customer service

9 03 2007

As companies get larger, they tend to neglect customer service, which is a big detriment to them.  Fortunately, not all companies go the “cheap route” with helping their customers.  Let me present a couple of good examples, followed by an extreme case of bad customer service.

For Christmas I had ordered a couple of books for my wife from Christian Book Distributor (CBD.com), and when they arrived I discovered one of them had a slightly torn cover.  It was too close to Christmas to exchange it, and it wasn’t that bad, so I just wrapped it up and gave it to her anyway.  She decided it didn’t have to be replaced because it wasn’t that bad.  I didn’t contact CBD about it, but in the review of their service I mentioned that they might want to keep an eye on that in the future.  They e-mailed me back and wanted to replace it for free, so I gave them the name of the book and they mailed out a replacement copy the next day, including a postage-paid return address label for sending back the damaged copy.  That’s how customer service should be!

A while back I had bought a camera tripod from Amazon.com for $20, and it was dented when I pulled it out of the box.  It wasn’t just a cosmetic issue — it didn’t fold up well because of the dent, plus it resulted in less stability in one leg.  Also, one of the levelers was broken.  So I e-mailed the manufacturer, and they wanted me to send it to them with $10 to cover their trouble.  I’m thinking they should honor their warranty and replace the defective product.  It was shipped in the manufacturer’s box, so it obviously hadn’t been handled since they initially shipped it.  I didn’t want to pay half the price of a new one to fix the one that should’ve been in perfect condition in the first place.  I contacted Amazon.com, and they shipped me a new one instantly, so I wasn’t inconvenienced by having to return the defective one first and wait a few weeks on the replacement.  That’s great customer service, and they aren’t even the ones who made it!  They probably didn’t make any profit on this transaction, but they made a satisfied customer who is more likely to shop there in the future.

Here’s a different story, which happened to one of my friends.  His Nintendo Wii started making odd noises after a few months, so he called Nintendo’s customer support and explained it to them, and they volunteered to send him a replacement Nintendo free of charge.  That is exceptional!  (I doubt that Microsoft or Sony would be so generous on their exchange policy.)  And Nintendo shipped the replacement immediately, so he received it within days, and he had 30 days to return the defective one.

As you know, most customer service isn’t that good.  In fact, some is about as bad as it can be.  One of my friends was asked to look at a laptop that had two screws broken.  They had called HP’s customer support because they bought the extended warranty and it was still covered, but HP said they must’ve dropped it and caused it to break.  After much pleading by the frustrated consumer, HP said they’d fix it for $300.  (Remember this is with the extended warranty.)  My friend examined the laptop and saw no signs of it being dropped or damaged.  He figured out how to fix it in ten minutes.  And HP was wanting $300!  That’s obviously not good customer service!

I realize companies have to make sacrifices to manage their “bottom line”, but customer service is something that shouldn’t be cut back too much.  If the company sells an extended service plan, they should honor it.  And if they won’t honor the warranty, they should be called on it (which I’m doing here).  Likewise, I want to spread the word about companies that actually care about their customers’ satisfaction.  In the first three stories above, the company selling the product probably cut into their profits to resolve the issue.  And for that, I am more likely to buy from them in the future.  The response by HP (Hewlett-Packard) does not make me want to buy any of their products.  Companies need to consider the satisfaction of their customers in addition to how much money they make.

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One response

10 03 2007
Sambo

I have been in sales for many years (and so have u –we always have to sell ourselves to excell in whatever we do) and had my own business for about 10 years. Usually locally owned companies will give u the best service because they MUST have return business to survive. In the sales job i have now 90 % of my sales comes from about 20 to 25 contractors – which are repete customers. If we don’t keep them happy we go under !!!!!!!

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