YD Scuba Diving Forums banner
1 - 20 of 278 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Afternoon All,

As a relatively new employee of Northern Diver, I am spearheading a new approach to Customer Service, Quality, Branding and Marketing. As some of you may have noticed throughout the past 3 to 6 months the website has changed and so has the companies approach to online sales. As with every company in the modern era, Northern Diver have realised that they need to evolve and evaluate the procedures in which have been problematic in the past. As the instigator of change and development, I have been tasked with this responsibility and the first place I have come is here - Yorkshire Divers.

I understand that historically the opinion of Northern Diver and/or the products in which they manufacturer have not been well thought of throughout this diving community and I would like to (without bias) try to resolve some of the issues and hopefully change the way in which Northern Diver approaches the problems that real divers have with their equipment.

As I am not a diver myself, although I have tried and enjoyed whilst on holiday, I had never heard of Northern Diver as a company before being offered the position as there Website Manager. However, soon after taking the position I became aware that the company needed to change in order to progress. From reading various threads/posts on YD, I understand that the general consensus is that the equipment has become somewhat poor in quality throughout the recent years and can no longer compete with the Northern Diver of old and other manufacturers.

What I would like is some genuine opinion and examples of problems encountered by yourselves with either Northern Diver as a company or the equipment in which you have purchased. If you can go as far as being product, date and exact fault specific, that would be absolutely perfect for the report I am putting together.

Thank you for your time and patience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,516 Posts
So Northern Diver have recruited a new Website Manager to spearhead "a new approach to Customer Service, Quality, Branding and Marketing". I'm sure you are very capable but it seems a strange approach.
My bad experience with ND was that you set up an eBay account to sell stock without admitting it was ND. The item turned up very late with no response or explanation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,029 Posts
to be fair. its like a piss head going to an AA meeting and admitting there may be a problem. you cant move on until that first step has been taken. so all in all it is a good thing. now if the brainz decide to act on it that's a different matter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you Barry,

I have read all of the threads I can find in which Northern Diver have been mentioned, Although the majority of the comments are negative it appears that a lot of them do not have any real detail or sustenance. This is why I have created this thread and made the request. If you have had any dealings personally with Northern Diver, either positive or negative I will be more than happy to listen to your opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,456 Posts
Welcome to YD.

I'll link you to a couple of my old threads and they are old, I havent bought another ND product since and cant see me buying one now, I certainly don't recommend them.

First hint of a problem.
The Result - Suit Sold

These are old and I wouldnt have rasied them if you hadnt have asked, I don't go about bringing up issues that may or may not have been one offs.
Happy to chat via pm or phone if you want some feedback from a few years ago & I am glad to hear that a company that used to be known for the quaility of it's products is actually taking heed of the more recent downturn in the value/reputation of its brand.

Davie
 

·
All hail the mighty ZOM
Joined
·
26,851 Posts
Nice to see a company engaging customers like this, although it might be a bit of a rod for your own back. Be gentle... :)

I've got a couple of ND suits. Chop off the arms and legs, fold them in and stuff with an old cushion. One is used by the Beagle as a dog bed and the other used by the Bull Terrier as a dog bed. They're brilliant for that :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So Northern Diver have recruited a new Website Manager to spearhead "a new approach to Customer Service, Quality, Branding and Marketing". I'm sure you are very capable but it seems a strange approach.
My bad experience with ND was that you set up an eBay account to sell stock without admitting it was ND. The item turned up very late with no response or explanation.
Good Afternoon Outlaw13,

Can you give me some details as to the ebay account in which you are referencing and what the item was?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
792 Posts
No Worries Sam,

