Joined: 23 Jun 2006
|Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:00 pm
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
|We sometimes talk about the "same old story" at kamado, and refer to problems with comments like "here we go again". A diligent reseacher has kindly compiled an outline of Kamado's "constantly improving" customer service. Here is a graph showing the pattern of announcements touting forthcoming improvements:
And here we have excerpted announcements of how important customer service is, and everything our pals at Kamado are doing to fix it. This doesn't include anything before 2002 (including the first move to Indonesia), nor anything this year. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. What you see documented here is five years of repeated apologies, lies, and unfulfilled promises. Enjoy.
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
We are delighted to announce Tony Needham, Cheryl’s husband, has joined our company as production foreman. I have tried for over 6 years to entice Tony to join us full time (he has helped in all phases of Kamado manufacturing and development since the very beginning of the new #7.) Since Tony is Deborah and my brother-in-law and lives a few miles away, we have many social opportunities to work on him and finally we have a “hook-up.” Tony is a General Contractor with over 20 years in major home and apartment construction supervising large construction teams. Many have met Tony and Cheryl at our last cook-off where they added cooking experiences in their 5 plus year old Kamado. At the cook-off this year we will be able to thank Tony for prompt deliveries, excellent quality and service support. Oh, are we HAPPY!
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
We are more than pleased to announce our new East Coast Office in Richmond, VA....... If that is not good enough news, here is some more....David Mowrer will manage with Kim Walker assisting. Can’t imagine a better combination to help our Kamado good friends with service/help, new customers with the proper choice and help our Kamado Company with its growth pains. We are indeed lucky to attract someone with David’s business and professional background.
It has only taken me a little over 2 years to get David to give up a profitable business for doing what we all enjoy. That includes Kim who has left Duke University. Maybe we are all crazy, but we are all TRUE Kamado believers.
Kamado EAST COAST OFFICE telephone numbers are:
Local Richmond: (804) 915-7411
Toll Free: (877) 627 2549
The office hours are from 9:00 AM Eastern time until 5:00 PM Eastern.
David is integrating our West Coast and East Coast offices, telephones, emails, customers, orders and customer sales records. As you might expect, it might not be seamless at first, nor will David and Kim have all the answers initially, so I hope you will assist them by being patient.
Please welcome Kim and David!
May 19, 2002
I forgot to mention....... how much we appreciate most of the posts in support of our product and efforts. I can't help but comment on Bob's (May 18th above). I know most will disagree with this philosophy but I agree wholeheartedly..….our priority is we must make the very best product. I really do not want “service” (as commonly applied). No one around here will rest until we have the best “service” or in my case procedures and most important design(s) that do not require service. For instance, please review my new Kamado Stainless Gas Burner description where years of design work will prevent "service."
Of course there will always be surprises........like certified 304 stainless steel grills melting at 700 degrees F. By the way, I just tested about 20 of them at 900 plus degrees without any defects. I guess 2 or 3 in 10's of thousands isn't too bad.
And Tammyc.... we all thank you for your comments. You are so right. We are a small "Corporation" where Deborah and I are major stockholders, but we have other investors. All of whom are the greatest! Deborah and our crew have done well for our investors by doubling our sales. I hope my new products and designs have done as much or more to reach all of our goals.
June 02, 2002
For the most part I would personally like to thank those who have constructively commented and recommended solutions or have given us support in this thread. My background, as an airline pilot, does not believe in “excuses” and do not intend to in this case. My realistic goal is to have our customer service equal to the quality of our product(s). Anything less is inexcusable to me. Now, I want to inform those who might not know it……..it’s not that easy. I know it is not how hard or dedicated we work (come around and see) but how efficient and productive we are with our “assets.” Those who know us best agree that we made large and important improvements in the quality of our products and delivery schedules. At the same time we have improved our customer service but at the same time agree that it is in no way up to our goals or all customer standards.
Anyone who thinks that I, Deborah or anyone within our company would ever take any customers money without fulfilling our obligation is dead wrong. This includes further non-obligatory #9 freight damage replacement. In addition, I would never avoid responding to posts, telephone, email or in person. I often just run out of time, but I never intentionally avoid anyone. I am proud of our products, workers, goals, successes and the ability to correct failures.
Porkchop and Deep nukem I have the feeling that you think we are trying to hard sell you. We definitely are not and have never tried to “sell” you or anyone else. I know all about hard earned money. I would like you to join our Kamado owners and keep us on our toes but certainly not until you feel we have met our customer service goals (which are as high or higher than yours).
AlanZ, now you could have saved me a lot of time writing the post above. I should have deleted the thread and continued working as responding most often improves nothing and is a big step backward (at least in the head). When we are all working as hard as we can, it's sure a distraction to say the least.
We intended to have our teen age girls help this summer with customer "service" and responses. Can you imagine after a someone call us thief or similar? No way! Teenage is for fun and learning... not this way.
June 04, 2002
We would like to introduce Darryl, who we dragged out of our custom glazing department...... kicking...., to help with customer service and telephone/email. Darryl is an old friend as well as a very talented ceramist. We hope you will find Darryl very helpful as he gets up to speed.
