Repairs and response

Let me begin by saying I’m not sure this is the right place to put this. This is a bit of a rant. I love having a glowforge. To be precise I love having a laser cutter. I was an member of the crowdfunding group. I waited two years for my glowforge. Then it came and I was thrilled. With in the first year I had two glowforge units replaced. when I asked support if there was anything I could have done differently they told me no just something was wrong with the units. I was ok with this lack of information because in short order they did replace the units and all considered the customer service was good and I was up and running in short order. My third unit worked great for a long time. When the machine got “stuck” I did all the recommended cures and it would work after a few tries. Then the unit was stuck and everything I tried did not work. I contacted support and they sent me a new ribbon for my lid. I replaced it according to their instructions and the unit still did not work. After sending pictures and trying other remedies. It was determined the unit could not be repaired remotely. I spent about $800 for the repair and I am waiting for its return. The Christmas season will be over soon. I will be out a large amount of money. I understand things happen. I love the idea of the company and how the glowforge has a vibrate community. But when I asked again what went wrong, I received a vague " I think they had to replace the whole lid assembly. I did get a response that the repair was not due to user causes. I guess that’s good. But not having any other information of what was wrong with the machine is disheartening. When you bring your car in they tell you in short order what they found and how they intend to fix it. Are the using new parts or refurbished parts. Are they improving on the parts to avoid future damage. I appreciate this is a highly technical machine but one should not assume we will not understand what is been done. I have no intention of trying to fix my machine in the future. I also will not spend millions of dollars to make my own. I do not understand why it is so difficult to be more transparent. That said, I tell people all the time how cool the glowforge is. I look forward to getting my machine back. I hope I sound measured and calm in my rant and I wish everyone a happy holiday season! Doug Wolfson

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Doug, boy do I feel you here.

You were really measured in your rant to the point of it not even being a rant. The facts of the matter behind the scenes with GF support are difficult to understand for us on the outside; for some reason the repairs are handled by a totally different fulfillment company and they don’t share much information back to glowforge. Glowforge doesn’t actually even know the details of which repairs were done, they just know it’s in the $x class of repair, and that’s what it’ll take.

This has been litigated in the public forum many times, I have nothing more to add here, but trust me, you’re not alone in your frustration.

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Wow, sorry you’ve been through 3 machines!
It would be nice if there were an option to receive a detailed service report, since they should indeed be creating it through tracking records as soon as it hits the service department (in theory, anyway).

But there may be policies that prohibit sharing these details, or the process/method to do so just hasn’t been worked out–since company focus was first on just building the units, not sure how much energy was put into the service department…

And I agree with the idea of getting a detailed report, but consider that car service is a 100 year old industry, and repair shops are in the business to service your vehicle–and was only recently given their existence that they started providing the detailed reports themselves. Whereas a company that is in business to manufacture a product may not give as much thought to the set up of the service department (even though many great examples do exist how to do it well), and often it’s just a “cost” center and doesn’t get much attention until the “costs” exceed a threshold… Not good for individual customers, but as a % for the business operations, is acceptable. I hope GF is not like this, but still just on the learning curve for their own process improvement!

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i have to say, maybe the car example isn’t perfect, but i don’t think i’ve ever had anything else repaired where the process was so opaque and that i couldn’t really get any information about what i was paying for. maybe not perfect detail, but certainly a lot more information than, “i think they had to replace the whole lid assembly, but it wasn’t your fault it broke.”

(and if you aren’t completely sure that it was the lid assembly that was replaced, how can you be sure it wasn’t anything the user did?)

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@evansd2 response is spot-on, and when I responded, I forgot it’s subcontracted.

So it’s even more problematic when a company subcontracts the repair services–so unless they’ve invested a lot into getting the communication/details reporting from the subcontracted repair company to their P&S team, then GF itself can’t do anything but be vague!

and that’s something they need to fix, because the long-term survival of this company will rely on the trust users (and potential users) have that these expensive pieces of machinery can be maintained and aren’t disposable. if all repair scenarios are expensive and opaque, they will gain a reputation that will chase away new and repeat business.

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Totally agree.
Not only for making the customers happy & respect their process via transparency,
but for their own understanding of their costs and design, material choice, or instructional how-to improvements to help avoid such failures & reasons for return.

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i suspect they get aggregate information about that, just not tied to specific machines.

Unless I’m doing the ranting, I’m pretty much anti-rant and you nailed it. Your response has been very measured and respectful. I think they have felt the large weight of negative feedback and hopefully when the service contract is up for renewal will include detailed troubleshooting reports in it.

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As far as the outsourcing of repairs is concerned, to put a fine point on it, I don’t care. Many consumer items we buy, the repairs are outsourced. I bought the glowforge from glowforge. Everything I get says glowforge on it. To be fair, they do not advertise that he repairs are done somewhere else. At the end of the day, I hold them responsible for everything that has their name on it.

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We’re all saying the same thing I think. Ultimately it seems to me that they need to get better transparency for us and for them.

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as @evansd2 said, we’re on the same page. outsourcing repairs is perfectly fine. just like outsourcing manufacturing, which GF does as well. don’t care if they advertise that they do or not, either. they just need to figure out how to be more transparent. i would be shocked if that information isn’t managed somewhere. the repair facility needs to know what they’ve been doing to manage their own costs and process.

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I’ve spoken out enough about this, but just want to give you a nod and say, “Yep.”

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