[TowerTalk] Who bought Tristao Towers

Dick Green Dick Green" <dick.green@valley.net
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 19:55:49 -0500


> However be warned US Tower is not helpful at times.


This may be literally true, but could be misleading. My own experience has
been that certain individuals who answer the phone at U.S. Tower are not as
helpful as others. At least one person who sometimes answers the phone is
not capable of answering more than the most basic technical questions and
always has to ask the foreman, chief engineer or owner for help. Because
they are extremely busy there, this process can take some time and often
information gets garbled enroute. This is especially true if the subject is
complex, which it almost always is on something like a crankup tower (which
also might be a motorized, rotating tiltover.) Usually, it's better to have
a direct, interactive conversation with someone who really knows the

I've found that Bruce, the owner of U.S. Tower, is extremely knowledgable
about the products and has always been courteous and anxious to help me.
When I had some significant difficulties getting my tower to rotate last
year, he worked with me personally for several days until we had succeeded
in resolving the problem. Earlier this year, I called him with a question
about problems I was having with the pull-down cable popping off the
pulleys. Again, he was very courteous and helpful -- we had a lengthy
discussion about the possible causes and potential solutions to my problem.
A few months later, I e-mailed him with a progress report and he called me,
unsolicited, on a Saturday to follow up [N.B. I ended up removing the
pulleys for the pull-down cable -- if anyone wants more detail about that,
just ask.]

By the way, last year Bruce told me they were working on an extensive manual
for my tower. I asked if it was ready yet, and he said no. Apparently,
they've been pretty busy. I suggested that some of the problems I have run
into could have been avoided with a good manual, and that in the long run
good documentation should reduce his customer service burden and save money
for the company. He said that he would have thought so too, but that they
released a manual for another tower model and the number of calls increased
dramatically. He said they ended up quoting portions of the manual to
customers over the phone -- in other words, people didn't read it or didn't
understand it. I haven't seen the manual, so I can't comment on the quality
of the writing and diagrams. That may or may not have been a factor. I do
know from personal experience that the majority of people, even in the
high-tech industry, do not read manuals (I've written thousands of pages of
technical documentation that were only read by a tiny fraction of the
customers -- talk about a thankless job!)

While I think that Bruce is very dedicated to personally helping customers,
I don't see how he'll be able to keep that up forever, especially with a
rapidly growing customer base (largely government.) I suspect that he
wouldn't want me to tell everyone with a problem to contact him personally
right off the bat. So, my advice would be to try to obtain assistance
through normal channels, then contact Bruce if you don't get the answers
that you need. Above all, I have found that being friendly, courteous and
patient gets much better results than being a cranky, demanding, irritable
customer. People rarely cooperate when you insult them, their product, or
their company. Often they do cooperate when you are cheerful, friendly and
non-threatening. I try to remember this, even when I'm anxious for a
solution. I believe the expression is, "You catch more flies with honey than

I realize that's tough advice to follow when you're tower isn't working, A5
just came up and it's less than 24 hours to CQWW, but that's what you get
for waiting until the last minute. If there's anything I have learned about
towers, it's to take things slowly and deliberately -- plan carefully and
plan well in advance.

So, while there are some problems dealing with U.S. Tower, I think that they
have an excellent product, good value for the money, and are trying hard to
be a good supplier. Your mileage may vary.

73, Dick, WC1M

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