July 24, 2002
I have reviewed our customer complaints and it seems that they occur on each full moon. Therefore, our customer service “department” will be closed every full moon until our company expansion is complete next year (just kidding, of course).
Actually, we are planning a big expansion which will include two or more service centers or distribution centers. I am sure this will smooth out our customer service.
Ducky or similar potential customers, I would suggest that you wait until this expansion is complete before considering purchasing a Kamado or any other of our products. No one is more than all of us here at the Kamado look forward to better serve our customers. The down side, of course, will be the need to increase prices.
October 03, 2002
Thanks for the complement Harry, but this must be directed to Darrell Blackwell. Isn't he the greatest! It is taking him time to learn and get a hold on Customer Service (and a thousand other things) but his sincerity, dedication, enthusiasm and intelligence makes it a lot easier. We do not expect Cheryl back as she is far from over her accident.
Also, Harry, I am disappointed that you and others can't speak Russian! But it really doesn't matter because our plans are to implement a "Shopping Cart" Program (as soon as we can finally get some inventory) and thereby do a lot of the simpler sales by the shopping cart rather than by telephone. You know, like many of the big companies do??
By the way, anyone suggest a good shopping cart program? I would greatly appreciate your suggestions and/or help. Probably be best to email me since this doesn't have a lot to do with cooking on your Kamado.
October 26, 2002
Here's our New Year Resolution:
After the first of the year (2003) you will be able to pick up your Kamado at any one of the 11 Kamado Distribution Centers in the U.S. at the same price as our Sacramento factory. For example, if you were to order a #7 Kamado before December 25th (on the Christmas Special……Mosaic, S/S bands & grill, thermometer, cart and some charcoal) for $699.00 you could receive it in Elmwood, New Jersey Distribution Center for the same price as Sacramento, California.
In the situations where you would like to have your Kamado delivered to your residence or you lived a little too far from one of the KDC there would be an additional shipping charge. However, there would still be a huge savings in freight if you happened to live near one of the KDC’s rather than shipping from Sacramento. After our Christmas sale the regular price for our Kamado products will be considerably more but not the shipping costs. The price of most Kamados, that is our most popular sizes and colors, will be the same in all Kamado Distribution Centers.
Elmwood, NJ is our first and shortly after we will have Richmond, VA, Atlanta, East Boston, Ma, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Greenwood, SC.
Volume 1, Issue 2 of our second Newsletter will have much more detail on our Kamado Distribution Centers, our goal of reducing shipping costs and providing better service.
January 18, 2003
Darrell, as you know tried UPS and FedEx which did in fact brutalize the ceramic firebox (which are necessary replacements for the older Kamados). Only good old Con-Way got them through without damage. Later models do not require a new firebox so the shipping is reasonable.
I just hope you find the gas option worth the shipping expense. Just keep track of the money saved by charcoal you will save (pre-heating and starting time) and it might help remove OUR pain (your shipping and our expensive firebox and crating expense).
Of course, distribution centers are coming which will remove this problem.
January 31, 2003
First, since I will be in Indonesia for the next month or so, I would like those who would like to contact me to please use firstname.lastname@example.org for my email address here in Surabaya, Indonesia.
I would like to apologize for any delay customers might have in shipping their order. We are now just catching up on our orders. I have instituted some improvements and procedures that resulted in increased production time. In some ways these changes are subtitle and cosmetic and others are somewhat major. In any case, I assure you any delay will be well worth it. Your Kamado has moved up a notch or two.
Later I will detail this information and have pictures but in the mean time you may expect your new Kamado to have an even more spectacular tile job and finish, stronger ceramic cart, upper firebox combustion air holes, extremely high fire ceramic glazed handle, tig rather than mig stainless steel welding (aircraft quality), mirror finished stainless polishing rather than “brushed” finish, quick release band system for easily removing the lid (as used earlier but deemed too expensive) and last but not least a modification to the lid assist system (props) that lessens the force necessary to raise and lower the lid.
As you know, we ship our raw material from California to our factory here in Indonesia and I would like to credit (besides my changes above) about a month or more delay to the Customs here. They held up our entire 2nd container because of 10 buckets of our secret sauce. They were sure it was the same bomb formula used in Bali. Fortunately, ALL of our raw material has now been lab tested and approved to be noncombustible. I guess we all have mixed emotions about this problem of search. Basically I am all for it, including the US Customs who are around here checking containers. One of our earlier Kamado shipments was literally torn apart by US Customs on arrival at US port and found to have no explosives or other hazardous materials of mass destruction. Now we are in Custom’s records and known as manufactures of a ceramic barbecue grill (not bombs) and have no problem. Again, I think we all agree that it is well worth any small inconvenience.
