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'The Storm Drain'

Post Date: 2010-08-27

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TaxMan View Drop Down
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: 'The Storm Drain'
    Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 5:59pm
I'm wondering why the forum 'The Storm Drain' is only available to be viewed by those who register. I feel like hiding the only source of criticism of your company on these forums is quite cowardly, especially for a company that everyone around here lauds as essentially the messiah of custom computer builders. I also feel that deleting threads that are in 'The Storm Drain' immediately after resolution of the issue (at least I hope that's when they get deleted) is extremely unfair to those members who have gone so far as to register and are even able to see the forum in the first place.

I'm only motivated to post this because this company charges a premium over other boutique builders for their stated incredible customer service and technical assistance. For a company with nothing to hide, transparency is an asset. So why is there any cover up in the first place?

Edited to change the icon..  apparently the 'Confused' message icon is some kind of rabid and drooling smiley, haha.


Edited by TaxMan - 27 Aug 2010 at 6:09pm
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soulbringer View Drop Down
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  Quote soulbringer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 6:09pm
While I tend to agree with you to a certain point, Its not like they require you to be a DS owner to see the forum.  Its not too hard to register for a forum. 
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 6:26pm
I agree that it isn't difficult to register for a forum, but why have the complaints section hidden and regularly emptied? Someone making an informed purchase should have all sides of the story readily available, and a potential customer who just scans the forums looking for any possible criticisms would not see those messages.
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  Quote rayfinkle Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 6:34pm
I don't think they really sensor other threads and I've seen candid criticism outside of that forum area. Most of the posters on here are honest about what's a good value and what's not.

I think you're being a little knit-picky here... do the other builders even have semi-public forum for the specific purpose of complaints?

edit:

Also, it would be a little naive to allow a completely open forum like that. As professional as we hope most companies are, I would not be surprised if some would stoop so low as to come onto these forums and post false complaints or propaganda. While DS does have a responsibility to its customers to be forthright, it also has a responsibility to itself to be as competitive as possible so they can grow. Providing an uncensored platform for possibly malicious attacks would likely not be in their best interest.

And... as was said, all you have to do is register.

Edited by rayfinkle - 27 Aug 2010 at 6:42pm
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TaxMan View Drop Down
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 6:47pm
http://www.ibuypower.com/Ibpdri/tt.aspx?forumid=35

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=42

As a matter of fact, they do. And they're filled with a mix of positive and negative. And these are just the 'customer feedback' forums on both sites, both of them have other boards where complaints are aired as well.

Look, I don't have anything against this company, my ordering experience has been average. It just hasn't been above average, and definitely nothing I would consider exceptional. My ordering experience at those other two companies was significantly worse. But I canceled my orders there to come here on the basis of superior service, and had I been aware of some of the complaints here perhaps I would have had more basis to decide the monetary value of Digital Storm customer service.

Knit-picky, true. But what do you want from an accountant?



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  Quote rayfinkle Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 6:49pm
Well, my response was as diplomatic (and kinda BS'y) as I could be. What do you expect from a lawyer?

Accountant and lawyer, we could fight crime.

I'd also be interested to hear DS's own reasoning. The tech assistance forum requires registration too... I think there is a justification for it that I didn't hit on.

Edited by rayfinkle - 27 Aug 2010 at 7:02pm
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TaxMan View Drop Down
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:09pm
Wow, a lawyer who can poke fun at himself? Unheard of! Unfortunately, I already fight crime. I'm with a big organization you may or may not have heard of. We're called the IRS..  and we're always looking for attorneys for our Counsel positions. Care to take a massive pay cut and join the rank and file of the unionized government workforce?

Back to the topic, the insistence by management that all complaints be first dealt with privately to further conceal any grievances strikes me as a bit odd, too. The bottom line is that I'm always for transparency, and upon registering about two weeks after ordering and extensively browsing these forums, I was just surprised to see that forum and how it operates.
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:10pm
you guys are funny, lol
i gave a little thought to this too and i look at it two ways
 
govt employees that support transparency? thats a first. zing!
(im kidding of course)
 
as far as having to register, i think that too much is availible, amount of registrations matters, so id have next to nothing avail without a registry
 
as far as deleting them on completion, i look at it this way: they are only deleted when the problem is resolved, you seemed to question the validity of this in your post, but ive watched a LOT of these start and finish, and if it got resolved, i dont see much problem with them being deleted. i dont personally think its a good idea, but hey, its not my company
point being, its not like anyone is censored or ignored, its quite the opposite the way the forums tend to work is that these threads get a LOT of attention
 
where i can see thier motivation is that when users have a problem, they tend to post RIGHT away and usually are in a bad mood(understandably), usually even rude or hysterical -BUT- why should these threads be left up when the majority of people never take the time to post a positive review? if all the storm drain threads were left up, the forums would easily give the impression that more people have problems then have everything work out
 
ive seen people come and go a LOTTT from these forums, and the most typical path i see is
post for help
pick a config, chat about it
post one or two times to stay that you are stuck on stage __ and you are so bothered that its been 2 whole days
dissappear.
 
