Service situation

edited June 8 in Blog

Dear Sim Racers,

I would like to explain the situation we are facing at the moment.

Since March we are getting an unusual and unexpected amount of orders. This has to do with the lock down but also with the increased promotion of sim racing as replacement for the real life race events. This is obviously no reason to complain and we are super happy about the new popularity of sim racing in general.

The orders on some days were suddenly five times higher than in January and the January numbers were already 60% above the previous year. But despite that we are temporarily sold out of many products the demand is still crazy high and still three times higher then what we planned.

This means we have a shortage of manpower to handle all sales enquiries and technical support issues. We need to at least triple our staff from one day to the next and it takes time to train them in order to be effective.

A part of our team still has to work from home and this means distraction from kids which are still not in school etc. At the same time, our production can hardly keep up with the huge and sudden increase and this is causing products on pre-order. Logistics are also hard to control with a lot of uncertainties due to the pandemic which is always problematic as there will be delays and wrong shipping dates. But despite the external factors, we also have massive bugs on our new website which is causing a variety of avoidable issues and I clearly have to apologize for that. It looks like we picked the wrong webdesign agency but we are about to solve this problem as well within the next weeks.

Please note that we are urgently looking for a variety of new employees and have a clear preference for people with sim racing background so please feel free to apply for a job at Endor.

While we build up our team I would kindly ask you for patience. It can take over a week to get back to you on your messages but you will get a response.

Please support us with the following:

  • Do not send us reminders or ask us when we will come back to you. Rest assured we will get back to you within 14 days. If not then you are welcome to remind us.
  • Your tracking info will be sent when the product is dispatched. Please don't ask for tracking info.
  • Please read our FAQ and the manual before contacting us. This could avoid 30% of support inquiries.
  • Please don't be mad at us. Our team is really working hard.

Please feel free to share this article if you find some unsatisfied customer in social media so they get a better understanding. Thank you.

Despite all the difficulties I am happy to welcome a lot of new Fanatec owners and wish them a lot of fun with our equipment.

Thomas

«134

Comments

  • Thomas, you have a massive opportunity at your hands - sorry to be a little nitpicky, but some of your wording makes me think you don't realise the potential:

    A part of our team still has to work from home and this means distraction from kids which are still not in school etc. 

    Every leader in these difficult times should acknowledge that family and kids need to go hand in hand with work - especially in these times you have the opportunity or are nearly forced to build a modern working environment. However, instead of seeing the opportunity in building a modern work environment in which one can take care for the family and work flexibly from home, all your hiring and demands are to work "undistracted from Landshut".

    But despite the external fators we also have massive bugs on our new website which is causing a variety of avoidable issues and I clearly have to apologize for that. It looks like we picked the wrong webdesign agency

    Secondly, I can't really buy an apology that assigns blame right away to "the wrong agency". You and I have been in the space of software development for a long time, and the situation on your website looks and feels similar as the debacle with firmwares recently - it's all beta down the way. This starts to feel systemic and instead of pointing fingers it may be worth looking in your own ranks.


    You've been doing so many right steps with the product portfolio, partnerships, marketing - it's all looking great from an outside view! It's time to get some of the last internal bits right on the software engineering, project management and working environment front and you'll come out on the other side not finding it hard to staff your team and build production-ready software - promised.

  • Nothing is worse then silence. To be open and honest and be vulnerable is not weak but super strong move. Every company with delivery problems should act like you. Being transparant creates understanding. Big compliments

  • Don’t ask for tracking information? What about for an item that your team claims was shipped almost a month ago? I believe that package may have actually been lost. Order # 1078239.

  • Thanks Thomas. I think transparent communication like this is a great move. I hope to see you do it even more often. Totally understand what you all are going through and everything you said makes sense (especially about hiring carefully). I hope you can catch up with the demand soon.