We manufacture each Kamado according to each customers specific work order and are numbered the same as their invoice number. This number remains with each Kamado through assembly, ocean shipping documents and inland bill of lading. This allows us to “track” or following each Kamado location. Bill and I have just implemented this system and are not quite up to speed but will be very soon. We want to let each customer know ASAP exactly where their Kamado is and when it will arrive. Sounds easy, but setting it up is a little difficult and time consuming. I hope if anyone is wondering where their Kamado is that they will remain patient a little longer.
February 06, 2003
All customers orders that are scheduled or promised to be shipped from Sacramento on or before March 31, 2003 will be shipped on or before March 29th. Our containers containing your Kamados, accessories and charcoal will be on the MOL (Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd) ship “HUNDAI KINGDOM” #022A arriving Oakland on the 13th of March, 2003.
I will personally respond to all emails received by me here in Indonesia: email@example.com , Richard@kamado.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, including any telephone messages forwarded me regarding the shipping or delivery date of their individual order. We set up a nice procedure for tracking and informing customers exactly where their orders are. The key person in our company here is “Ana” who is assisting me with matching each individual work order with their Kamado. I have already personally inspected each and every Kamado being shipped and they are beautiful made and of our highest quality. Now I will match the name, invoice number and their Kamado to make sure they are no mistakes. Seems simple, but it easy to make a simple mistake which results in nightmare (wrong color! Or wrong size!). In some cases I have a digital picture of your Kamado before crating.
We decided to spend a few extra days passing all containers through our factory in Sacramento for one final Kamado exterior inspection (not opening the crates) just to make sure everything is correct. After Darrell, Deborah and Bill trust our accuracy here we will ship directly to our customers or DC and bypass or factory in Sacramento.
I am convinced all future orders and delivery dates will be ahead of schedule and soon be able to have some inventory in our distribution centers.
I certainly want to thank those customers who had their delivery dates extended. I hate excuses, for what ever reason, and most customers have not asked why…..and I really appreciate it as well as all of us here and in Sacramento.
Note: Some orders are being made in our Sacramento factory and will have much earlier delivery dates.
March 11, 2003
For those who have Kamados scheduled to arrive on APL Canada V111E on the 10th of March, it has arrived in Oakland on schedule and now is in customs. As soon as the container is cleared we will truck the container to our factory in Sacramento for inspection and ship immediately as directed. Bill & Darrell will give you Con-Way tracking numbers.
We are delighted that the world's largest ocean shipping lines has taken an interest in our company and its potential growth. We have a excellent yearly contract for containers at a price that will give us an opportunity to ship worldwide at a very reasonable price and excellent personal service. In addition to the ocean shipping we have contracted for "MOL Logistics" in certain locations where our Con-Way Logistics does not have Distribution Centers. If interested in our shipping company please visit the following link:
April 24, 2003
American President Lines CANADA 112 E has cleared customs today and this container will be delivered to us tomorrow (Friday) morning, inspected and shipped ASAP to those awaiting this shipment. For your information U.S. Customs selected our container for a "contraband" inspection (a 4 day "X-ray.") No dope, bombs or WMD was found.
Our next 40' container is on the water. APL HOLLAND 116 E is due to arrive Oakland on May 19. Since we do not ship dope, bombs, or WMD we should not have another Customs delay. Darrell can follow up on those Invoice Numbers of yours that on on this container.
Paul Eastwood's Container is completed and scheduled to ship Monday to England. With the next container shipping to us very soon.
By expanding our production WE ARE GETTING CAUGHT UP ON BACK ORDERS! Soon we will have some inventory for immediate delivery. Oh, what a happy day for all of us.
July 01, 2003
We are pleased to announce help for Darrell. Richelle Johnson has graduated from high school and will be answering the telephone and assisting Darrel in any way she can during the summer and hopefully, part time during college. We thank you for your courtesy while Richelle gets up to speed learning our procedures et al. Our goal is to have a “live” voice when ever possible when you call and provide whatever service we can.
August 04, 2003
To compensate for the delay of our production backlog of orders we are extending our July sale until the end of the summer. Thereafter, we are confident that with our increase in production we will be caught up and able to ship our Kamado orders within 3 weeks. We hope the savings in money will in some way make up for this dreadful inconsolable wait for your Kamado.
August 12, 2003
First I would like to thank those whose who comments of understanding, complements on our Kamados and efforts of our people.
Secondly, for those who are in their inconsolable wait I am indeed sorry. My excuse is we just will not send out Kamados that are not to our highest quality standards. Sometimes “time” has little to do quality or our goal of excellence.
For addition excuses and explanations I will save them until we get caught up on our production and shipments. Some “excuses” are unforeseeable and justified and some are, shall we say just stupid.
The shipping time, custom problems and the like does not fit in the “time” equation since we are now doing most of our Kamado production here and all our expansion on this side of the world. It is this reason I feel comfortable about the short delivery time.
October 08, 2003
First the GOOD NEWS. Most of you have already purchased your kamado and those who have not decided still have until October 31, 2003 to take advantage of the “sale” and current pricing directly from our factory. Additional good news is, we will be opening very special dealers (and owners) in certain prime locations to provide the extra ordinary customer service, delivery time and support needed in a new (only 44 years), unique and special product.
