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my experince with Zon (so far)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dunamis, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I ordered a bass from Zon in mid-october (a headless "Vinny" 5 string model). Pretty standard-- options are playing ramp, strap locks (which I provided), and TI flats (also provided by me).

    I was told that the bass would be shipped prior to Christmas, but I have still not received it.

    Having purchased custom basses before, I'm not surprised by the delay. In fact, I'd have been shocked to receive it by Christmas.

    What does surprise me is the lack of communication. Zon customer service has failed to respond to e-mail and voice-mail since mid-December. :scowl:

    I can understand (and even overlook) delays in production, but I cannot understand why I'm not getting any response. Even if they can't provide an expected date for completion of the bass shouldn't they at least acknowledge my inquiry?

    Has anyone else had experience with Zon's customer service?
  2. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    I would say call them again. Obviously they are a very busy shop. It's also quite possible they had an extended holiday.

    BTW - congrats on the Vinny. I really miss my VB4.
  3. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Thanks! I'm looking forward to it.

    Yeah, with Zon's reputation, I'm surprised about the customer service! I've e-mailed repeatedly, and left a couple of voice messages. :meh:

    I'm planning to try another phone call but it's still too early on the west coast, so I'll have to wait 'til around lunch time here.
  4. bassjamn

    bassjamn Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    +1 email seems hit and miss with them, calling during work hours i always get a live person.

    I live about 40 minutes from them though and Joe's and his crew are nice guys, They installed a sweet bubinga ramp on my bubinga topped zon.
  5. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I left another message around at around 1 PM (eastern) and just got a call back from Joe Zon himself. He said they're slammed right now and getting ready for NAMM, but that the main reason for the delay is that they're waiting for pickups. Apparently, my bass is all ready except for pickups and electronics, but Bart is behind in fulfilling their order.

    So, the new expected date for shipment is the end of January (2006 that is! ;) ). I'll post a pic when it arrives.
  6. bassjamn

    bassjamn Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Hey good to hear, If it's any comfort i orderd a Zon bass in dec 2004 and had a delay when they went to 2005 namm as well...
  7. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments

    Barts are always late. Happened to me too. It's well worth the wait though.
  8. WovenGraphite

    WovenGraphite Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    If it is of any support, I also order a couple of items from them (strings and stuff) and eventhough I tried to contact them, I was never able to talk to anyone.
    And magically the items showed up in front of my door.

    And yes, NAMM is approching fast, I am sure they are very busy.

    Eventhough it doesn't excuse the lack of communication, I'd prefer them working on my custom bass than answering all the questions that people send... ;)
  9. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I know that pain, back in my buildin' days my longest wait for Barts was 16 months. They're still worth the wait though, I've wanted a Bart equipped Zon for about 20 years though that delay is solely my lack of ordering one :)
  10. I've been dealing with Joe now for about a few years, and I've found that email isn't always the way to go with Joe. I've had much better success with giving him a call. I've also noticed that if you send an email and don't get a response within the first day, go ahead and keep sending emails untill Joe responds. Eventually he does respond to his emails. One side note, when Joe switched his website around, he changed his email as well. I not knowing of the change sent an email to the old account. I ended up giving them a call instead a few days later after no response. Well, out of the blue, a few months late, Joe sends me a reply email from the old account. I thought that was pretty good of him to check the old account even though he had the new one. At any rate, the Zon guys are great, they're just a small operation cranking out a lot of orders, so sometimes you have to be patient.
  11. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Sorry, but even if a subcontractor (Bartolini) is late and causing a delay, I think the absolute first thing that should be done is contacting the customer and giving him/her the update. I'd imagine the down payment on a custom bass of this level would more than enough to warrant that service. :scowl:
  12. Trev


    Feb 23, 2004
    I second this. I've tried to reach them via email a few times in the past and on most of those occasions I never received a reply back, and when they did it was only a lot later. Someone advised me to give them a call instead (I would have done that first except I don't live in the States) which I did and they were really very helpful, although I ended up ordering a Sonus Custom 4 thru Bass Northwest instead of direct from Zon (3 more months to go!).
  13. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    I know Joe Zon, and I can tell you that he is not INTENTIONALLY being remiss here. His shop is understaffed (as are almost all of us in this line of work), and he does not have someone that solely takes care of this issue (i.e. replying to phone calls and e-mail), as I do at Roscoe. Joe does it himself, unless Mark happens to answer the phone.

    Please keep in mind that in addition to scrambling for 10-12 hours a day building basses (and all that involves, which believe me if you're not doing it you don't have a CLUE what it's like), all of us in this industry would like to also have a PERSONAL LIFE. Joe has a child, and tries to spend some time with his family every day, and has every RIGHT to do so.

    In a perfect world, Joe would be able to afford to hire a full-time "general manager" to handle all of the non-manufacturing issues his business has. As that isn't the case, allow for a bit of time in responding to inquiries, and make an effort on your own part to get in touch (as the original poster did, and he got a positive response eventually). Every one of us in this business has an order like this that drives us to distraction for some reason outside of our control, and we can't spend every moment of the day dealing with that ONE issue - not when we have 100 other issues to deal with, each with a concerned customer involved with it.

