In reading over this entire post I have been impressed with the number of people that have come to Mr. Schwab’s defense, many expressing the view that problems with SGD should be a private concern and that this may not be the best place to resolve them. Mungi correctly states earlier “. Yes, there needs to be some understanding of how a thread like this can damage a one-man business.” But that is the point isn’t it? This is a public forum and airing complaints such as are listed here is how the public can research whether or not to do business with a company. Truth is the poll states only 66% of those polled had a positive experience with SGD and that does not portend long term success. SGD doesn’t need defending they need fixing. The good news is that there is very little wrong.
1. People love the pickups. The get rave reviews almost without fail and have a high recognition factor in the industry rags.
2. David Schwab appears to be an incredibly knowledgeable individual concerning guitar electronic. I say “appears” because I am not knowledgeable, but the respect he garners among his peers is unmistakable.
3. He is one of the most generous men with his knowledge and experience I have run into. And run into him I do – everywhere. On forums and reviews all over the web he seems to weigh in. And when he does it is with helpful and concise information.
4. He one of the more interesting reviewers of Gibson basses I have read. Fair and for the most part balanced.
5. We share an enjoyment of the Gibson Triumph Recording bass. I own two and I love them.
6. His service levels are horrendous and communication to customers spotty at best. It is a long term and unacceptable problem.
7. He is beginning to feel “victimized” and unappreciated by his customers.
To that end Mr. Schwab I offer you three suggestions. These suggestions are not correct, I doubt they would work and I don’t know if I would follow them if I were your shoes. I certainly would not categorize them as advice as my ability as a stock picker forever bars me from offering advice. But I hope they serve a fodder for you and those you trust to come up with three of your own that will work.
1. Effective March 1st. Raise your prices for your pickups by a minimum of 30%, with 50% being infinitely more preferable. Afraid you’ll lose business by raising the price 50%? You will! But you won’t lose 50% of it. Your product is too good and that raise still puts you in the normal range for custom wound pickups. Even if you lost 25% of your volume you would still be 5% ahead in revenues with less work, more timely deliveries and a bunch of happy customers!! What’s the old engineers mantra? “You can have it fast, good or cheap……….. pick two” Your current business model is “good and Cheap”.
You need to move to “fast and good”.
2. Immediately restate your lead time to “3 to 6 months, depending upon degree of customization.” Afraid you’ll lose business? You will, but not much. A bigger concern should be those who decide to take a pass because of the bad press. So listen to your customers and supporters here and have a little more faith in your own product. It is not a commodity and some one cannot go somewhere else to get it. Set their expectations honestly and then live up to them.
3. You are on forums and sites all over the internet. They are social and they are addicting. Reduce your participation by 25% and only up your participation after you have achieved the service level targets you set for yourself. Let it be one of your rewards, along with increased profits and reduced stress levels.
Everything said here may serve to upset you. But if it is upset you and got you thinking….
Btw, if you decide to act upon No 1. Please let me know so I can slide my order in under the price increase.....and I assume you would get them to me in your (newly) stated time frame of 6 months?