The BAD NEWS! We are ending our very special sale October 31, 2003 and substantially increasing prices on ALL Kamados and accessories to reflect the true value our exceptional “hand made” Kamados, their higher USA manufacturing cost and marketing through dealers. For example a #7 Mosaic Kamado with Stainless Steel Bands, Cart, Temperature Gauge and Crated will be $1199.99 fob Sacramento. Similar percent increase will be on all models and accessories. In fairness to our new and future dealers we will not offer “sales” or other discounts by buying directly from our factory.
As always, I appreciate your suggestions and comments. Thanks, email@example.com
October 11, 2003
I apologize. But we all do try to do our best to prevent situations like this. We anticipate by raising our prices 25 to 50% or more next month you can expect more service. Of course, more money doesn’t always solve ALL situations.
November 02, 2003
Thank you all for the comments. Although our Kamados are "hand made" our manufacturing process lends itself to unlimited production capabilities. We just want to make everything perfect before we expand. But, expand we will...and soon and there are no limitations (of course, money raises it's ugly head). I promise, Dave.
Along with the excellent ideas from all of you, I am reading Guerrilla Publicity, by Jay Conrad Levinson, which emphasizes the rare opportunity we have to obtain publicity at a minimum of expense. We really must get on these shows and I appreciate all of your encouragement and help. Thanks!
November 26, 2003
Chris, maybe I should comment on the pricing. We have NOT increased the price (yet). We have just discontinued the SALE prices and eBay sales.
The distribution centers planned are part of our direct sales strategy. A dealer or distributor network would result in a markup of a 40% to 100% or more. We want to put this markup into the product and (believe or not) service.
February 28, 2004
I want to be the first to announce how delighted we are that we have our first Kamado Distribution Center......IN ATLANTA! Kamado Atlanta Corporation has been formed with Tony Oliver, President and minority stockholder. Tony will exclusively manage and market Kamado Corporation’s products and services in the greater Atlanta area. In addition, Kamado Atlanta Corporation (“KAC”) will assist Kamado Corporation in other surrounding territories and projects, however, the emphasis will be on the development and success of Kamado Atlanta. Most of you know Tony from his participation in our Forum as TonyO and many of us know Tony as a good friend and long time Kamado user.
All of us at Kamado Corporation and Kamado Atlanta are excited about our long term plans for this strategic location. One of which includes Kamado Atlanta Corporation opening the very first retail store called “Kamado Backyard”. Kamado Atlanta’s first project is providing “KAC” Distribution Center with an inventory of Kamado Charcoal and some of our most popular sizes and color Kamados & accessories. Tony will have a full display of all our products including samples of all tile colors that will allow customers to more accurately match their color scheme. Now a potential customer will be able actually see a Kamado before they invest in a knee knocking purchase or test our Kamado Charcoal to learn if it is good as all of us say it is.
Our Kamado Extruded Coconut Charcoal Containers are in the Port of Oakland now and as soon as Customs have cleared them we will ship one of the containers to KAC Distribution Center in Forest Park, GA (off Interstate – 75 in Atlanta) along with a few Kamados. Tony will arrange for pick up and/or delivery in Atlanta and we will fill existing East Coast orders by shipping them directly from Atlanta Distribution Center. This will result in a considerable shipping savings. Initially, Kamado Corporation will continue to take charcoal orders through 888 KAMADOS (1-888-526 2367) and/or firstname.lastname@example.org for those in the Atlanta and surrounding area. They will then be passed on to Tony to complete the arrangements. Tony Oliver’s email is email@example.com.
We will post on our forum and the upcoming newsletter all the details of KAC and the Atlanta Distribution Center, including pricing, and new services. At first, we will assist Tony in any way we can while he settles in by taking calls, orders and the like from Sacramento. Soon, with your help, we will have Tony up and running.
Now, we have to get Tony to invite all of us to his beautiful home for a get acquainted party and cooking demonstration (or quality control test?)
KAMADOS IN ATLANTA! Is this going to be fun or what?
March 04, 2004
Mikec, thank you for your comment and I will order Tom's book.
John_g, I am sorry I lost my integrity (which I take it to mean honesty, sincerity, honor etc.) over your pizza stone and deleting upsetting messages.
I have made sure all of us read and saved them all before they are deleted. We will do our best to continue to improve and do the best we can in customer service or anything else. In the mean time, right or wrong, enough is enough. Call it what you like john_g. My and my families lives has been full of respect, fun and success...this is not fun.
October 02, 2004
The Kamado Corporation has searched, literally worldwide, for a location that has the correct combination of skilled labor, a tradition of crafts excellence, easy access to our major marketplace, transportation and communications infrastructure equal to our needs, and costs that let us continue to make Kamado ceramic cookers the best value and highest quality available.
We've found that place.
As of approximately October 25, all Kamado operations and personnel (administration, sales, customer service and manufacturing) will be based in Ensenada, Mexico. The Johnson family (Deborah, Richelle, Laura and Richard) and Bill Nichols, as well as our key factory workers, are all relocating to Ensenada.