    I'm a new Fanatec customer myself, and while I feel the DD1 driver/firmware development has a long way to go, I really find your products refreshing: lots of metal, screws, and carbon fiber, and very little plastic and glue. Most everything seems to be relatively modular, serviceable and repairable. As long as you keep up this kind of quality (and fill in the gaps with drivers/firmware) I'll be a customer of yours for life.

    All the best to you and your staff!

  • Thanks for being open and transparent. However, your company has not handled the situation particularly well. There are countless upset customers. If you can’t fulfill all of the orders, show them as sold out and do not take money from people until the product can be shipped in a reasonable time frame. What are you going to do for the people who have had to wait months to get their orders? If the answer is nothing, which I assume it is, you will lose customers and damage your businesses reputation, which is invaluable. Consider these words carefully. If you give people a discount or send some additional products due to the inconvenience, people will appreciate it and will probably remain loyal customers. Should you simply explain all of the reasons you are falling short and do not see things from the customers perspective, you will have a lot of upset customers who will cancel their orders and order from your competitors. You have a golden opportunity here, if handled well.

  • It's a bit late to say fanatec is being honest and transparent, that boat sailed months ago.

    This sort of message should have come from the top months ago, making lots of sales is not an excuse to have poor support in place in responding to peoples queries / issues.

    The best companies are always looking for ways to improve not sticking their finger in a hole when a new leak occurs.

    If fanatec made a statement like this three or four months ago it would have created a lot more goodwill than a statement after the fact.

  • As a customer who has been waiting since the early half of April for an order to ship out, I do appreciate you addressing your consumer base about this issue. One thing I think a lot of us would like clarification on is how pre-order fulfillment is being handled.

    In my particular case, I was notified on April 21 that my order was in warehouse processing and prepping for shipment. I was then told that an error occurred regarding the wheel rim inventory and that I would have one shipped from the EU warehouse at no extra charge and my order would be delayed about two weeks, with an expected delivery around May 7. During this time, my order was put back into processing and the equipment that was rightfully mine was somehow sold out of stock so when the wheel rim arrived my wheel base was no longer available. This is a massive oversight and many people feel lied to about their pre-orders.

    Shouldn't those of us who ordered first and are waiting on products have them held prior to shipping out any new orders? How did my "warehouse processing" hardware get sold out from under me while waiting on a wheel rim that was a miscalculation on the part of Fanatec? This doesn't seem to be an isolated incident unfortunately. We all want to support Fanatec and we believe in your products, but it doesn't feel like our orders are being rightfully fulfilled which doesn't inspire confidence in the brand.

  • Hi Tomas,

    it’s always good to see when a company is honest about struggles, I have to agree your old website was much better than this one, it looks nice but is functionally poor and possibly restrictive to your team. I would like your advice though, I am still waiting for a postage refund from my order in December, should I contact again or can you help me?

    thanks

    tom

  • edited June 7

    In my personal opinion the statement is a little shameful.

    I've been waiting for the Advanced Shifting Paddles for the Porsche GT3 steering wheel for 4 weeks. UPS supposedly delivered it to me. However, this package never arrived. No we are sorry, no we take care of it, no accommodation, nothing! I spent over 2.5k Euros at Fanatec and the after sales support is just a bad joke. When I'm at work, I can't just blame the pandemic situation for my own negligence. I don't even want to start with the beta driver problem. Perhaps you should temporarily close your shop for any kind of new orders and focus on the many disgruntled customers instead of continuing sell products quantitatively and constantly presenting further excuses.

    I am a very patient person. But I've never seen such poor customer service for high-priced products.

  • Hi Joe, I've sent you a PM.

    Hi Dominic, I can see that the sales team is waiting on confirmation from UPS that the package has been lost. Once that is verified, we would of course send you a new unit. If you would like to discuss this (or your other points), please send me a PM.

  • Glad to see an update from from Thomas. Wish there had been a few more over the past several weeks, but better late than never. I hope more updates like this continue to be published regularly.

