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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Value of Service and Support

After talking with Customer Support two times via the telephone and ordering what was described as the correct replacement part, the wrong part was received twice (each time taking weeks). Upon the third attempt at getting this right, this time via email, Customer Support replied:I am sorry to say that we have no replacement parts for that particular product. I apologize for the inconvenience of the miscommunication. If you choose to purchase the Model C, just let me know”
Model C was priced four times the original unit, which was about 2 years old, and except for a minor part was functioning well.

A search for the company information turned up an address for the small corporation.
The following letter addressed to the listed principal was sent:

“Your Customer Service and Support organization has been working with me with regard to your products as noted in the attached communication. Unfortunately, there appears to be no viable solution. I find this situation unreasonable. How do you expect to keep customers under these circumstances? You should know what it costs to get new customers? How do you expect me (and others) to recommend your company or its products? In the past I have recommended your products and have three, myself.  If you do not care you will allow this situation to continue to exist and you will very likely go out of business. Long term customers help a business grow. Cut them off and you lose. I started with a long standing national firm and moved to your products, but will likely return to them because they service and support their products.”

The letter was attached to an email addressed to Customer Service (the only email address that could be located) and asked that it be forwarded to the principals of the firm. It was also sent via hard copy mail to a name and address for the firm that could be located. This hard copy mail was returned as “undeliverable”.

The customer’s email was saturated with ads for the new products from this firm for a month. No other communication has occurred and the customer has not purchased a replacement product.

Some companies provide a referral to a third party parts supplier, who may pay them a royalty. Others offer to “trade in” the old product for a new one. Some maintain access to replaceable parts and make money on these opportunities.

If this was your business what would you do? How do you handle product transitions?

Hopefully you will not have an angry customer as represented above.

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor

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