In choosing Mexico, we will benefit from a centuries-old heritage of fine ceramic and tile work, a place where "hecho por mano" (made by hand) is a label of pride reflecting craftsmanship handed down from father to son. We look forward to manufacturing Kamado cookers and accessories that reflect this pride of craftsmanship. We think the cookers from our new facilities will not just equal, but will exceed in quality anything we’ve previously produced.
The new facilities and additional staffing will make possible many things that until now have been impossible. We will finally be able to increase production to meet demand, expand our metalwork capabilities, and create our own custom ceramic tile. In short, we will gain more control over every aspect of Kamado production, and will finally be able to directly supervise the production of everything that goes into our cookers, as well as the final assembly. The new facility also means finally having dedicated space for Richard to continue R&D on the many new products he has in mind.
In choosing to move everything, including ourselves, to Mexico we are opting not to "outsource" but rather to invest personally and professionally. All Kamado cookers will be manufactured in our new Ensenada facility, under the direct personal supervision of Richard Johnson, Bill Nichols, and the experienced Kamado staff. We will oversee every step of the process, and everything will meet our demanding standards.
Deborah, Richelle, and Laura will, as always, be answering your phone inquiries, which will come to us in Ensenada via 800 toll-free phone numbers. We already have high speed internet connections in place, including voice over IP for phone service. We expect to expand our staffing in order to respond promptly and positively to all inquiries and requests for assistance from existing as well as prospective customers.
The new manufacturing facility is more than three times larger than our prior Sacramento facility, giving us vastly greater capacity with which to meet the ever-increasing demand for Kamado cookers. The pool of highly skilled labor means we can increase production while maintaining quality, and a favorable cost and duty structure means we can keep Kamado cookers affordable while continuing to deliver uncompromising excellence.
Ready access to the border, which is just 60 miles away, means seamless arrangements for immediate shipping to all locations throughout the U.S. without the months-long delay that went with our Indonesian operations. Kamado S.A. de C.V. will have a warehouse in San Diego for shipping/receiving and customer will-call. We will also benefit enormously from Ensenada’s modern international port facility, which does not suffer from the congestion and delays that now plague other major west coast port facilities in the U.S.
A few years ago, such a move would have been impossible. Changes in technology and import procedures, combined with existing excellence in the skills we need, make this the right place at the right time. We're moving to Mexico because it has all the resources we need to provide Kamado customers the best. That always has been, and continues to be, our commitment to you.
Needless to say, this is a big move in many ways. We appreciate your support, your interest, and your patience with any slowness in responding during this transition period. And please come visit us in Mexico! The Hotel Coral (www.hotelcoral.com) is close to our new facilities, and for those who boat, Ensenada has a modern and beautiful marina.
October 04, 2004
Where is Ensenada?
Ensenada is a lovely Mexican seaside port city located in Baja, California about 70 miles south of the border. San Diego is the nearest major U.S. city.
Ensenada is a vibrant city of about 370,000 residents, with great restaurants and hotels. It is also a major winemaking area. In fact, 90% of all Mexican wine comes from the Ensenada region. Ensenada was discovered in 1602 by the explorer Sebastian Vizcaino, so it's been around a while! Within a short distance there are many things to see and do.
Will Kamado quality control be as good as it should be?
Quality will be at never-before-possible levels. All Kamados will be manufactured in our facility, under the direct supervision and observation of Richard Johnson, Bill Nichols, and others who have had years of experience. In addition, we will have the facilities and staff to do our own metalwork. We will be far less reliant on outside vendors, and far more in control of everything that goes into every Kamado. And since Richard will not have to make trips to distant places to try and maintain production quality, he'll be personally seeing every Kamado that goes out the door. QC doesn't get any more stringent than that.
Will be we paying more for a Kamado because of import duties?
No. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement there will be no import duties on Kamados when they are moved from our manufacturing facility in Ensenada to our shiping warehouse in San Diego.
Is calling Kamado going to mean making a call to a foreign country?
The same toll-free number (1-888-KAMADOS) will work just as it always has.
I don't speak Spanish. Will I now have trouble communicating with Kamado?
Not unless Deborah, Richard, Laura and Richelle stop talking to you! The same people who've been helping Kamado customers for years will be in Ensenada, and we will be adding more.
If I have to return something to the factory, will this mean shipping it to Mexico?
All shipping and receiving will be at our San Diego warehouse facility.
How will I reach Kamado by mail?
We will have a U.S. mailing address in San Diego, which we'll soon post on our website.
Will it take longer to get an order shipped?
No. There will be no delays associated with our being in Mexico. All finished Kamados and charcoal will be warehoused in San Diego, and orders will be transmitted there electronically for instant dispatch.
What happens to the annual Kamado Cookoff?
It gets bigger and better. Ensenada is a great place for a cookoff. You will have a chance to cook with plenty of fresh seafood as well as meats, you will enjoy the hospitality we are enjoying of all the people in Ensenada, and you will have a VERY pleasant vacation. We'll probably make arrangements to meet those who don't want to drive down at the border with a Kamado party bus for the short, one-hour ride to the factory. There are excellent, modern hotels in Ensenada with all the amenities you could want. And as a seaside resort, we can guarantee you that the 2005 cookoff will literally be cooler than ever.
