I have been in sales for thirty years and have been the sales manager for a small family owned company for 17 years. Trust me, I have had to eat crow many times. I know it is easy to get frustrated with customers when you are overworked and tired. But most of the time you just have to suck it in and be nice to your customers ALL the time. I have learned that when there is a problem, resolve it as quickly as possible. Nothing endangers a successful resolution more than ignoring it or dragging it out. Regardless of your official policy, the key is to do everything you can to make your customer satisfied and wanting to do business with you again. As a rule, a company will die relying solely on one-time sales; it needs repeat customers to survive.
Within the BP cottage community I have had both good and bad experiences but fortunately most have been very good. Without naming names, I get really psyched when I buy a top-notch quality product and am treated with top-notch courtesy and service. Those two factors are far more important to me than price when it comes to buyer satisfaction.
Even though in my few dealings with Ron in the past I have found him to be rather curt in his communication style, I have been completely satisfied with my dealings with him in terms of both product quality and service. And I am empathetic with Ron because I too have a dangerous tendency to be curt. However, in Yang's case, Ron totally blew it! The product was defective. Everything in Yang's email correspondences showed courtesy on his part. And as has been stated, Yang waited a few weeks without resolution before bringing the issue to this forum. Especially because Brandon agreed to reimburse shipping costs, that should have been done promptly, regardless of Ron's official policy. For a measly $20, Ron lost a good customer and risked his company's reputation.
Having said all that, I encourage folks not to write Ron off either. SMD is not only a cottage manufacturer pioneer but is also one of the foremost innovators in our industry, especially so with the recent addition of Brian Frankle to his team. I just hope, for the sake of SMD, that Ron has chilled out some and learned from this unfortunate experience.