I brought an ND divemaster drysuit at the LIDS of 2 years ago, paying £685.
I started diving it after receiving it two weeks or so later, after a month or so of use the inflator valve began to leak air into the suit and wouldn't spring back out after being depressed, leading to me disconnectin gthe inflator hose and thus letting water into the suit through the open valve. (better than a run away ascent) I stripped and cleaned the inflator valve and it solved the problem for a couple of dives, then it happened again and no matter how clean the inflator valve was it kept happening, I swapped the valve out for an apex one from my other suit (otter Brittanic, membrane)
I mentioned this to the staff on the stand at the following NEC and was told there was a bad batch and we'll post you out a replacement. it arrived 2 weeks later but is still sat on the garage shelf. During this time the two other club memebers who had brought suits at or about the same time had the same happen to them.
So skip forward 2 years and 100 or so dives and my suit is now leaking from the seams underneath each arm(not the armpit), I hope i've put enough detail into my linked post to understand the frustration I had when contacting ND about it, the suit shouldn't be leaking down the seams, in fact I think your own website mentions Bonded for life seams.
HTH
Regards,
B
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Paul,

You have hit the nail on the head, as an alternative saying goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink". So far since I have worked for the company I have implemented a whole new e-commerce website, changed the way in which the returns procedure is dealt with and also working on introducing a better outlook to customer service. This is why I have come to ask for this response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
Welcome Sam,
Nice to see this approach, if it is to resolve issues, rather than deflect them.
Personally I have not used northern diver gear, so as a potential future customer, I watch with interest.
Often the after sales service is as important as the initial sale. Something many companies don't or don't want to factor in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice to see a company engaging customers like this, although it might be a bit of a rod for your own back. Be gentle... :)

I've got a couple of ND suits. Chop off the arms and legs, fold them in and stuff with an old cushion. One is used by the Beagle as a dog bed and the other used by the Bull Terrier as a dog bed. They're brilliant for that :D
Woz,

That seems like a very novel way of recycling unwanted items, however, what was the initial problems with the suits?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Welcome Sam,
Nice to see this approach, if it is to resolve issues, rather than deflect them.
Personally I have not used northern diver gear, so as a potential future customer, I watch with interest.
Often the after sales service is as important as the initial sale. Something many companies don't or don't want to factor in.
Thank you,

My mentality exactly, for me the only way to solve an issue is to find the source and listen to the responses of the users, where a product is concerned. Especially with me being a "non-diver", the fact that through listening to your opinions and understanding the positives and negatives of the equipment, this will allow me to gain a more accurate view of diving equipment in general how it is used. All of this will then hopefully, not only build my product knowledge but allow me to rectify the issues of the past and prevent them from taking place in the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
Welcome to YD!






Oh and 2 of the large "browse our other sites" links at the bottom of the new homepage don't work! The one for military and S&R! At least they don't work for me!
 

·
All hail the mighty ZOM
Joined
·
26,851 Posts
Woz,

That seems like a very novel way of recycling unwanted items, however, what was the initial problems with the suits?
They were just very very old, needed new boots, zips and seals and were mostly Aquasure. Nothing to worry about from your end :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,823 Posts
The missus and I were both sold ND 'cortex' suits at a dive show in about 2004, by an ND staff member via the go-dive stand.

The missus is an 'odd' shape and needed made to measure. This was done in the UK at ND and took two weeks longer than promised - I had to drive from London to collect it as we had a drysuit course and I couldn't take the risk of it not arriving - got no apology or explaination either. That said, the missus is still using the suit now and it hasn't leaked at all, and it did fit.

I was told I was a stock XL, and given my suit then and there. I beleive it was a 'chinese' made suit. If you turned it inside out is looked like it had been glued together by a blind man, even compared to the missus's suit. That was the start of four years of leaks and wetness. It started out with a new neckseal as the stock one I had been assured by ND was fine was in fact too big and leaked. I took it to Chris Hammond and Hammond drysuits as ND were quoting 4 week turnaround at the time. Chris did it in two hours, although I did have to drive there and back.

New boots next as the ND ones cracked. This is when Chris (again, ND were still quoting 4 weeks) measured my inside leg and told me the suit was 3" short in the leg. He let some material in, put better quality new boots on and suddenly the suit fitted well and I could move a lot better. Remember, I had been measured up by ND themselves.

