Hi friends, a quick update about some changes to our advisory service.
You may or may (or may not) be aware that we offer a unique advisory service, one of just a handful of businesses like ours doing so. Through this service, and a genuine desire to assist hi-fi lovers, we’ve helped people around the world diagnose faults, improve their systems, purchase end-game hi-fi equipment and more.
We currently offer two levels of service:
- Brief advice, previously accessible via small donations
- Consults, for extended advisory conversations
Both offer excellent value and insight for advice seekers and reduce productivity-killing, brain-draining unpaid conversations for me. You can read more on why we need to charge for the service, but let’s just say that if we didn’t, I’d spend all day answering questions rather than running a business.
The service helps fill the void between uninformed opinion and the ‘newer = better’ retail machine, something I’m constantly reminded of the need for. I’m pleased to provide it too, as long as there’s a healthy respect for how we administer the service. Unfortunately, despite many positive interactions, this isn’t always the case and it’s reached a point where changes are needed.
But first, a big shout-out and thank you to Liquid Audio supporters and folks who do respect how we do things, including customers, advice-seekers, consult purchasers, one-offs, regulars and even our first monthly donor. You all know who you are and you make helping you a genuine pleasure!
Considerations in revising our advisory service include:
- The advisory service is not core business, we don’t need to offer it
- The service offers valuable information from an expert source about unique equipment most have no experience with
- All aspects of the service/interactions should break even, many don’t
- Unpaid/underpaid/underappreciated advisory interactions should be minimised
- Calls and messages from random advice seekers should be minimised
- My colleagues don’t offer an advisory service, should we continue to?
Example: I recently helped an advice seeker with a high-end equipment purchase, providing extended assistance via multiple long calls and emails, with a good-faith understanding that the equipment would come to us for assessment and any work needed. Unfortunately, and despite my follow-ups, the equipment went to another local business that played no part in the process.
What should have been a significant paid consult + work + an excellent result for everyone involved, ended up with me working for less than a child’s minimum wage, work for someone not involved and an excellent result for the owner. Despite receiving assistance far outweighing his donation, this advice seeker rudely dismissed his behaviour and the person who’d helped him, when I politely mentioned that this was neither viable nor in the spirit of the help we provided 🤦♂️
Always a good day when the person helping ends up with a kick in the 🥜
What else? Well, some people just expect help, as though expecting help from a busy specialist they don’t know and aren’t engaging is somehow normal! Others try to sneak help by pretending they’ve donated, ‘forgetting’ to donate, making incorrect selections in the contact form to avoid donating or calling, sometimes using hidden numbers and pretending they don’t know how the service works.
We filter this stuff of course and many folks are just the greatest, as you’ll see in the comments below. But really, trying to cheat someone who actively contributes to the hi-fi community out of work or a few bucks for their time and expertise when seeking their help..? It’s like stealing from your mum after she cooks you dinner. Probably shouldn’t do it 🤣
That’s the crux of the issue. Many advice-seekers have picked up a ton of information here, from our YouTube channel, and directly from me, without ever making a contribution in return. I’m not interested in assisting people we’ve probably already helped and who only take without giving anything back. Life’s too short as they say!
The reasonable among you will understand and I sincerely thank you for it.
Here endeth the rant.
For now, we will continue to offer and monitor the advisory service, with the following changes:
- Advice will be provided more selectively, through advice channels where possible
- Those circumventing advice channels will be redirected back to them
- We now only offer a fixed-price, 10-minute advice block + consults for longer discussions
- The phone number is gone from our site
- Extended advisory conversations now require a 30 or 60-minute consult pre-purchase
- Filtering will be improved across all channels
Again, if you support us and respect how we do things, thank you. If not, that’s OK too, but you’ll need to seek advice elsewhere.
If you have any suggestions for further improvement to the service, I’d love to hear them in the comments below or by email.
Thanks for understanding and as always friends, onwards!
Well, I could never have predicted the response this post would generate. The comments, calls, donations and email responses I’ve received have been amazing, mind-blowing actually! Quite literally everyone has been positive and supportive, with many sharing their own stories of having helped people who abuse the privilege. This genuine outflowing of kind words really took me by surprise, so again, thank you. This is why we offer the service.