Monday, October 26, 2009

Into Every Blog, a little rain...

Khurasan Miniatures, a relatively new miniatures company, has recently entered the 15mm SciFi market.

Khurasan offers various “niche” sci-fi models, almost all of it off-beat. Some of these models are very nice – there is a swept-back grav tank that is very nice indeed.

Sadly, Khurasan doesn’t do so well in the field of customer relations, at least where I am concerned, or at least, not in my latest transaction.

After ordering the swept-back grav tanks, I noticed that the turrets were larger than I expected. Not larger than the picture showed, just larger than I expected.

Now, I like a certain “Traveller” look to my sci fi, and as many Traveller fans know, the later tech designs tend to have smaller turrets. Fortunately, or so I thought, the Khurasan website had different turret versions, so I contacted the owner (who doesn’t sign his emails, so it’s either Mike or John, but more of this anon) and asked if I could buy three alternate turrets. The reply, in toto:

“The pieces are not available separately.”

That’s it. Not even a “sorry” to dull the sting. Just a lofty, third person declaration. It’s not hard to surmise that the writer is thinking by the tone taken: “Next time, order the right bloody model.”

Tsk. Playing the blame game lets one party shift the blame and thereby relieve one’s self of any expectation for resolution. It’s best done when you already have your customer’s payment. I wanted to BUY extra turrets I wasn't looking for a hand out.

Also, this is my third order with Khurasan Minis - do I not get a bit of sympathy? A drop? ;) (Apparantly not - so siddown!)

Finally, I keep in mind that while Khurasan is not a big company, the owner has shown little hesitance to post on The Miniatures Page, usually often and at length. I’m not sure why his emails would take a different tone, although the idea that a customer complaint might create an adversarial response does occur.

So, armed with a sense of being slightly “had” (but only slightly - I did receive everything I had ordered - I just wasn't happy with it) I emailed back, explaining my dissatisfaction and disappointment. This resulted in a longer email explaining that all model pieces are cast in a single mold. Since Khurasan doesn’t cast in house, the owner couldn’t send any extra turrets without taking them from those models, rendering them useless.

Fair enough. Especially when you’re paying someone to cast your minis for you. I was a bit more mollified.

Hopefully, after some discussion, I was hoping that the owner might conclude that a little straight talk first is better than cryptic replies. (And if you think “cryptic” is too strong a word, consider how many other ways the question could have been answered (thusly:)

Dear Sir, unfortunately, our casting process does not allow us to sell individual parts at this time. Selling you “bits” would result in severe wastage for Khurasan Miniatures. We’re a small company, as you know, and couldn’t survive that kind of loss.

We do apologize.
The Man With No Name

Certainly a better reply than the first. Although anyone in business will tell you to sign your business emails, at least initially.

However, I then received an email from Khurusan stating that even if asked on the Miniatures Page, the Khurasan Policy (no substitutions/replacements) would still hold. Hey? I had only mentioned that Khurasan should try to keep his direct business emails as conversational (and not clipped and adversarial) as his TMP posts. Clearly, whoever is writing emails at Khurasan isn’t reading them properly, at least not mine.

To my way of thinking, there’s something suggesting unseen stressors at Khurasan Miniatures, and until these are resolved, the jury remains out. Either that or we have someone who keeps a different face on The Miniatures Page than he does in direct email with unhappy customers.

As a post script, the final exchange (aka blowoff) ran thus:

From: Khurasan Miniatures
To: kmfrye
Subject: RE: Notification of payment received
Date: Oct 26, 2009 6:55 PM

Well, whatever you think is best. Happy gaming!


This is a thinly veiled "whatever!" and was in reply to an email wherein I clarified the point about TMP:

KMFrye wrote:
> Mike or Jon(?)
> I'm not suggesting that you would not apply a policy evenly, or make an exception for TMP.
> I'm pointing out that you post on TMP often and at length in a conversational tone, but your personal emails in this issue began terse and off-putting (even adversarial). I would have been less likely to feel badly treated if you'd explained why in your first response.

> Remember, none of us *need* your product, we only *want* your product. That want can change at the speed of thought, and you can have a big impact on what we think by how you talk to us.
> It certainly has on me - I was thinking about placing another order (parasarachnids, artillery tank) but I'm now put off the idea.
> Sincerely,
> Keith F.
> P.S. It wasn't going to be a very big order anyway, and the artillery tank can be represented off-board.
> P.P.S. Not signing your emails is very unprofessional. And evasive.

So, a note to self to beware any further trade with Khurasan Miniatures. I never did have a problem with him, until I had a problem with him. And when I asked for some satisfaction, I got a shirty, adversarial, kinda arrogant (though not really enough to be certain of that last - he might just be that thick) set of replies, which left me feeling…discarded.

Not signing emails – especially business emails – is unprofessional and evasive.

I wonder what Mike or Jon or whomever really is Khurasan Miniatures is evading?…Ω

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