What about charcoal shipments?
Charcoal will be imported via the port of Ensenada, a capable, modern facility that does not face the many issues causing congestion and delays at most West Coast ports these days. From Ensenada, we will truck it to our San Diego warehouse, and distribute from there. We anticipate that this will considerably improve the reliability and availability of our unique, imported Kamado coconut extruded charcoal.
Is the move going to make customer service worse?
The move is going to make customer service BETTER. All of the Johnson family you have always dealt with are moving to Ensenada and will be right there to answer your questions. We also anticipate hiring additional staff, perhaps some of the many retired Americans living in Ensenada, to let us provide the world-class customer service you want and expect from Kamado. We've sometimes been overwhelmed and not as responsive as we want to be to phone and e-mail messages. We expect that to change, and soon.
Won't this make it harder to visit the Kamado factory?
It will make it more fun, because now it's a vacation trip to a great seaside city with excellent hotels and fine dining. Those living in Southern California can drive down. Ensenada is about a 90 minute drive via a modern, four-lane highway, and for stays of 72 hours or less you don't even need a tourist card. Those coming from farther can fly into San Diego or Tijuana and either rent a car or take one of the buses that runs frequently to Ensenada. Another great option is to jump on a cruise ship in L.A. There are many that travel to and from Ensenada. It's a great way to get away. As we get settled in, we'll be posting notes on local restaurants, hotels, and shopping spots that we find are special.
We encourage those who want more information about car insurance, tourist cards, and related Baja travel matters to contact Discover Baja Travel Club (www.DiscoverBaja.com or 800-727-2252).
A lot of reasons. It's close to the U.S., meaning we don't have shipping or other logistical problems. It has the craftspeople we need to produce even better Kamados, as well as to create and build many new products. The trade agreement in place means we pay no additional costs to bring the Kamados into the U.S. And our labor and other costs will be much more reasonable than they were in California, permitting us to give our customers even better value. And it was somewhere the whole Johnson family could move, assuring you that we're personally involved on a daily basis in all aspects of building your Kamado and taking and processing your order.
Perhaps most important, Mexico has a centuries-long tradition of careful hand workmanship, particularly in ceramics and metal, the two essentials in a Kamado. Remember, unlike many other things you buy, every Kamado is entirely handmade. We needed workers for whom this type of work is not just a job, but a matter of personal pride. ¡§Good enough¡¨ isn't good enough for Kamado. It has to be as perfect as we can make it.
What's in it for me, as a customer?
A lot. For you, the customer, the move means:
• Better built Kamados
• A wider choice of tile colors and styles
• All metalwork done in-house, for better quality control
• A larger facility that will finally enable us to eliminate the backlog of orders
• An opportunity to create and build exciting new products and Kamado accessories
• Better value
• Prompt shipment from our U.S. warehouse
• Smoother importation and shipment of charcoal
October 07, 2004
Jacob, I am sorry I never received or replied to your September 8, email. Darryl was generally very good at following up, but in your case, apparently he was not.
I just now opened my email today to find your email this date to which I replied (see below). I guess I should have read the forum first, but did not. I expect to learn of the details from the girls and Deborah later tonight and do what I can to help.
In the near future I am counting on our move to Ensenada and additional help will prevent other situations like this. Of course, I doubt if we will ever be perfect. But we will try.
November 29, 2004
We have not had time until now to thank Kim and David for the two weeks they spent with us in Ensenada. Their wonderful efforts and talents accelerated our move and factory set up MONTHS. Better yet, it was fun every second of the time. Again, thanks Kim and David for your work and being a vital part of the Kamado team in the sharing the rewards of a better Kamado and service.
January 02, 2005
Insame_Irish, thanks for the comment. It is true that we are improving our responses since our move to Ensenada, but still a way to go. We hope to have bi-lingual staff, besides Feranando who is in production, very soon.
March 06, 2005
We are making every effort to answer all telephone calls. However, as some have rightly noted, we are often not successful for one excuse or another. We do take missed calls very seriously and would like your help in reducing the frustration of not reaching us by telephone. None of us want an automated, Indian, unknowledgeable, uncaring or other similar person answering your request or inquiry. Therefore, would you help us by?
ONE: Be sure to leave a voice message if one of us does not answer. During business hours (Pacific Time)week days one of us will check for messages once an hour or less if at all possible and return the call immediately, again if at all possible or at least as soon as possible. When we receive your voice message, we know, of course, you called and we must do our very best to get back to you.
TWO: Please let us know if there is a problem with voice mail by trying again or at least a reasonable another effort. We are, as you know in Mexico which is not particularly known for exemplary telephone service. We use VOIP (Vonage) which is reasonably dependable, but not perfect by any means. Not forgetting for a second that the call costs you nothing and us VERY little. Money better spent on our products.