  • Thanks,


    It is absolutely awkward, if the CEO asks for patience because sales are five times higher than usual, but customers' problems are put off. Who am I supposed to have patience and pity for now?

  • Sharing this on social media will only make the problem worse. You have to address the issues at hand...

  • I tried to buy a wheel and peddles several weeks ago. Initially the website wouldn't process the order. But I then realized that what your website said I was to be charged and what it actually tried to charge me where different by 20%. 20%! I tried to reach out to get to the bottom of this and I was given some half-assed answer blaming everything on a "known" issue with the website and did absolutely nothing to help me resolve the issue. I'm glad the original order didn't go through. Fourther attempts to get this resolved and GIVE YOU MY MONEY where met with crickets.

    I understand there are challenges at this time, but as others have already stated, and adjusting the bar for the world we currently live in, you still failed. The sheer number of angry customers and attempted customers should be a wake up call.

    This announcement also comes far too late. Either you knew there where problems and chose to decisive people or you didn't know there were any issues. Both of these scenarios are troubling and raise serious questions about the company and its leadership.


    If your staff had made even slightly attempt to help me, I might have ordered a LOT more product.

  • This is why I no longer pre-order anything. If we stop giving companies our money before they have product to ship, they will stop offering "pre-orders" and will work harder to have stock on hand to ship.

  • If you sent a message to our team it will be answered and your case will be solved to your satisfaction. Please understand that it just takes a bit longer than ususal

    If we would put porducts on "sold out" with no pre-order possibility we would be flooded by inquiries when the products are available. To build a product and ship it takes several months. If the demand suddenly increases it is not a matter of just working harder.

    Dom will look into this case in order to understand what the problem is or was. Perhaps it is just a communication problem because I could not understand what your problem was from what you wrote.

    If your email or case does not get resolved within a month then you are definitely welcome to contact us again.

    Home office is a great thing for some and works really well. But there are plenty of employees which told us that there are happy to be in the office again as they cannot work properly at home. This is a very individual thing.

  • Sorry to just butt in, but a month for an email back?

    For starters, your email auto reply says 7 working days, which is confusing in itself, because everyone counts working days differently, secondly, if you can't fulfil orders, why are you still taking them and letting people pay thousands? Is that fair on the consumer, when there is no clear date for product assembly, *never mind* final delivery?


    If it had been made clear on the website when I ordered my stuff on the 6th of May that you would not be fulfilling my order until mid July, I would have sorted it elsewhere, or just waited until the rush was over. At first I was told early June, that changed to mid-June (which is wasn't informed of, had to find out for myself), and now that has changed to mid July, except for one product on my order, which has now changed to 26th of May, but obviously hasn't been despatched yet.


    I am not angry, just disappointed. I want my stuff, and won't be cancelling my order, but I do find it hard to recommend a company to others that, while I obviously appreciate these are unprecedented circumstances regarding the pandemic and general political turmoil, cannot maintain even basic communication with its customers, despite them being paid vast stacks of cash to do so, among other things.


    Maybe I'll change my tune when I'm sat behind my CSW with my new gear, but for now, honestly I've gotta say I'm pretty gutted.

  • edited June 8

    Hi Thomas, I appreciate your transparency but like other customers said there's a lot of other issues that are showing us you guys are going on the wrong way. I was reading stuff in here since the quarentine starts. I saw so many bad stories but regardless I decided to give a leap of faith on Fanatec and to go forward and now I have the same problem on my side. I placed my order on May 17th and since the bundle I got (DD1 + F1 Wheel + Pedals V3) was listed for availability on June 5th I've been waiting paciently to receive updates from Fanatec 'til this day. I never wrote to you guys until last friday (june 5th) the day I was supposed to get any information about my order. So today is 8th and like other customers I got zero communication.

    In april I was checking to purchase my bundle and the Pre-Order was May 22nd ... couple days later changed to June 5th and I waited a few more days before placing the orther just to check if you guys would change it again. As long as the availability never changed anymore so I did it. I thought there's plenty of time for Fanatec to manufacture and delivery products in 20-30 days, so let's do it.

