Customer Service Concerns

I type this as I wait one more time for a manufacturers rep to assist me. During these last several months, I have noticed that service levels have decreased tremendously when it comes to manufacturers and their reps. Lately I have waited up to 20 minutes on the phone just to get a customer service person. Many companies won’t even let you wait! You must leave a voicemail and hope that a customer service rep will return your call. Which is my case right now. I have waited two hours so far for a call back. I am not sure how they prioritize when to call someone back, but it isn’t working.

You can imagine the frustration when you have a customer at your will-call counter who wants price and availability on a special order item and you can’t help them because you can’t get them this information. In the good ole’ days (prior to 2009), you could pretty much get a hold of someone on the phone. I guess these companies are lowering their overhead by laying off people, which is also adversely affecting their sales volume. I know I am not very patient and it only takes me a matter of 10 -15 minutes before I give up and call someone else.

The other day I tried for an hour to get some information from a rep company, calling them several times when I was free, before getting someone on the phone. I asked if he was the only one working in customer service and he said, “No, there is one other person here.”

I am in the Southern California area and I do not think that two customer service people is enough for a company that reps multiple major brands.

I know that many manufacturers and their reps read your magazine. Maybe someday in the future it would be nice to post an article that relates to this problem. Maybe take a survey as to which is the worst company to deal with when it comes to trying to get assistance.

Regardless, there must be a way to open up their eyes and help them to realize how much their customer service has degraded. Or better yet, open the eyes of the manufacturer and let them know it might be time to shop for a new representative.

Mike Underwood
Conejo Valley Plumbing Supply
Newbury Park, CA 

Premier 150 Clarification

I noticed that Southern Pipe and Supply Co., Meridian, MS, was listed in the Premier 150 overall rankings (Supply House Times, May 2009, page 24), but was not listed among the top 50 wholesalers in the plumbing and hydronics section. Our product mix is 95% plumbing and 5% HVAC, and we have 97 branch locations.  

Marty Davidson
Chairman of the Board
Southern Pipe and Supply Co.
Meridian, MS

EDITOR’S NOTE: Based on this information, Southern Pipe & Supply, ranked at No. 31 in the main ranking chart, would have been ranked at No. 8 among the top 50 Plumbing & Hydronics Wholesalers in the Segment Leaders Chart reported in our coverage of the 2009 Premier 150 survey.


Two companies listed in the 2009 Premier 150 survey of wholesalers (published inMay 2009 Supply House Times, page 24) require correction or clarification of their sales breakdowns.

Wool Plumbing Supply, Sunrise, FL, ranked at No. 139, should have been shown with a sales breakdown of 100% Plumbing & Hydronics in the main ranking chart. This would have placed Wool Plumbing Supply at No. 39 in the Top 50 Plumbing & Hydronics Wholesalers list in the Segment Leaders chart.

Edgen Murray, Baton Rouge, LA, ranked at No.10, should have been shown with a sales breakdown of 50% PVF (with 0s under P&H and HVACR) in the main ranking chart. However, Edgen Murray was correctly placed at No. 4 in the Top 50 Pipe-Valves-Fittings Wholesalers list in the Segment Leaders chart.

We regret any confusion this may have caused.