Just the best at what they do.
Not great at marketing (MyMemory beat them at that and some of MyMemory's regular emails have provoked me to purchase goods I probably really didn't need). But when it comes to providing computer memory, Crucial really are the top player.
The scanning tool is top-notch and the best in the industry. The prices doubly so. I purchased 4GB for an old MacBook Pro and it arrived recorded delivery, perfectly packaged together with the add-on anti-static strap. From order receipt to delivery - 2 days. Naturally the 4GB DIMM saw my boot times reduce from 15 seconds, down to 7 (hey if you run Windows I don't think anything you buy will achieve that!)
Great at what they do, but need more aggression.
Just when the financial services industry is on its knees, Virgin Money provide a welcome alternative.
Hugely aggressive (that is against competitors and in matching and beating other quotes) stocked to the eyeballs with native British staff (none of the daft off-shoring to India/North Korea/Iran etc. that other firms do) and absolutely committed to moving things along quickly and swiftly - Virgin Money provide a credible alternative to High Street Banks and online finance firms.
We (i.e. the missus and I) shifted our credit card debts to them with their ridiculous and sustained 0% deal, which saw us actually paying-off the debts (and thus naturally allow us to buy new things on...our Virgin credit card). Then we decided shifted the mortgage to them (well another equally well-performing division of Virgin), and already been told that the approval has been granted and the date for the switchover complete (they aim to wrap things up inside 6 weeks).
No harassing, they have fully trained and enthusiastic staff (so presumably a decent salary or attractive bonuses) a great IT system and an overall commitment to achieving their goals (i.e. profit etc) through the route of outstanding customer service.
Just as you despair of the state of British firms who in the worst recession in living memory got worse rather than better, Virgin Money are a breath of fresh air. They are one of the few firms on the planet (I include Apple, Amazon, Crucial & Thomann gmBh in the same category) who invariably embarrass the hopeless efforts of their competitors.
Ordered what looked like a great tablet (a 'Disgo') with a great price. Went for the three-day delivery option when I was likely to be about.
EBuyers warehouse staff got the item out in short order, and the Yodel tracker indicated it had arrived at the local depot early the next morning.
And that unfortunately was as far as it went. Never made it onto a van, and consequently never made it to my address for delivery (the driver for the round on the day even came around and confirmed he had never been to the address). Regrettably one of Yodel's staff had thieved it, perhaps thinking it was a more expensive iPad. Unfortunately whoever had loaded the van (not the driver apparently) hadn't thought of scanning the item as being outbound.
I'm sure it happens occasionally with every courier (though I've never experienced it before), but EBuyer are being let down in an effort to improve their basement level customer services reputation - not by their actions, but by their choice of fulfillment partner.
My second favorite international sales company, beaten only by Apple Corp.
Thomann's domination of the European music hardware retail market is possible only because of their fantastically aggressive pricing policy (they routinely beat any UK sellers' price, even when having to ship from Germany) and a great web site.
I recently purchased an Audio-Technica AT2035 mic and stand for a price that no UK retailer could get near.
If I buy anything, absolutely anything music-equipment-wise, it really is a good idea to check the web site first. In all likelihood, particularly with their great warranties, Thomann will have the best deal.
I selected a Fatman Trinity Carbon & it was duly purchased on a Thursday, with a promise to deliver the next day. Friday came-and-went, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. My wife phoned & was told that the item had been returned to the warehouse by the courier as the address wasn't readable. Our telepathy function was off, so I'm not sure when Audio Affair's were going to mention this; my wife spent over 20 minutes trying to get through and time as well trying to get sense out of the couriers.
As it is, going through the sales department, she arranged re-delivery to a work address. By then though, with the extra time, I'd decided to go for another solution, so cancelled the order.
Why a three and not a one star? Well the pre-sales support with the online messaging system was superb, and the return of our purchase money was swift and performed without a quibble.
Although unintended, the 'cooling off' period, when Audio Affair failed to deliver the goods was useful, as it allowed me to investigate a better hi-fi solution, although that didn't involve Audio Affair or Fatman. Letting customers back-out from a purchase by not delivering the goods, when the 'money is in the bank' is a peculiarly British thing, unique only to British companies. In my case it served me well.
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