Customer Service

My wife bought me a new espresso machine for Easter. I only drink coffee first thing in the morning and I like a good dose of caffeine to wake me up. She bought a top name brand which turned to to leak – badly. These things happen even with the best of goods so I contacted the manufacturer. The young man whom I spoke to was extremely helpful and said that he would arrange to have the machine collected from my home and returned for testing and, if necessary, repair. The carrier arrived at the due time and took the machine away. Great service, I thought. Unfortunately, that was the end and the company has ruined its image, certainly in my family.

When I had heard nothing after SIX weeks, I e-mailed to ask what was happening. I know that one of the problems with e-mail is that we expect an instant response but when I had heard nothing two days later I telephoned. Almost immediately I received an e-mail advising me that they were not responsible for repairs and I should contact another company. Note, this is the manufacturer, the people who arranged the collection of the machine, who were not responsible!

I contacted the other company. It took several hours to get through on the telephone. The computer system was not working properly and the woman who took my call could not find my case on her computer and had to shout across the office to a colleague. My ears are still ringing! Eventually she told me that my my machine could not be fixed and had been recommended for replacement. It took six weeks to do this! She said that it would take seven to ten days for the replacement to arrive.

Two weeks later I called the manufacturer. The Customer Relations Adviser whom I spoke to confirmed that my machine was to be replaced and it would take seven to ten working days. From that day! Okay it took only five days but that was nine weeks in total to replace a faulty – and expensive – machine.

Apart from the fact that I feel that, had I not chased them, I should still be waiting for my machine to be looked at, I found the insincerity of the correspondence so annoying. Writing “Assuring you of our best intentions at all times” is no substitute for actually dealing with customers professionally and quickly.

There is a lesson here for everyone in business. Your only reason for being in business is to meet your customer’s needs. If you don’t want to do that, retire.

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