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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Tuesday
Jul202010

Customer Service at its Best

Fiskars power gear hedge shears model no. 9189Last February, I took the advice of Genevieve at North Coast Gardening who had posted an article and video about a pair of power gear hedge shears made by Fiskars. Although they are actually hedge trimmers, she claimed that they were also well  suited for cutting down perennials and ornamental grasses.

Genevieve’s post was timely because; the manual hedge shears that I had been using up to that point had become a museum piece. Manufactured in the 1950’s they had been handed down to several generations of users, The handles were made of wood, the heavy blades were steel, well rusted beyond simple restoration and the shock absorbers had worn out over 20 years ago. They had become useless for cutting down perennials long ago.

It’s a strange thing about owning gardening tools. Some of us get attached to what we have and see no need to upgrade while some of us can hardly wait for any improved item that will make repetitive work easier. I never saw the need to replace my relic. It still trimmed hedges. But it occurred to me that if I were to purchase a new model, perhaps it might increase the efficiency of my employees and reduce the amount of muscle fatigue that the heavy steel shears had generated.

I ordered my shears through Amazon and started using them immediately. Wow, so this is what modern technology has to offer. The handles are lightweight composite material; there is a ratchet gear that effortlessly transforms modest pressure into intense power without fatigue and the blades slice through perennials easily. There was, however, one major problem. The blade could not cut through soft, pliable shrubbery. I had tried to trim new growth on a young cedar shrub without success.

At first I was disappointed with the advice that Genevieve had given her readers but her follow up advice to me turned out to be valuable. In our exchange of e-mails, she reported being surprised by my experience because her staff of 12 employees uses this product satisfactorily. On the chance that I had received a defective product, she explained how Fiskars customer service could help me out. She was right. Fiskars sent me replacement hedge shears as soon as I contacted them and I didn’t have to return the defective one. All I had to do was send an e-mail to Fiskars explaining the problem accompanied by a digital image of the product taken with my own camera.

It appears that Fiskars understands that nipping a problem in the bud in order to satisfy a customer is far more important and cost efficient than the  procedural bureaucracy once used by industries to process complaints. Thank you, Fiskars, for such impressive customer service.

Fiskars power gear branch lopper titanium model no. 6154 or composite material model 9154Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that this is not my first Fiskars product. I had purchased a Fiskars titanium handled branch lopper with a ratchet gear to replace another relic garden tool: an antique rusty steel bladed branch cutter that required me to leverage force by pressing the handles into my thighs. What an endurance test that created for my employees. I had not planned on buying titanium, but the retailer was sold out of an equally powerful lopper with composite handles. I’m glad that I chose titanium. Whenever staff members pick up the new lightweight but powerful lopper they turn to me, smile and tell me how much they enjoy using the new tool and how they are amazed by its performance. Frankly, what is more amazing is the amount of force generated by these two garden tools given that they are lightweight and affordable.

                                            

                                            

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Reader Comments (2)

I do have the Fiskars hedge trimmer and it works great. My lopper is a different brand. I keep my tools too long, should look into what's new to make life easier.

Eileen

July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Hi Allan,

Don't know how I missed your follow-up to our hedging shear discussion, blame it on the business of the season, which it sounds like you're experiencing as well.

I'm so glad Fiskars was able to make things right for you. I don't really use the hedgers to cut much in the way of soft, pliable leaves, as I mentioned in our email exchange; I use it more for cutting back unruly perennials and shearing heathers and things with thicker stems. That's where I feel the ratcheting gears are most helpful.

I definitely want you to feel confident if you buy anything I recommend from my Opensky Shop, and a large part of why I work with them is that they do offer a year-long, return-shipping paid guarantee on everything you buy for any reason at all. But I know Amazon has better prices on some common items like these shears, so I am glad that even though Amazon is difficult and expensive to return things to, Fiskars was able to win you over.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and listening to my tool rec, and giving me feedback that sometimes these do come defective. It's very good to know.

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve

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