the company in the eye and may even satisfy the request.

    No, nobody is perfect and Co-Motion is not universally loved: sometimes there's just bad chemistry and sometimes things just go wrong. However, when there is an overwhelming amount of positive feedback it does tend to suggest that a bad experience is more of a statistical anomaly than an indication of a systemic problem.

    Interestingly enough, I believe ElRey may have purchased his Co-Motion from Mel who, as you note, does an outstanding job when it comes to communicating with customers and working to make sure they are satisfied with the products he sells.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-04-05 at 04:36 AM.

  19. #19
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    I wouldn't mind owning a Co-Motion someday either. I gawk in envy when I see a Robusta on the road. I've heard from many people that Co-Motion has great service for their equally great products.
    DrPete
    Hey, we bought a Co-Mo tandem because they ROCKed the socks off of the other tandems we rode. Almost bought the Trek because of the cash savings but what the hell, we had the money. We rode everything but a Santana and a Burley. Couldn't find a Burley to ride and Santanas were overpriced.

    My Dad's a hardcore Chevy man and I was brainwashed in Chevy, wanna see picks of my new F250 Platinum Edition FORD! Brand loyalty... :: phhgggtttt::

    Plus the Co-Mo goes faster when I have the Dukes of Hazzard stickers on it.
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  20. #20
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    TandemGeek, how is it that my post was an indictment of Co Motion's customer service? I was sharing information with fellow tandemists, which is the purpose of this site. The issue was minor to say the least, but there are a lot of very nimor issues posted here every day, some by you. Curious that you seem upset about this. I did, after all, clearly state that their bike was very nice.

  21. #21
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    TandemGeek, how is it that my post was an indictment of Co Motion's customer service? I was sharing information with fellow tandemists, which is the purpose of this site. The issue was minor to say the least, but there are a lot of very nimor issues posted here every day, some by you. Curious that you seem upset about this. I did, after all, clearly state that their bike was very nice.
    Given the subject line and content of your original post, in the context of a cycling discussion forum it is analogous to indictment... a formal written complaint (albeit by innuendo) regarding what you clearly indicate was a less that satisfactory experience with a business for the purpose of soliciting facts and evidence from others who might refute or support your observation, i.e., a trial by discussion forum.

    My emphatical replies underlie the sentiment that I continue to share when anyone with a tandem has a problem with their tandem: call your authorized dealer or, if they are non-responsive (to include being clueless or otherwise unempathetic to your concerns), call your tandem builder directly. That is, as you suggest, me sharing information regarding what I know to be the most effective way of resolving either minor or major issues related to a tandem produced by one of the major players in the industry.

    In closing, I'm not upset about any of this... just doing my best to be clear with my comments and providing emphasis where appropriate.

  22. #22
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    Thanks Masiman and DrPete. If this small incident was of use to others, I thought I'd share it. I've been participatinng in cycling and triathlon websites since they were invented: I've posted a million such notes. The value here, for us a private persons, is to share. Far too often, commercial interests cloud the data we get from an LBS or a manufacturer. I make no money here and really don't care what others buy. It was simply an interesting juxtoposition. Not an experiment: I communicate this way at work a zillion time a day, so it's my normal modus operandii. If others have not shared a similar experience, they should be free to state theirs. But to negate my experiences is to negate the value of this forum. I have no interests in getting combative here, but there are those who just can't be wrong (I guess they're stokers, based on the default definitions posted here all the time- insert laugh track...).

  23. #23
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    ELrey,

    I have a new Co Motion as well and part of the reason I bought it was the wonderful service I had recieved from them over the years - they'd go above beyond and with things like looking up old serial numbers. I've gotten touch paint and hard to get parts from their part binds etc. My last interaction wasn't that pleasant though because I bought a very much discounted bike online from a dealer dropping them as a line and they were down right pissy about ! It isn't my fault they couldn't keep their dealer inline. They lost a lot of goodwill in there most recent transaction with me which I will not try to reflect to other others in my club who woo and awe at my new bike. I am hopeful that my most recent experience is not a reflection of things to come, but only one unque person. As a fyi of the 10 Co Motions I ride with none have tube manugactures sticker.

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