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Kiesel Pre-Sale Customer Service

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ThinCrappyTone, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Now this isn’t some sort of horror story, it’s more of an apathy story. Here’s the tale:

    Decided I wanted another Kiesel guitar. I have an 8 string that they built for me. Wanted a 6 string version of the same thing.

    My first experience, around 2016, was very good. Their rep, Chris, worked with me, helped me spec it, I pulled the trigger, guitar arrived on time and exactly as ordered. Great transaction, no issues.

    Fast-forward to 2020. I follow Kiesel, and Jeff, the owner, in his promo videos, always says “call my guys”. Not “email my guys”, but “Call” them. And last time, it seemed like that was the preferred method of contact. So I called. Got a different salesperson. A guy named Mike. Here is how the call went.

    “Hey, I wanted to talk to you about a build.”


    …long silence

    “So, yeah, I have it all specced out for what I want, can I just run it down for you?”

    “Actually, just put it in an email and send it to me”

    “Really, cause I know exactly what I want and can tell you right now”

    ... long silence

    Me: “Ok. What’s your email”

    He gives me his email

    Me: “Well, anyway, since I have you on the line, you sure it wouldn’t make sense to just give you the specs now? I know exactly what I want. Jeff is always like “Call my guys, haha.”

    Long silence…

    “Ok, so I guess just send you and email?”


    “Ok, thanks”

    So, that’s not too bad. But honestly, his tone was sort of take it or leave it. It wasn’t like he seemed busy. Just like he seemed like he did not give a crap, and sort of wanted me to know that he didn’t give a crap.

    Now, the build I’m looking at is $2,500 or so, so it’s not chump change. Also, I’m not a pain in the neck. I know what I want, and once specced, would have pulled the trigger.

    Anyway, I shrugged it off and sent him an email. A little while later I got a “recipient’s mailbox is full” bounce notice. The bounce notices continued every few hours for I think 48 hours, and after that it times out and stops trying.

    I wait a week or so, thinking maybe it got through, and no response comes.

    I start thinking about the apathetic attitude and decided to do some googling and see if there is anything online about their service. Maybe I got lucky. Or maybe it’s downgraded. Or maybe I just caught somebody on a bad day. Anyway, I found a few long threads complaining about this guy, saying he’s kind of a douche, and that the way to go about it is call Chris, the other salesman, and my first guy. So I do that.

    Chris is super nice, remembers me, looks me up in the system, and puts my build together in real time. I had one question that he had to follow up with me on “Can you do a <particular wood type> top?”, and he hits me back with the answer a little while later.

    I had one follow up question, asking what he would recommend, weight-wise, between three top options. He wrote back with an answer.

    I write something like “Cool! Let’s spec that then. Thanks! Can’t wait!” I had planned to put a downpayment as soon as the spec sheet came to me.

    But instead of a response, I start getting “mailbox full” bounce notices again. Send another email after they time out. Mailbox still full. This went on for a few days. Waited a reasonable time to see if maybe they did get through, and no follow up happened.

    I then IM him on his facebook page. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but he has his FB listed in his official contact information, so figured it was ok. Told him “hey, just wanted to respond here, since your mailbox appears to be full. Let’s go with the <suggested wood type> top and spec that out.” I was ready to pull the trigger as soon as I heard back.

    No response on any channel. It’s been a week now. I’m sort of like what the hell? Do you not want my money? If this is the way you treat me before the sale, when you don’t yet have my money, how will you be after, when there is no incentive at all?

    Anyway, all-in-all, I have spent 2+ weeks or so trying to give these guys $2,500 for a guitar. First guy seemed like he didn’t give a rats ass, and wanted me to know that he didn’t give a rats ass. Second guy was very helpful, but never followed up. And they appear to have a crappy email system.

    Again this isn’t some nightmare. And yeah I can follow up with another call. But now I’m thinking, why give a company that kind of money when they don’t seem to want it?

    Question1: Do you think this is normal/fine/acceptable?

