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  1. TassoBarbasso

    Amazing Client Service From... Aurora?

    I think it's no secret that Aurora's client service used to be horrible. Actually, worse than that. In the FP community, this used to be a running joke/nightmare, with people complaining of pens getting lost for months or years in the dark, secretive meanders of the Turin-based company's far-from-polite client service. I myself had something that can only be described as a nightmarish experience dealing with them, back in 2013. They did everything wrong you could possibly do in client service and eventually it took something like a thousand emails + the intervention of the original seller, + the help of the local representative for the UK, and a lot of time to get my pens back, in a far-from optimal condition. Eventually I ended up having to go to a nibmeister anyway... ... So it was with sheer terror and fear that I realized, a few months ago, that I would have to send my beloved 85th Anniversary, a wedding present with huge emotional value for me, out for repair... The very last thing I wanted to do was to send it to Aurora, fearing to get bogged down in yet another mess like that. I contacted some pen repairers I know, but none of them had the parts needed for repair. So I had to give in: I sent the pen to Aurora. Well, I had to suffer anyway, as I already had to send in another pen, an Optima, for the replacement of the gold trims on the cap, a far-from-easy repair job which i had been delaying for ages, precisely because I didn't want to deal with said customer care. So I sent the pens and started to tremble... And here's where the surprises begun First, they immediately - and politely - replied to my emails. Ok, nothing special here. Then, contrary to what happened last time, they gave clear, precise and useful information. They kept me posted about the internal conversations they were having about the best way to replace the Optima's trims. The person in charge of the whole process, the polite, professional and competent Erika Garrafa (which I can only hope will be given a big promotion and a pay rise!), was extremely supportive throughout the whole process. She was always cordial, timely in her responses, proactive, and very willing to adapt to the client's requests (and I can be a real pain in the butt as a client, as I work in client services myself, and know what "good service" should be like). Ms Garrafa even took her time to answer to some not-so-important emails about nib style and stuff like that. Up until that point I had seen such good client service only from their competitors at Montegrappa. I was amazed but still skeptical: they will screw up at some point, I'm sure And here's the greatest surprise: the cost of repair was affordable, nothing insane as I feared; the pens were delivered to them and they immediately got them fixed: instead of waiting for months, I had to wait only for a few days. Ms Garrafa kept me informed throughout the whole process, and when a minor issue arose, she was quick to apologize, as opposed to how her colleagues behaved 5 years ago, when they were constantly trying to shift the blame on the client. She informed me (without me even having to ask or negotiate!) that the company would take charge of any additional shipping costs due to the issue. A really nice touch that any customer would be delighted to be on the receiving end of The pens arrived today, after what seems like a negligible amount of waiting time. The quality of repair work is astonishing. Both pens seem brand new. They even did some minor fixing that I hadn't even asked The 85th Anniversary's filling system works again, while the Aurora Optima now sports a magnificent, brand-new, old-style gold trim, instead of the previous one where gold was wearing off. I am amazed. Aurora has massively increased the quality of its client service and its repair team is top-notch. And I'm not saying so because I'm comparing them only with their "old" way of doing things. I'm comparing them with their competitors. And by contrast, other companies I dealt with in the past had great customer care, but poor repair service, or vice-versa. Aurora managed to nail both. I don't know if this is because Ms Erika Garrafa is such a great person to work with and very conscientious in what she does, or if it's a new company policy. But either way it's been great to deal with Aurora's client service... ... and trust me, this is a sentence I would have never thought I would one day be able to write I've always been a huge collector of Aurora (I have 14!), and this brand has always had a huge emotional role for me: my first "serious" pen was an Aurora, and my father and my grandfather both used Auroras. Cheaper Auroras are the pens I give as presents when I try to "convert" someone to FPs. My father's graduation pen was a Hastil. So it's a passion that goes back three generations. But in recent years I had become much more wary of buying more expensive Aurora pens because of the risk of having to deal with their customer care. This is definitely going to change now. They make the most beautiful pens, the best nibs, and now they are also able to provide great service should problems arise. I can certainly see myself saving up for an Aurora Internazionale, or ANY iteration of the Optima or 88, in the very near future No affiliation, only a formerly-very-disappointed-and-now-very-happy customer.
  2. I was thinking that it would be a nice idea to share the best examples of repair and client service ever received from a nibmeister or a shop. A lot of people express appreciation for pen specialists while talking about something else (eg: "this pen is really cool, wonderful design, excellent work on the nib done by Richard Binder/John Mottishaw/whoever, really good value for money"). But's let's dedicate a whole thread entirely to celebrating the best among our "pen doctors"! Here's mine: I had an Aurora 85th anniversary that my parents bought to me exactly one year ago as a present for my wedding. The pen is gorgeous but the nib has never been able to write properly. First it started to scratch, then to skip, then it had flow issues that forced me to use it with only one ink with very lubricated flow. In one word: a pain. I sent it back to Aurora, which after three months of useless back and forth sent me back the pen more or less in the same conditions. Then I sent it to a famous nibmeister who worked on the pen but couldn't bring noticeable difference to the way it writes. Eventually, completely exasperated by the whole thing, I took advantage of a journey back to my hometown in Northern Italy to bring the pen to the shop where it was originally bought from, Lazzaroni- gioielli per scrivere, in Brescia (not far from Milan). Maurizio, the manager of the shop, kindly offered to work on the pen for free in his laboratory instead of sending it back to Aurora, which we both knew back then would be pretty much pointless. In just half an hour he pulled out all his tools and skills, smoothened the nib to perfection and managed to finally make the ink flow regular, smooth and pleasant. All this while explaining me how he did it and showing me all the interesting stuff he was working on. I was sincerely impressed by the result and I'm now using the pen on a daily basis without all the unpleasant situations I had until a couple of weeks ago Also, I should mention that Maurizio is one of the kindest persons I've ever encountered in the pen business, always manages to make you feel at ease although his knowledge of the pen world is far beyond your own, as opposed to other pen sellers who tend to have a feeling of superiority towards customers. He really knows how to do his job and how to make you spend a nice time chatting about pens. If you are Italian or happen to visit Italy, I strongly suggest to visit his shop in Brescia. (No affiliation, just a very happy customer and so on and so forth) So... what's your experience of impeccable repair and client service?

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