After scanning through several of the posts about issues with RMA's or questions to the store...it seems like there is a recurring theme so I thought that I would chime in with some ideas on how to improve the experience.
1. Have a clear and understood process for RMA's. Is it posted somewhere? Do people know where that is? Is it followed each time? Has it been reviewed lately?
2. Add extra communications. You don't have to necessarily have somebody on the phone to answer calls about products, but you should have some system that sends out alerts/notifications to customers saying that whatever they sent back has been received.
3. Look into scripting all of the emails that go out with notifications that show the current status so somebody doesn't physically have to send out an email. Weekly could possibly work considering you are saying that sometimes it takes several weeks or up to a month to get a part exchanged with the manufacturer. When people are waiting to get something returned to them, they are usually very impatient and check their mailbox every 10 minutes...
4. Alternatively look into providing a web based status check for status since some users won't want to get weekly emails. Better...
5. After implementing some extra status check notifications, add them to the review process and review it...then review it again, taking the whole thing apart from step 1-xx and see where it can be improved or leaned out.
Obviously if you can't afford to have somebody on the phone all day as a customer service rep don't...but make it easier to communicate with you. Email is ok...but some sort of tracking system would be better. I don't think you can please everybody but your best bet is to remove all roadblocks they have so they have less ammo to get mad at you with. Most of the posts in this subforum have to do with a lack of communication. Either they email the store and get no response or they send back a part and have no idea if it was ever received...or what the status is on it.
There will always be people that ask for things that are unreasonable...post about something breaking and not trying to contact the store to resolve the issue before berating you on a public forum. Those are harder to handle, but clear communication is key. If you respond to their email saying "part x is out of stock and it should be in within 3 weeks from the manufacturer" sure, they can be upset, but it's not your fault that it takes the mfg 3 weeks to swap something out. You can't be expected to have 20 extra widgets sitting around waiting to be sold or to be swapped out with an RMA. People can be unreasonable and forget that you are not Amazon or Best Buy. But if you communicate with them and give them status on what is going on...most of those will go away...and if they still complain and post their complaint here, you have at the very least done all you can to make them happy. If you communicate with them and they are still upset, I think people here will defend you if you are right...or skewer you if you are wrong...better to give them less spikes to skewer you with.
In short, I've bought several things from the store and have always had a good experience. Fast shipping...everything working like it should...very happy overall. Hopefully you will see that everything that i've said here is constructive criticism.
I want the store, the hobby, and the forum to succeed...to please take my comments for what they are worth...ravings by some dude on the internet...and a consumer.
Absolutely will respond - reworking language and will post a comprehensive explanation - as it is true, there is information, but it could be clearer.
Thanks for the comment.