Once a Zeiss, Always a Zeiss

Here is my conclusion to my Zeiss series: Go Zeiss YourselfZeiss-HoleKiss My Zeiss (their customer service is so poor).

Once again, I have yet to meet a single human being, who is not a paid consultant, that gave glowing remarks about Zeiss’ customer service and sales tactics. I’m pretty sure that other vendors probably have some deficiencies in these departments as well, but nothing as rampant and with wanton disregard as Zeiss.

1.5 years ago, there was a discussion in our Solo Eye Physicians group about Zeiss’ shady and substandard service and sales tactics, and what we should try to do about it. About 15-20 people chimed in, and we eventually ended up setting up a conference call with one of the higher ups at Zeiss. Some people felt that we could have a powerful voice as a large group. Others expressed their doubts, suspecting that Zeiss would just pretend to listen to our concerns, and eventually ignore or laugh us off behind closed doors. The main issue was that since Zeiss still has good reliable products at competitive prices,  they knew that some of us would begrudgingly buy from them again despite knowing about their customer service reputation.

The only way to get Zeiss to listen to its consumers and change its ways is by having everyone vow to never buy directly from Zeiss again (refurbished Zeiss products from third party dealers would still be ok). However, it’s so difficult to have a large number of people honor that commitment. The lure of Zeiss’ tried and true technology might be too strong for some to keep their pledge in the long run.

So, a few of our group members ended up participating in this conference call, and nothing came of it. No follow up, no recourse, no nada. So, we’re back to where we started, and Zeiss remains Zeiss. After my visual field debacle in 2012, I personally have had no other negative encounters with Zeiss. My IOL master and Cirrus OCT needed to have its hard drives replaced last year, which is completely understandable for 6 year old units. Other than a few billing snafus that took a moderate amount prodding and arguing, I really had no other real issues or grievances. However, I still continue to hear gripes from fellow ophthalmologists about Zeiss’ poor customer service.

Fast forward to a week or two ago, Howie tells me that Zeiss had reached out to him to see what they could do to let bygones be bygones and make things right moving forward. Apparently, our post caught the attention of some folks at Zeiss through Howie’s Linkedin account. Howie’s local sales rep even visited his office. I also got a random e-mail from my local rep to see how I was doing. Last time I heard from him was at least 4 years ago. Once again, I still like my current local rep, and appreciate all his efforts in being my advocate with my visual field.

Given that our pleas have fallen under deaf years in the past, and nothing has changed in my 7 years in private practice, I’m not really holding my hopes up for any change in Zeiss’ sales and service tactics. Both Howie and I haven’t even bothered to entertain them with a suggestion or response. I don’t see a point anymore.

Having said that, since I now know for a fact that Zeiss is reading this post, here’s a suggestion to start out:

  1. All new equipment MUST be delivered untampered in a factory sealed box, which is only to be opened at the location of delivery.
  2. Draft a disclosure form, which the customer signs with the purchase agreement, that acknowledges that Zeiss will be delivering a brand new unit that has never been demo’d or used in any previous clinical setting.

If anyone else has a Zeiss story to share, positive or negative, please feel free to do so in the comments section.

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