Then there were the leaks - it must have had 5 or 6 pressure tests and patches in the crutch, arm, both legs, over the pocket stitching and alongside the zip.

Then I needed a new zip. The original was not really fitted straight in the suit so had been under some strain. Again, Chris sorted it out.

When I got into extended range diving I decided that when it started leaking again in about 3 places, I would stop throwing good money after bad and just get a new suit. I got a SeaSkin, which was made-to-measure, fitted well, and had lots of nice features. It was actually cheaper than the ND as well. It has not been faultless, I did have one leak, but it was fixed for free in under a week including postage to and from Leeds.

In diving, particularily in very cold water, the suit is part of your life support. It needs to work, and you need to be able to trust it. ND just don't meet that requirement.

When we were sold the ND suits, we were quite new to UK diving and or insrtuctor at the time had an old ND suit of about 1998 vintage. He loved it, and continued diving it up to 2009, when he sold it on to someone else who is still using it. We bought ours on that basis and were sorely dissapointed that the quality had dropped off so much. I still have my ND suit in the garage - I don't really want to sell it on as I wouldn't feel happy doing so.

Well done for comming on here and asking questions. In my opinion, the first thing that needs to be sorted is the quality. Once that has been sorted, then good customer service can turn a mediocre company in to one with a good rep. ND have a VERY poor rep in this area at the moment.

At the moment, I would advise anyone to avoid ND at any cost. Recently, when someone was enquiring about getting a suit on the BSAC discount scheme, I and a few others advised them that discount of a pile of rubbish just got you a cheaper pile of rubbish (well, actually we didn't say 'rubbish'!). That shouldn't be the case.

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,516 Posts
Can you give me some details as to the ebay account in which you are referencing and what the item was?
Just been through my eBay account and I think it was watersports-mad although I'm not completely sure. If that's the one it was for some twinning bands.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
No Worries Sam,

I brought an ND divemaster drysuit at the LIDS of 2 years ago, paying £685.
I started diving it after receiving it two weeks or so later, after a month or so of use the inflator valve began to leak air into the suit and wouldn't spring back out after being depressed, leading to me disconnectin gthe inflator hose and thus letting water into the suit through the open valve. (better than a run away ascent) I stripped and cleaned the inflator valve and it solved the problem for a couple of dives, then it happened again and no matter how clean the inflator valve was it kept happening, I swapped the valve out for an apex one from my other suit (otter Brittanic, membrane)
I mentioned this to the staff on the stand at the following NEC and was told there was a bad batch and we'll post you out a replacement. it arrived 2 weeks later but is still sat on the garage shelf. During this time the two other club memebers who had brought suits at or about the same time had the same happen to them.
So skip forward 2 years and 100 or so dives and my suit is now leaking from the seams underneath each arm(not the armpit), I hope i've put enough detail into my linked post to understand the frustration I had when contacting ND about it, the suit shouldn't be leaking down the seams, in fact I think your own website mentions Bonded for life seams.
HTH
Regards,
B
Barry,

Thanks for the information, there is quite simply nothing worse and more frustrating than a problem that is dragged out over a long period of time. The issue that you experienced is not one in which I haven't heard about since working here. Like you were informed, there was an issue with a batch of valves in which the springs within the valves were not made to the correct specification and therefore were the cause of problems like you experienced. However, the issue with the seems on the suit is something completely different. Although the term "bonded for life seams" is used on the Northern Diver website (Old Website - Id be surprised if I have not removed that statement), I personally feel that this statement should never be taken literally, from my experience with the adhesives and materials used in order to quantify this statement, the maintenance, cleaning and general usage of the suit cannot be guaranteed and/or expected from the user and therefore the statement should never be made in the first place. Do you still use the Suit? What type of Northern Diver suit is it that you own?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Welcome to YD!

Oh and 2 of the large "browse our other sites" links at the bottom of the new homepage don't work! The one for military and S&R! At least they don't work for me!
Thank you for informing me of the broken links, I will fix these the morning.
 
1 - 20 of 278 Posts
Top