    Patient persistance will pay off. :)
  14. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I own a business too.

    I understand being busy.
    I understand that things don't always go as planned.
    I understand being short on help.
    I understand the need for balance in ones' life.

    I do not understand poor communication with customers.

    In todays world, there are numerous channels for communication (perhaps too many?). People have come to expect contant, up-to-the-minute information, and instantaneous notification of any changes. Just look at successful web based businesses and you'll see what I'm pointing to. Order confirmation notices, order fulfillment status updates, shipping notices, tracking reports during shipping, etc.

    I'm not angry with Joe Zon, or trying to bash him. When I did get a response (after a month of trying) he was pleasant, apologetic, and helpful. I feel pretty good about him and about Zon, and I'm excited about the bass that's coming soon (I hope! :smug: ).

    That said, I think we owe it to our customers to be intentional about good communication *especially when things don't go as planned*. In my business, our most loyal customers are often the ones who were involved in some past unfortunate delay or problem with us. How we communicate with them and resolve the proble, is what generates loyalty and good will. That's when you get the credit in their minds for going the extra mile, or even just keeping them informed so they know what to expect.


  15. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    Matt, I'm right there with you, that's why I have the job I do, but not everyone's business model or budget allows for someone to be able to be that involved in that aspect of the business. My point is that while it wasn't an immedate reply, one eventually was given. Under the circumstances that Joe faces, I understand the time it took.
  16. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Rick Turner maybe cleared this kind of thing up for me the best: (paraphrase) "If I am on the phone with you then I'm not working on your bass" and his delays make this look like a hiccup (Love ya, Rick). I'm not saying that the delay with Zon is totally acceptable, but you are dealing with what is basically a one or two man shop, heading into Christmas, with NAMM 6 weeks away, and there is a choice: build the basses or communicate.

    I've had good luck getting responses from Zon, once over info on my Sonus, and once over a messup with some strings. Both times they were pretty quick and resolved the issue quickly. Maybe I got lucky, but I doubt it.

    Congrats on the Vinny! That is what I was looking at before I got my Sonus.
  17. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I'm sure he'a a great guy, and I think he builds a great bass (hope to find out soon :D ). I'm just saying that in today's world it is incumbent upon anyone hoping to thrive in business, no matter how busy, to find a way to reliably and consistently communicate with customers.

    I'm sure mine is not the only bass that's sitting there waiting for pickups from Bartolini. I'm not suggesting that they drop everything to make a personal call or e-mail to each of us, but would it be too much to ask for a blanket e-mail to all effected customers notifying that there'll be a delay? Or something, anything besides "radio silence"?

    I'm sorry. Maybe I'm expecting too much. After all it's jsut a $2,000 bass :rolleyes: . (Sorry that *was* sarcasm, and I've been told not to do that... :D )

    Seriously though, IMO this is just common sense and common courtesy. I don't think luthiers should be exempt from either.
  18. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Oh, and thanks for the congrats! I'm looking forward to it! :hyper:
  19. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    Hey, I agree dunamis, but there is always another side to the story, and fretlessrock's relayed comment from Rick Turner (another GREAT guy) is dead on - in a shop as small as the one at Zon, every second that is spent answering a phone call or e-mail is one that isn't spent building your bass! ;)

    Oh, and you'll dig the bass, I'm a Sonus Special 5 fretless owner, great instruments! :D
  20. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine

    Also, if it helps, here's MY story...

    I had a bart mid module that was doa in one of mine, totally not Zon's fault. Admittedly, I hit'em up for help nowhere near NAMM time, but they were absolutely fantastic. I had no trouble getting thru, but I always used the phone, and planned my calls for either early in their day or late. I know what it's like to work your butt off in a small shop. It's a rock and a hard place. If circumstances jam you up, which they always seem to do when you least need it, you have your choice... have folks crab at you because their instrument is late, or crab at you because they can't get you on the phone and you aren't responsive enough at the emails. Unfortunately, it's got nuthin to do with how much you care about your customers. The overload isn't long term, so it makes no sense to hire, so you just gotta' grit your teeth and bear it. Sucks.

    Anyway... I told them I was a very experienced solderer (which is true), and they ADVANCED me an entire new pre-wired drop-in preamp... not just the bad part. Outside of the time taken to carefully pop and reglue the modules, it took me only minutes, and I didn't have to pay any shipping, and since the problem only affected the mids adjustment, I was still very much able to play the bass while I waited for the parts. ZERO downtime or shipping cost. Can't beat that with a stick.

    Sorry about your sitch, but if it helps, I got nuttin' but pure kudos for Joe and the gang, and I'm continually amazed at the basses. I have some pretty cool stuff, at least two basses more expensive than the Zons, but my Zons get plenty of air time anyway.

    P.S. If you've never played a Zon fretless... you best be ready... if you can be, anyway... they sing so beautifully and are so alive and responsive... it is THE fretless for me for sure. :)