After yesterday’s post, I got a ton of feedback… honestly, most of it was positive, in the sense that it would appear that Ming did the right thing, and agreed to sort out the problems with the recently launched watch. The overall tone was one I tried to keep balanced and objective, focusing on the facts – but adding my opinion about a better approach they could take going forward.
Today’s post is no different. Gavin (@simplyuhren) reached out to me with his own experience as a Ming customer, and I will share it here today. These are simply screenshots of the various conversations, as-received, and shared with permission. At the end, I will add my own opinion on the content. Gavin’s email address and surname have been redacted, but the rest is unedited.
Gavin bought a watch, and was unhappy with the unevenness of the lume on the hands of the watch – he reached out to Ming, and they explained this was normal, and within their standards. He disagreed, and they offered to take the watch back for inspection, but warned him that if they deemed it to be acceptable, they would not send it back, but refund him instead (and keep the watch). He sent it in, and they refunded him after inspecting it, stating that they believe it was acceptable. It is unclear why he didn’t get the option to take it back, as I think that would not be unreasonable… but that’s what happened. During the time between him receiving it, and them inspecting it, he posted some stuff on his Instagram about the lume not being perfect, and hoping they would sort it out – this is the key fact.
Fast forward a few months, he decides to order another watch in a subsequent Ming launch – they take payment, but then he gets a email saying they have cancelled his order because he posted about the previous watch (with the lume issue), before they had a chance to inspect it, and so they don’t want to serve him, and will never serve him on future watches either! He also shared the transaction values of the sales and refunds, which resulted in an FX loss for him – this is perhaps less relevant, as FX can move in both directions, but I got the information, so I will share that too.
Below I will share all the screenshots and hopefully my summary is an accurate one – but you can see for yourself.
5 December 2020 – He reaches out to Ming
After the initial contact…
The second image is a post made by a friend of his, but reposted in his own story, quoting the reply received from Ming, shown above. Worth noting that at this point, Ming had not been given the chance to inspect the watch, but would have seen this post. This becomes relevant later on.
14 Dec 2020 – Ming receives the watch for inspection
So that’s that. Ming took the watch back, and he got his refund.
17 Apr 2021 – He ordered another Ming watch
The transactions with Ming, resulting in FX losses
My initial reaction was one of shock… after reading it a few times, I was curious about the words from Ming: “decided to publish a one-sided, biased version of events on social media“. So I asked Gavin, what did you post, which has upset them so much? He told me he has searched through his story archive and shared everything he has – I am sure Ming will have a version of their own to share, so worth reserving judgement on this.
Also worth noting that perhaps the lume issue was nothing to be concerned about, and perhaps the pictures show nothing serious is wrong. So what? Well, the customer is always right, and he spent the money, so that’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. This isn’t a debate about whether the lume was an issue at all, or not.
What would I have done differently?
- When the customer reached out saying the lume is uneven, Ming had an unhappy customer – the goal is to have a happy customer, not to get rid of them. If Ming is prepared to take it back and inspect, the customer should be given the chance to get it back after inspection. If nothing is wrong with the watch, the customer should pay the shipping charges for sending and getting it back. More often than not, the company covering the charges out of goodwill is quite well received anyway. The customer bought the watch because they liked it, and perhaps it is within Ming’s acceptable tolerances, but everyone is different, and of course you will never please everyone. That’s the nature of the business. I don’t see any reason to become condescending and talk about the limitations of physics. Just try and make them happy and lay out the possible solutions, without ‘penalising them’ for not being happy with what they got. This is simply arrogant, and sends the message that “we can do no wrong, so if you’re not happy, get lost, we don’t want you as a customer”. Customers should be entitled to their opinions, and while it is true that Ming is entitled to choose who they sell to, this is awfully petty when you think about it.
- In my opinion – a brand being offended by posts on social media is quite comical. (Ironic, since that’s what I am doing here too). The way I see it, this customer bought a Ming watch, and it was defective (in his opinion). He then decided to give Ming another try, and he was rejected as a customer. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but this seems exceedingly arrogant. As far as I can tell – regardless of what may have been said on social media (which may not be in the images above) – taking the view that nobody is allowed to criticise the brand publicly is absolutely insane.
I have it on good authority that the entire Ming team has been through and overcome many types of challenges in their journey so far, particularly around criticism and negative publicity etc. That will explain a lot of their approach in dealing with complaints and criticisms – very defensive, lots of explanations and excuses, always assuming bad intent on the other party’s side.
I think Ming need to get some training from a person like Max Busser. Anyway, I still want to make it super clear that I have no personal vendetta here, and I am simply sharing facts and my own opinion around them – their watches are good, and this customer service issue can be improved with coaching. It would be cool if they didn’t blacklist people who criticise the brand – feedback is a gift, use it and thank people for it – don’t try and silence it.
If Ming wish to respond, and for me to post the response below this post, I would be happy to do that too. I hope this helps them get better as a company.