Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A different perspective

While having lunch one day at Augie's during the last home owner event, George and I spent an entertaining hour watching - and snapping photos - as tenders ferried cruise passengers from the MS Ryndam into Loreto.

We saw lots of those cruisers wandering around town that day, most looking lost and confused. Not surprising as Loreto hasn't (yet) geared up for that kind of tourist influx.

The sight of that large ship anchored outside Loreto led us to wonder what it would be like to cruise the Sea of Cortez and see the area from a new and different perspective. How fun, we said to each other. Even though the ship only spends a day in Loreto, we could rent a car and zip out to Loreto Bay to view the progress on our Encantada. We could have a leisurely lunch poolside at the Inn and even have enough time to track down Hector or Jesus to get the latest scoop on construction. We'd be able to spend the day in La Paz checking out furniture stores, art galleries and other shopping venues. We'd even get to spend some time in Cabo being hectored by condo salesmen. Who could resist?

Not us, that's for sure. We got home and booked a 10-day Mexican cruise on the aforementioned MS Ryndam scheduled to depart San Diego December 11.

Since just about everything in Baja shuts down during the holidays, we're not sure we'll be able to actually track down anyone from LB during our shore time in Loreto, but we will be able to take lots of photos, which we'll post here upon our return.

Merry Christmas to us! And to all of you, too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A call for Customer Service 101

George and I have been on such a high since visiting Loreto last month. Being able to see firsthand the progress on our Casa Encantada was an incredible experience. In just four short months we saw our lot transformed from a dusty, barren patch of ground to the beginnings of a real home with walls and ceilings. It was so exciting to see our home take shape and to share in the excitement of other home owners during the Agua Viva tour.

All that excitement created a little flicker of hope that the information flow from Loreto Bay to home owners just might be improving. Unfortunately, that is not the case as evidenced by an email we received this evening from Loreto Bay and a transcript of Kaz’s most recent podcast on Nopolo News.

This latest email from Loreto Bay proudly claims to be providing accurate and up-to-date information and photos of the construction progress on our casa. Not even close. The construction “update” didn’t even include the progress we saw while in Loreto and the photos only showed our neighbors’ homes in a shot apparently taken from the tower of our house.

What gives? If this is the new and improved product being offered by customer service then we’re all in trouble.

Making matters worse was the latest podcast transcript on Nopolo News. I didn’t have a blood pressure cuff handy today when George read Kaz’s transcript, but judging by his demeanor, I’m sure it shot up a few points! (Click on Nopolo News under Blog List)

The responses from LB’s marketing rep Stacy to legitimate questions were unsatisfactory to say the least. When asked about providing more pertinent information in the monthly (not quite) newsletter, Stacy responded by asking which newsletter… Hello? How many newsletters are there anyway? Her responses were generally snarky and unresponsive (see response to management attending home owner event), something we’ve noticed whenever marketing responds on the official home owner site.

We understand that management may not have all the answers – or any answers for that matter. Instead of being defensive, why not try a little courteous honesty? “Sorry, we don’t have the answer right now, but we’ll work on finding out for you.” That’s what we heard from Jesus with customer service down in Loreto and it works. It generates goodwill and patience. The problem is that there is no customer service consistency within LBC. A crash course in the fundamentals of customer service is desperately needed for everyone - from top to bottom - in LB/Replay.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rumors take wing

Why is it that bad news from Loreto Bay always seems to hit on the weekend when there's no recourse but to wait until Monday to start making calls?

Last evening was a perfect case in point with the post on the official homeowner site saying that particle board and laminate cabinets are being installed in Agua Viva homes.

Upon reading the post from a full-time homeowner George immediately went through our contract to find out what exactly is specified. Of course, nothing was exactly specified other than lower cabinets are solid alder wood. Not very reassuring.

So we ended the weekend on a fretful note (George in particular who worried that maybe Replay was going to be making changes without informing homeowners) wondering if the cabinets would - as the homeowner posted - look like something that belongs in a mobile home.

First thing this morning, George called Village Homes Coordinator Jesus Perez to resolve the issue. And thankfully, Jesus did just that by noting that what the homeowner saw was a sub-structure of particle board and laminate over which the solid wood cabinets will be placed, adding that the sub-structure is being used to protect against humidity. Ultimately, Jesus said, the cabinets will look like those in Founder's.