obviously, the last stage is when they got the computer, everything is great, nothing more to add. to be sure, some people will post reviews, pictures, happy comments, etc, but its a minority of the people who successfully get great systems
 
point being.. i guess.. is that if more people took the time to say how well things went, there would be more motivation to leave up the negative threads, even though ive yet to see a negative thread end in "sorry but i sent it back and i will shop elsewhere" .. it may have happened, but ive never seen it


Edited by !ender_ - 27 Aug 2010 at 7:11pm
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:23pm
I absolutely believe you about the end results of the negative threads. I think it would be an even more powerful testament to this company's dedication to service if all of those resolved issues and now-sated-customers' responses were left up.

Well played on the government transparency issue.


Edited by TaxMan - 27 Aug 2010 at 7:24pm
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  Quote rayfinkle Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:27pm
I'm at the SEC currently... so if you're in the district, I'm just down the street.   
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:30pm
I'm in the Midtown Manhattan office..  so if you're in New York, it's possible.

Also to be really 'knit-picky' it just occurred to me that the spelling is actually nit-picky. I knew something was bothering me about it.
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  Quote rayfinkle Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 Aug 2010 at 7:36pm
I was referring to the online yarn store: http://www.knitpicks.com/knitting.cfm



(Also, I meant the district as in D.C.)

Edited by rayfinkle - 27 Aug 2010 at 7:38pm
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  Quote e06028 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 28 Aug 2010 at 2:08am

I looked at the link you put on your posts and one thing I see is that those companies don't answer the negative posts most of the time and if they do resolve the issue they never say what they did. Every post I have read in the storm drain has been resolved and deleted.  I once had a post in the storm drain and they went above and beyond the call to get me fixed and I was ok with them deleting the post. Look in the storm drain now, there is a post in there and Alex is working on the problem.  Did not see any of those two other companies do anything like that.

You said "For a company with nothing to hide, transparency is an asset. So why is there any cover up in the first place?", I really don't understand that one at all.  Go look at their front page and hover over the reviews button, is that hiding when they show you there BB rating, do the other companies do that?

I also agree if you read enough posts you will see that people have complaints and they get fixed and the post it not deleted. !ender is correct that "they tend to post RIGHT away and usually are in a bad mood(understandably), usually even rude or hysterical" and in the end like me they post how everything was fixed and they are happy once again. 

Maybe those two companies should have a storm drain and fix the problems, that may help the BB rating.  You can buy cheap and get no resolution to your problems or you can by where you get good customer service and things get fixed. Peace of mind is worth the extra few dollars we paid.

And finally I would not consider those two companies you posted the link for competitors to DS, I can't mention their competitors but I can say that one of them does not even have a forum and the other does have a complaint area at all in their forums, wonder why?




Edited by e06028 - 28 Aug 2010 at 2:21am
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 28 Aug 2010 at 11:22am
I would just like to say that I did not intend this message to be construed as any kind of attack upon Digital Storm or their customer or technical assistance. I am offering constructive criticism. I am also informing any lurkers out there to the existence of a complaints forum, something I had no idea about while I lurked here for about two to three weeks.

Both of those companies I listed are competitors to Digital Storm, period. They offer the similar goods and services, they operate under a similar business model, and they are in geographic proximity. Yes, there are others. Some have forums, some do not. I was merely pointing out that some competitors exist that allow unregistered potential customers to see complaints.

I understand that everything that gets posted there gets fixed, I just don't understand the concept of why leaving those posts where everything is resolved would not benefit the company and support their position of complete satisfaction. To me, it is odd that a company that differentiates from its competitors through customer service would not demonstrate that differentiation proudly. As in, 'look at those other forums, very few responses from the company and unhappy customers..  look at our forums, timely responses from the company and happy customers!'