    I do work for a company that provides online products as well but guess what? As soon as our inventory became really low we stopped selling online to avoid people buying and getting mad not to receveing their products. We decided to give 100% support to customers that placed the order until certain day, work with our manufactures and later reopen for more others. Guess what? We dropped the bad reviews and negative feedbacks in almost 70%. That's what you guys were suppose to do, focus on orders and stop getting new ones.

    At this point I'm just frustrating like the others are and I fell very sorry for people that've been waiting and waiting for some answer on the past weeks, but now I'm part of the problem too. Spending almost $2100 during these times when money is short and every investiment should be made to protect our family was a really hard decision to me and I believe you guys should be way more transparent than that.

    If I don't get any positive feedback from Fanatec on the next couple days I'll have to cancel my order and ask for refund. I completely understand if Fanatec ran out of inventory because of what's happening in the world now a days but do not promisse a timeframe you can't fullfill or even worst, keep moving dates forever It's just unacceptable. I can't work with a company that don't honor or respect their own customers.

  • While I agree with most others that an update weeks or months ago would have helped things tremendously it is nice to see something said as to the situation at hand.

    With that being said, I’m hoping the issues with payments being refused or flat out not going through is being addressed. I have been trying to purchase a new wheel and base for several days. I’m starting to worry it will sell out before I have a chance to get an order in. I haven’t been able to find a concrete cause for the issue on this forum or any ay. I just know it is not a problem on my end.

    As more and more countries open up I hope you and your team gets a chance to catch up and find ways to improve going forward.

  • edited June 8

    I would like to know what you can earn working for Fanatec/Endor and from which places you can work :)

    I'm working for free, making Fanatec Videos and new steeringwheels as an hobby xD

    https://forum.fanatec.com/discussion/2569/fanatec-podium-gt3-type-steeringwheel-could-look-like

  • Thanks for the efforts, stay safe! I ordered itms which were in stock/available and they came within a week, even in the midst of the pandemic. I made a seperate order for items which were back-ordered so as not to hold up the available items (Fanatec bundles to save shipping costs), and my 62 years of dealing with back orders leads me to accept that these items will get here whenever they do, there are no futurer guarantees, unfortunately. Cheers everyone.

    "Happy Gaming"

  • Several weeks ago I ordered the V3 pedals that were supposed to be available on June 5. The main reason I bought the club sports were because of their earlier shipping date. My order was processed several days ago but it has yet to have been shipped. The only update I have received is that fedex has created a shipping label. It has been like this for several days and it is worrying me because on the forums I have seen many others seeing their products ship out while mine hasn’t. I would like an update on the status of my product as I have been waiting a while to get it.

  • I am a new customer to Fanatec and after extensive research I decided to buy from your company. I ordered items that were to be in stock on June 5 and June 12. I placed one large order, not realizing what others have said about having to place separate orders for in-stock and preorder items. The availability date for my entire order has moved to July 3, and today, to July 17. I do not understand why items that I see in stock on your website today are now being delayed to July 17 without any explanation, and I am concerned that my entire order is going to keep getting delayed just because one or two items are back ordered (which is also frustrating because those items were in stock when I placed the order in early May). I have already submitted a service email but I am raising this concern here because it seems like it would go a long way to keep customers from feeling helpless after they spend thousands with your company.

  • edited June 8

    Appreciate the honesty and hope you guys can work everything out.

    My question is pretty similar so others it seems like. I ordered a setup with some parts in stock and most parts with the availability date of June 5th. I check the site now and all of those parts availability dates have been pushed back to mid July. So is my order pushed back until the parts are available or did i get my parts reserved with the restock date that was on the website when I ordered?

  • Andrew, I feel like I'm about to be in a similar boat as you. I ordered the basic CSL Elite starter kit which currently has an availability of June 12, but I mistakenly ordered the load cell kit within the same order which is set for availability July 10. I sent an email asking if my order could be partially shipped, but haven't heard anything back yet (been 6 days w/o a response, so not worried quite yet).

