Thursday, May 10, 2012

Support is Everything update 1

One of the things that excited us about the XP Camper when we went on the buying visit was that it had Webasto appliances and we were sure we would get service for the appliances worldwide. We had the exact same diesel stove in Australia and our friends Mike & Liz just had the same stove installed in there camper in the U.K. So when the heat control switch on the stove broke we were not concerned and thought we would give Webasto South Africa a call and find out which dealer in South Africa we needed to visit to pick-up a new one.
Well, after going through an incredibly ill thought out phone tree, for over 15 minutes, repeating the same sequence of buttons like a madman expecting a different result, I eventually got through to a pleasant young man and when I informed him of my problem he wanted me to call back and speak with the tech department as they don’t sell the stove in South Africa and the controller would have to be ordered from Germany or the USA. I flatly refused to call back as I explained that their phone system stinks, “Oh, we just it installed it this weekend and are having some problems with it” was his reply. Hmmmm, would you please have the tech department call me back so we could work things out. 3 days later and still no call, so I thought I would get Marc involved. His instant reply was that he would get his rep in San Fran on the case and they would have the controller shipped out the next day. O.K. great, not a very big issue as we had set the heat controller to the medium setting and we could still boil water, fry bacon etc. It just meant we had to hang around and wait for the part.
When we hadn’t heard from Webasto by the end of the week I sent Marc another message asking for the tracking number. He forwarded my message to the rep asking the rep to respond. Well, we still had heard nothing by the following Wednesday and then Marc sent us a message and said he was going to pull the controller from the camper he was currently building and would ship it to us the same day. I think he, with his dry German humor, called it a donor part. I guess Webasto had dropped the ball again. So here was Marc to the rescue one more time and who knows where he was getting a replacement for the camper he was building. It arrived the following Monday and was installed and working within 20 minutes. Thanks again Marc and Toni.
Webasto needs to take a couple of lessons about what customer service means from Marc and XPCamper…..

Two things I have learnt to hate about Africa:

  1. The first day of the month. Because gas prices, which are set by the government, go up. The price of gas started at R10.65 a liter and now, 4 months later, it is at R12.33 a liter which is exactly $6.00 a gallon.
  2. The Ibis. When I saw my first Ibis 30 years ago in Kenya I was beside myself with excitement, maybe because of its association with Egyptian Gods, I don’t know but I thought it was a special moment! Not so much any more. They are everywhere and they like to call each other, with this awful noise, constantly, but in particular they like to call in the early morning just before sunrise.

I know I am extremely privileged to be here in Africa seeing and enjoying amazing stuff, but I hate the Ibis and the first of the month!