THREE: As a LAST resort, please take the time to let us know by posting on our forum. I emphasize, as a last resort because……right or wrong, excuse or not, it sometimes drives the girls nuts when there were no voice messages left (that came through, at least), or when the return calls are made promptly but no answer. We all know what it is like to diligently make an honest effort to answer, return a call or other attempt and be publicly criticized (on our forum in this case). You might read between the lines that the “girls" are my daughters and wife and I might be a little more understanding than if otherwise. Again, until we build up our office staff, please take some of this under consideration before posting. One thing that is absolutely true.... and that is we all do care! Our business and your friendship depend upon it.
March 29, 2005
Thanks John. We are working toward your idea and suggestions. One thing we are planning the first of April is to have an additional sales and service number/location on the East Coast. In this case we would have 3 or 4 more business hours and a reliable telephone. Guess who will be the "Office Manager"???
We are working on the "shopping cart" now that will help with the simple accessory orders and the like. Thanks for the suggestions. Richard
April 11, 2005
We have a new email address for “SERVICE” which is firstname.lastname@example.org. For those Kamado owners who require help in the operation, tips, maintenance, or repairs would you please use this email address. Both the Ensenada factory offices and our new East Coast will monitor this email address, however, the main responsibility will be from our East Coast offices. It will take a reasonable time, as David and Kim get up to speed. We will get an inventory of smaller items to the East Coast that will make delivery much quicker than from the factory.
We consider close attention to “Service” as our most important business matter at this time and we want to make our service the best. After over 8 years of our new designed Kamados, we have proven to have an excellent “lifetime” product. Never the less we can and do expect minor maintenance, service or help in some way. Often, some of our Kamados are used almost every day, as we hoped they would.
We want “service” to be a vital part of the growth of our company.
May 26, 2005
Marvr, it does seem "unreal" to me also. It will sure be nice to get our "Shopping Cart" up and running. In the mean time, how many boxes of charcoal do you want and added to whose new K-7? Still have time if the 7 is going tomorrow.
Jakeparker23, I presume you mean the 18th of June? If you have a work-order, I will make sure the LS will be waiting for you.
For your, and others information, Kim and David now have access to all our orders (sales invoices et al) on line or "networked". We are adding another DSL line to our Ensenada office (don't have an installation date yet). In addition, we are all going to have Nextel radios when David & Kim bring them on an upcoming working visit. Now, if we can get enough people to answer them, we are all set.
June 17, 2005
For all of us Johnson's we do regret not having the opportunity to meet new friends and see our old friends. As Kim and David said, we would really enjoy your coming down during the end of July. Or any other time, for that matter.
Our priority, as David mentioned is to devote our time to production and service. Except when you might come and visit us!
June 20, 2005
This whole thing about not answering emails, telephone or messages is beyond strange. I just asked Richelle, Laura and Tara if they were careful to answer, or respond. They said they checked carefully. I asked Kim and David, if they have responded or have any unanswered telephone or emails. They said the do not. I am not talking about solving anything, I am talking about being accused of not responding to telephone and emails.
I just can't believe that 5 dedicated people (Richelle, Laura, Tara, Kim and David) with 2 toll free numbers, 4 or 5 direct dial, 5 or 6 email addresses, hours from 0900 Eastern (1100 Pacific) until 1700 Pacific (2000 Eastern) or ELEVEN hours to do not respond (not solve, just respond). I would appreciate it if someone would document to ME their RECENT unanswered correspondence. We have 5 dedicated and knowledgeable people on both coasts working 11 hours a day (weekdays, not counting week ends). In addition, we have Deborah and I to assist (if necessary).
I think Deborah has it right.....its a full moon. Or like David says, its only a BBQ.
December 12, 2005
We are catching up on orders! In fact, it looks like we can fill all orders by the middle of January of ‘2006 (not 2007). And most well ahead of the scheduled delivery date. I would like to publicly thank our Kamado crew for accomplishing this 8 year goal. No one hates waiting for something they ordered any more than I do. So I certainly can relate to the frustration of waiting for something you want NOW. Especially frustrating when we are told (or extra frustrating when not told) there is a delay in the shipping date. And it doesn’t matter for what reason, does it?
Our next Kamado production goal is to have the most popular models of Kamados IN STOCK!. I almost don’t know what that means……”Available for Immediate Shipment” but it does sound nice to me and I know it will certainly help our business grow. More import, we sincerely want to provide the service to our customers that they want and deserve. To a certain degree, I will miss severely testing a person’s good will and patients and find it remains in tact after delay after delay. Just kidding, it is a time consuming pain when there are delivery delays or a long delivery date for everyone.
