We’ve all heard it: “Supply chain issues”. It’s one of the main reasons for disruptions to so many industries across the spectrum. And at a time when micromobility products such as electric bikes and e-scooters are taking off like wildfire, many companies are coming under fire for their slow shipping and slower responses to customer complaints. But while several companies have battled with angry consumer sentiment, one has drawn more ire than anyone else: GoTrax.
It got so bad that the Better Business Bureau issued a rare public warning last month, informing consumers that it was flagging GoTrax and giving the company an “F” rating.
The complaints weren’t just about slow shipping that has affected much of the industry, but also included defective products and warranty issues as well.
To be fair, GoTrax is known as a budget company, and so their electric scooters and e-bikes prioritize affordable prices over higher quality manufacturing. But even for a budget company, the complaints were stacking up much higher than anywhere else.
The BBB said they began investigating GoTrax “after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers in 41 states across the United States and Canada.”
That’s…. not good.
To figure out what went so wrong, and to hear what they planned to do about it, I spoke directly with the company.
And to their credit, they bared all.
GoTrax’s Marketing Director Jeff Lawrence discussed the issues in detail with me. He explained that they had been monitoring their slipping reviews, but hadn’t realized that the BBB score has dropped to an “F” rating until the bureau issued its public warning.
As Jeff continued:
As we were planning for 2022, it was evident to our management that to continue to separate GoTrax from the other electric scooter brands, we had to improve our service.
We categorized our BBB complaints and these were the main issues:
1. Issue with the product – especially outside of 90 day warranty period
2. Issue of slow or unreachable customer service
3. Future – What GoTrax customers can expect
He then discussed the plan developed by the company to address each of the concerns.
Product reliability concerns
Beginning with product reliability and warranty issues, GoTrax has decided to increase its warranty period from 90 to 180 days.
Quality standards are also going up, which the company says is evidenced by its product return rate dropping by over 50% recently.
Jeff said that can be attributed to two things. First, GoTrax has worked to improve its manufacturing process, from using higher quality components such as battery connectors, hardware and wiring, to implementing third-party QC that inspects the factory’s work on site. Secondly, GoTrax has begun selling less of its entry-level models and more of its higher-priced yet higher-quality models, such as the GMax and G4. Those scooters range from $599-$799, as compared to GoTrax’s cheapest $349 scooters.
Our G4 and GMAX ultra are extremely popular with the lowest return rate. In our Facebook group (not run by GoTrax, but run by actual riders) you can find posts of people resetting the odometer two or three times. It resets at 1,000 miles. That’s extremely impressive for a $599-$799 e-scooter.
Jeff explained that GoTrax will also have a new series of electric scooters, which will debut in February, that were developed using customer feedback to further improve the design.
Improving customer service
For many GoTrax scooter owners, customer service has become the biggest complaint against the company. And Jeff says GoTrax is now keenly aware of that shortcoming.
“This is the issue that we definitely see as a failure on our part, and have taken the most action to correct to have the best year ever for GoTrax and its riders.”
Jeff explained that one of the company’s biggest issues during the pandemic was staffing-related.
To help, GoTrax is now supplementing its internal customer service team with an additional third party support service that is trained by GoTrax staff and works directly with the team. Back in January of 2021, the GoTrax support team had dropped to a low point of just four people. One year later, that team has grown to 29. Jeff says that has helped them drop their average ticket response time to under 12 hours.
The company is also transitioning its top customer service agents to phone support this week, which Jeff explains took a longer training period for the product knowledge required to deal with the wide range of e-scooters and e-bikes offered by GoTrax.
GoTrax is now actively monitoring its BBB complaints and has been able to reach out to customers on all complaints filed in 2021, though Jeff explained that this is difficult becuase the BBB sometimes supplies very little contact information. That can make it tricky for GoTrax to match the complaints to their customer database. A quick check of the BBB page shows that many of those complaints have now been marked as resolved by the customers. GoTrax says it is still working to resolve the remainder of the complaints.
Jeff explained that GoTrax has hired a new customer service manager who previously ran an Apple remote service team, and has hired a new team lead for the phone support team who previously managed phone support at Dyson. Jeff suggested that if anyone has a complaint that has not been resolved, they can reach out directly to GoTrax’s customer service manager at Jonathan@gotrax.com.
GoTrax had previously held a 1-star rating based on reviews on its BBB page, but has since increased to just shy of 4-stars with a current 3.94/5 review score. The BBB’s grade of “F” still stands, but Jeff says that that GoTrax is committing itself to achieve an “A” rating and a review score of 4.5/5 by the end of 2022.
Improving the customer experience
Looking forward, GoTrax is now working hard to ensure that customers received a much better experience than they have in the past.
Jeff laid out what customers can expect right now:
- 14 days to test a new scooter or return it if not satisfied.
- 6 months of warranty coverage free, optional paid 1-2 year warranty plan from Mulberry.
- Lifetime of support troubleshooting and help with parts, plus constantly updated product guides.
Looking to the future, GoTrax will implement these features by May of 2022:
- Opening a service center in Dallas, Texas to repair scooters under warranty and offer affordable repairs for out-of-warranty scooters. The team is apparently already hired and is working on preparing the new service center.
- An increased effort to source parts and keep them well stocked despite current supply chain issues. The company is also sending more replacement parts up front with new models so owners already have parts if they should become necessary.
- A potential increase in warranty to 1 year on higher-end models and new 2022 models.
As Jeff continued:
From the ownership to the employees, our biggest focus this year is to provide more value to our customers. We want every GoTrax customer to feel confident that 1) You will get a 100% working scooter, 2) if you do have any issues you can always reach us Monday – Friday, and 3) Whether it’s brand new, within 6 months or after the warranty we always have a solution for our customers to get riding again.
Bad reviews are eventually part of running a business. You can’t please everyone. Every week my inbox is flooded with people telling me why X company is the worst in the world because Y happened and the e-bike/e-scooter brand must be imploding because it didn’t give them Z. I don’t think I’ve heard of a single micromobility company that doesn’t have support complaints floating around the internet. And it’s worse than ever now because of the surging demand combined with tightened supply. It’s a perfect storm.
But GoTrax was in a league of its own when it came to bad reviews. While I used to get emails fairly equally for most companies, the GoTrax complaints started flowing in faster and more fervently than ever. Something was obviously up and I knew it was time to push the company for explanations.
I’m actually impressed with how GoTrax took responsibility and said “We messed up. Here’s how we are trying to make it right for current customers with issues, and here’s how we are trying to prevent this from happening in the future.”
That doesn’t absolve them of poor practices. And this kind of insight certainly sheds light on what happened. Four people on customer service? Wow. Large companies like Rad Power Bikes have literally hundreds of people working the phone lines and email/chat support.
But I’m glad to see that GoTrax is making real improvements where it counts: namely on product reliability and support. The best solution is to make your stuff break less. But since some things will always break, effective service is a necessity.
So I’m cautiously optimistic that GoTrax will be able to achieve its goals and take care of its commitments to customers. But time will tell. As will their BBB rating.
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