And, as an aside, the BBB rankings are a bit of a joke if you research them. Rankings are fairly arbitrary. Digital Storm has an A+, with 27 complaints in the last 3 years, and all of them resolved. Falcon Northwest has an A, with 2 complaints in the last 3 years, and all of them resolved. IBuyPower and Cyberpower have B+ and B rankings, and they have hundreds of complaints, with many unresolved. If you research the BBB, they have no hard guidelines or statistical basis..  as an auditor this makes me shake my head and throw up my hands. Also, Digital Storm has to pay something like $50 or $60 a month to display their BBB seal, which is a bit ridiculous. I'm sure that there are plenty of parents who order from here for their children, so to them the BBB seal is very comforting. I understand the cost to benefit. What I don't understand is why Digital Storm doesn't advertise their 9.23 lifetime - Outside Link Removed - ranking, or their perfect 10 ranking over the last half year?

Edit: Even more bizarrely, I can't even mention the name of the 3rd party feedback website where Digital Storm is held in very high esteem. But I'm sure most of you know what I mean.


Edited by TaxMan - 28 Aug 2010 at 11:26am
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 28 Aug 2010 at 11:44am
Originally posted by TaxMan

I understand that everything that gets posted there gets fixed, I just don't understand the concept of why leaving those posts where everything is resolved would not benefit the company and support their position of complete satisfaction. To me, it is odd that a company that differentiates from its competitors through customer service would not demonstrate that differentiation proudly. As in, 'look at those other forums, very few responses from the company and unhappy customers..  look at our forums, timely responses from the company and happy customers!'

I've always figured that they felt it would look bad given enough time for the Drain threads to pile up. Not many issues get posted there, even less of them actually DS's fault, and they all get taken care of, but they probably figure that once enough add up some people might see a few pages of issues there and think "oh no so many customers are having problems!" without looking at the dates or even checking the threads to see if/how things were resolved. Because honestly, there are definitely a lot of very unperceptive people out there.

But still, the Drain threads always amuse me. Regardless of if they come in there calm with a minor issue or even frothing at mouth rage angry, they all end up stumbling away with a goofy smile on their face looking like they just came out of a KY Intense commercial, saying, "Wow, Alex is good."
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 28 Aug 2010 at 1:40pm
exactly, similar to what i was trying to get across, but the coexisting point here is that the threads are always resolved, no rating site or this forum has an issue that i have ever personally seen not get fixed, thats the important fact, even if every single order that went out had problems, if all of them get fixed, its the same or better as nothing being wrong in the first place imo
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Aug 2010 at 9:27pm
The reason why the 'StormDrain' is the way it is because the average consumer may get the wrong interpretation of how great Digital Storm is. If we were to house all issues/concerns and archived them then not everyone may understand the actual issue(s) rate of our systems. As an example, if a user saw 100+ posts of issues, they may not understand that that may be only 0.50% of all of the systems we ship out.

Also, the 'StormDrain' is a section for registered users like customers and forum members to view and discuss. Once you become a member (to even post a configuration review) you'll see the section.

Finishing off, we don't close the thread until the issue is resolved to the customers satisfaction.

I hope that clarifies everything.

Edited by Alex - 29 Aug 2010 at 9:30pm
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Aug 2010 at 10:28pm
can you mix the stormdrain with the customer review session, keeping the original stormdrain topic that is members only to help get issues recognized and resolved faster, and put in a selection system of the average rating of digital storm (positive, negative? positive corresponding to regular reviews, negative corresponding to the stormdrain ones that were filtered in). that would allow non-members to judge for themselves how good Digital Storm is, by comparing the sheer amount of positive reviews compared to negative reviews.

rephrasing it. keep the original stormdrain members-only to help resolve issues. clone stormdrain topics to customer reviews, grouping them under a tag of "concerns/issues". have the customer reviews sorted by "positive" and "concerns/issues", positive being the current reviews, "concerns/issues" being all stormdrain topics that are cloned in. when you delete a stormdrain topic eventually for simplicity in the members-only storm drain, it shouldn't delete the one in customer reviews with it.
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Aug 2010 at 11:00pm
There is a section already for 'technical support' and issues. The 'StormDrain' is only used when we feel that the topic of the thread isn't asking for help but instead pointing out issues with an experience with Digital Storm.
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  Quote TaxMan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 6:51pm
Well, I appreciate the answer. I don't agree that it's the best course of action, but in the end this isn't my company to make decisions for, haha.

Here's to hoping none of us ever have to post there!
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