March 06, 2006
Bobh, there are reasons, good or bad, that we wish to have service related items outside this forum. Hopefully, you have avoided earlier posts as they accomplished nothing. There is nothing really changed form our “rules”. I am responding to your post here, as I think you were suggesting that this might be a good place to contact me or have me respond to the service question. It really is not. I have an email address that I TRY to respond to (no promises). The real place IS: email@example.com
It is ONE of my “jobs” to help improve this area as we all know how important this is. It is my goal to have it one of the best. We ARE improving and from our humble beginnings, we ARE much improved, but have a way to go. Thanks to David and Kim and the wonderful help that Kamado owners give each other on this forum. Nevertheless, are basically a manufacturing company
Our next improvement, which will be operative very soon, will have EDGAR, who has been with our company here for one year, ready to respond to all service related matters. Edgar has good English skills and is familiar with all aspects of Kamado production. Where more technical situations arise, he will work with Miguel (our KEY man), Salvador (our CPA & Controller), the girls,myself or David.
I try to keep fully informed as to service (or any other problem). As much as I would like to, I simply do not have time to respond individually as many, including me, like many would like.
My main “job” is however, to continue to improve our product in order that we have less and less “service” problems, or at least a very minimum that could be expected with any functional product.
May 19, 2006
Kim and David will be competing in Danville, VA and will not be able to receive or return calls Thursday afternoon through Sunday at our East Coast office. In addition our girls are often on the telephone which often makes for frustrating situation trying to reach us. Please do leave a message and/or email as we do not want to miss your call. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration in this busy period.
As you might know I have been finalizing a Kamado "Owner Representative" and "Owner Distributor" marketing plan which will assisting us in alleviating much of this problem of communication, sales information and inquiries. This will allow us to do what we do best….. manufacture…..and help provide much better service.
September 01, 2006
We are implementing a lot of changes in customer service. Unfortunately, nothing is fast or cheap (don’t check our new prices). We are going to do whatever it takes to correct the communication and responses. Some are relatively easy, like order status, others are not as easy, as I have made and sold over 100,000 Japanese Kamados that I receive many requests for information and service. We have made and sold over 10,000 of our new Kamados with the VAST majority requiring nothing except information on new products or accessories. I made thousands of Meridian Stoves and Inserts and have the same amount of happy owners, but some require some M61 after 20 or more years. None of these inquiries are alone difficult, but cumulatively…..wow!
99% of all of our owners are absolutely wonderful and understanding regarding “customer service” or the lack thereof, even without personally knowing how sincere and hard we work. Those that know us personally are absolutely special. It is the 1% or whatever, where we are truly dedicated to meet ALL of there reasonable expectations and will not be comfortable until we do. I am sure I speak for all my family and friends. Richard
September 19, 2006
A little customer service news. Starting 25th of this month, we have our new professional customer service manager starting. Our goal, as mentioned before, is to have the best service for the best bbq grill and after a short learning period we will have. Until this time, we will continue to do our best to reply to all emails and calls. We appreciate your consideration. Richard
October 07, 2006
We are all very pleased to announce Juan Antonio Lomeli Jiménez, better known around here and on emails as "Tony", has joined our company in Ensenada. Tony is a professional and has extensive background in customer service and order fulfillment. Tony’s primary responsibility at this time is Manager of Customer Service. Tony will start his third week Monday October 9th and as Tony is getting up to knowledge and scheduling speed, we appreciate your patience and consideration during this learning curve. Tony might not have all the answers at this time but you can expect Tony will find out applicable information from our more experienced workers and all of us. His direct email address is Tony@kamado.com and he will be available from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time weekdays by telephone or email. Often telephones are busy so please leave a message and Tony will return your call in the shortest reasonable time. Tony will set a estimated time for the return calls as he becomes more familiar with the activity. Tony will be setting up our new telephone system that will direct calls more efficiently.
Our Kamado family and friend hope you will welcome Tony!
December 13, 2006
Our new policy in respect to telephone calls to CUSTOMER SERVICE is to return all calls within 24 hours or sooner during weekdays (excluding holidays and weekends). Our customer service manager is Juan Antonio Lomeli Jimenez or “Tony” and his hours are 7:30 AM until 5:00 PM Pacific time. Tony is responsible for maintaining a customer call log to track and ensure all calls are recorded and a memo as to the date, time received and record Tony's response, date and time. We do receive many calls and are often on the telephone so BE SURE to leave a message. We do not intend to miss ANY service calls. I would appreciate it very much if you an email me at Richard@kamado.com if Tony or Customer Service missed your call. This will allow us to follow up and correct any missed future calls.
July 10, 2007
We are excited to announce that all Kamado Sales and Logistics are now headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. We sincerely expect that the move from Mexico to the USA will greatly improve communication and service. The Nevada sales office will be fully operational in the next few days and during this time we will respond to all customers as fast as possible through email and return telephone calls. All Kamado contact telephone and email addresses remain the same. We do not want to miss a single call or message.
Thank you in advance for your consideration,
Laura, Richelle and the sales team.
July 22, 2007
The manufacturing and/or assembly, consolidation, R & D, Warehousing and Logistics will be centered in Singapore. Singapore, as you know, has long been a hub for shipping and today the improvement in logistics and modern fast container ships is remarkable. To take advantage of these facilities, Singapore will be my home base in supplying the Las Vegas sales team with product and the fastest service I can provide. Richard
Don't Be A Richard