    Question 2: Would you continue trying to chase them down to give them $2,500 after this experience?
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    BasturdBlaster likes this.
  2. Hammer01


    Nov 25, 2012
    Answer 1: NO. The customer (YOU) is always in control of the initial contact. The "gut" feeling you get during the conversation(s) is an indicator of what level of service to expect while you are awaiting your purchase to be completed (build time, etc.) and any follow up service afterward. Company's don't always keep the same people that you dealt with previously (they move on for a reason) or those that stay become indifferent toward the customers down the road which sounds like what you may be experiencing.

    Answer 2: While I've never dealt or used Kiesel products, they, like many are SMALL FISH in a vast sea of manufacturers. I tend to buy over the counter basses that are already completed and ready for sale. Then, if there's something down the road I want to do to them, I take them to local luthier for upgrades and tweaking. Whenever I've been made to feel like my money ($2500) is not important to any vendor I walk.
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If I had to guess, I would say they're dealing with a big NAMM bump. A couple of companies I am getting things from have mentioned that their turnaround/response times will be longer for a while after NAMM.

    But that's no excuse for a total lack of communication. Carvin used to have INCREDIBLE service. I hate to find out that didn't carry over to Kiesel.
  4. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    That makes a lot of sense
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I mean, they didn't even have great service when I got mine in 2012 let alone "incredible." I'm honestly surprised this wasn't about Steve, assuming he still works there. That guy was famous for being bad at his job. I have seen multiple other people post on TB about him.
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  6. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    That would bother me a bit, but I wouldn't let it sway me from ordering tbh, especially considering you already know the quality of their work.
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  7. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Fair point. I love how the 8 string they built for me came out. Maybe I’m biting off my nose to spite my face, as they say.
  8. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I own 2 Carvin products (second hand purchases) and love them. But I would never do business with people like that.

    I'd go out of my way to send them pictures of what I bought from another vendor and remind them that this could have been their sale.

    Has Keisel been bought by GC?
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  9. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I get the impression they wouldn’t care in the least, if I did that :)

    That said, I’m looking into a Strandberg from Sweetwater, as they’re similar to what I’m after with Kiesel, and the SW customer xp is second to none, in my opinion.

    ... those weird neck backs worry me though
  10. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    I've had a similar experience with Sweetwater. Thusly, I've found its not best to judge on any one Internet review. I do read all the reviews of a product I'm considering, but I tend to give more weight on the engineering and manufacturing of the product.

    The choices they made in those phases as a better representation on how they will support it, and how I will enjoy it. My experiences tend to suggest that a company that puts in superior effort in their engineering and manufacturing, will also do so in sales and support.
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I did my most recent Kiesel build last year, probably around June. I dealt with Chris and I can't say enough how awesome he was. Completely on top of things and very responsive. The bass is incredible and I still can't beleive how much I love it.

    Kiesel is killing it these days, and there are only 3 guys taking orders. Sounds like they may have outgrown their sales staff. Jeff said yesterday they currently have 800 guitars in the build queue. 800. Might be 801 soon, as they are doing free body chambering, free roasted maple, and free royal ebony fingerboards this week and I'm wanting a Thanos real bad right now :)
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  12. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I've emailed them multiple times in the last couple of years, and NEVER ONCE got a reply... They're certainly batting -1000 in my books!
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  13. fourstr00


    Mar 21, 2002
    Chicago Area
    Mike was my sales rep for my PB4 build in 2015. They botched the delivery so badly that it’s my last purchase from them after four other basses.

    It’s not that the bass showed up DOA (it happens, have patience). His response to fix the problem took longer than actually building the guitar.
    ThinCrappyTone likes this.
  14. I'd understand today was a bad day, they're up to their ass in NAMM orders, blah, blah, blah, but anybody that won't take my money for TWO WEEKS . . . . . done, bye, C-Ya, don't let the door hit ya !

    Just keep pleading, begging to give them your money for another couple weeks, and when you finally get it 6 months late and it's a sled, guess what? You get to do this ALL OVER AGAIN dealing with their customer service . . . . except now they're $2500 richer and you . . . . are $2500 poorer.

    NOT in this lifetime. Are you kidding me ? ? ?
    ThinCrappyTone and mikewalker like this.

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