Customer Service in Various Forms and Speeds

Today is the story of two customer service experiences. One was oddly slow, one was surprisingly fast. One unfortunately necessary.

The Prodigal Knife Returneth
I’ve mentioned before the tale of The Phantom Knife and how I was dreading making an international call to find it. In the end, instead of calling, I made one last ditch effort to use the company’s website contact form. I kept my temper when writing (at least in my heart I believe I did) and whatever I wrote finally got a response.

They claimed they had some trouble with my email and had been trying to contact me. I do not believe this, but having been in Japan as long as I have, I didn’t make an issue of it and instead apologized for any trouble. They told me the old knife, a Benchmade Mini-Ambush couldn’t be replaced (it’s discontinued and they no longer make the parts for it) but they still would honor the lifetime guarantee and would be happy to send me the modern equivalent of that knife as a replacement if that was okay with me. I was like, well, um, I don’t, well, yes, that would be perfect.

A couple weeks later I received the replacement, a Benchmade Mini-Griptilian and it’s such a step up I almost feel guilty about accepting it (well, at least I would have if it hadn’t taken four months for them to answer an email). It’s already one of my favorite pocket knives. I like it better than my larger Griptilian (long story behind that one).

Once More Into The Mail
I’ve also mentioned before how the TWSBI Diamond 580 Black Rose Gold became my new workhorse pen and how I wasn’t a big fan of the TWSBI Mini, especially after having encountered two different quality issues with it.

Well, about a year after it was delivered and put to use, the new cap on my TWSBI Mini broke in almost identical fashion to the original one. (A crack around the top of the cap.) I emailed TWSBI about a possible replacement and they responded in about 20 minutes with assurances that a new cap would be sent. The next day the factory contacted me to let me know the new cap had already been sent.

None of this will cost me a single yen.

Blistering fast customer service, but it does pose a conundrum:

Is it better to have blistering fast customer service or is it better not to need it? (Answer: Yes.)

Although I still like the TWSBI 580 and, knock-on-wood, haven’t had any problems with it, I can’t recommend the TWSBI Mini for people looking to move up from cheap fountain pens or looking to try a smaller, more pocket friendly fountain pen. For the same money there are better choices.

As for me, I’ll probably clean the Mini up and try to sell it. At a used price, and with a brand new cap, I might be able to interest someone in it, at least for a year or so until the cap breaks again.

 

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