    If they don't partially ship the order, I'm just afraid they won't reserve my bundle and that it'll be out of stock when the load cell kit is available, since everything is selling like crazy. I'd like them to answer whether they honor preorders as reserves or if you just ship when all parts are available? (order: 1092105)

  • Thomas, please don't listen to these social justice warriors that have no clue what it is like to run a business. Not only to run a business but one that got 1000% more orders because of a worldwide lock down. They should realize you cannot control that amount of influx out of nowhere with limited ability to be able to control variables out of your control. No, I'm not a Fanatec fanboy but as a business owner, I know the exact issues faced while they cry because their new toy hasn't arrived from Santa.

  • Thomas and the entire team at FANATEC. I have been a customer since 2012 (Maybe before). I love my equipment, but I have always disliked how you treat your customers.

    You have the sudden opportunity to address this and improve it and you seemed to have missed the boat with your post. You inventory and ordering systems have always been a mess. Your support is good but if you can get someone on the phone you are lucky. You even made the point that your email response time is pretty bad...14 days. All of these things have been bad for a long time, this is not new, now having the advantage of being popular and wanted has forced all of them into the light.

    Everyone I know loves you products but hates your customer service and your processes. To be honest the blog post is very German, but the company is not run like a well oiled German machine. This is not the first time in the last 5 to 10 years this has been a topic either. I know I have talked to many customers of yours who say the same thing over and over again. Great products, horrible customer service.

    Even after being told to buy the wrong product recently I was charged a 15% restocking fee and then had to pay $80 worth of shipping to get the product back to you. That is unacceptable. I lost $250 to be a loyal customer....how does that work?

    Things that need improvement now:

    Product Details - Being XBOX One Ready needs to be explained - It does not mean it will work with XBOX ONE. Your mistake and lack of explanation cost me $250 - Repeat customers should not have to lose money to be customers.

    Ordering System - The process is flawed and needs to be improved. Even after ordering you have no idea what is being shipped and when for too many days. The information needs to be more accurate. We live in a world of Amazon and online ordering. They are the gold standard and It's not unfathomable that you could do the same.

    Support - Not enough staff and the hours for support are very limited. The emails also lack details and don't explain things.

    I see this as an opportunity to listen to the people who have been with you for almost 10 years and keep buying from you despite being treated poorly. Hope this situation wakes you up and turns you into a better company.

  • I hope that the announced deadlines will be respected that I can write a positive article on Fanatec ;)

    https://www.poleposition.ca/galeries-photos/grand-prix-de-belgique-f1-1155 😉


  • I understand the situation, and I honestly think most do. We are all going through rough changes with a pandemic and that combined with a big business uptick can be challenging. 

    What I would suggest though is to reflect on how this was worded, because it really is important in how your customers perceive you.

    Asking people not to follow up for two weeks, to read the manual, and otherwise be patient may be okay asks for this kind of extreme situation- but it comes off to me as though the customer is the problem. Combine that with also placing blame on a third party software development team, it comes off as not owning any responsibility. Saying things like “Do not contact us” is a very rough message that can really be easily smoothed over with a “please.”

    I think you announcing your own changes to help fix the problem would go a long way for those who are frustrated, for example:

    Are you actively hiring X% to go with the increased demand? 

    Hiring more customer support to bring down response times? 

    Coming up with better automated support options?

    Are you making a better onboarding process?

    Without it, it’s coming across as acknowledging the problem but we should not expect anything to change on your end since you don’t have a problem. It’s just the market and customers an development company. 

    I am going to assume best intent and encourage others to do so as well, but a lot of us are going through similar things in our jobs and a similar response from us and our companies may not be acceptable so it’s important to be cognizant of that. 

    I wish you all nothing but the best of luck.

  • it is 2020 and still no job with Home Office possibilities....

Sign In or Register to comment.