I recently had an issue that may demonstrate something for small business. A manufacturer told me over the phone, that they no longer made parts for a unit they built over 20 years ago. They went on to tell me the current design included a part that could be used in the older system. In fact, while it was an “improved” part, it would be a direct replacement. On that basis, I was able to purchase the “improved” part and arranged to have a qualified mechanic replace the older part. The mechanic, however, was not as familiar as he needed to be. The new part required a slightly different attach method, and after almost four hours he was able to remove the older part but failed to be able to replace it with the “improved” part. In the end the “improved” part did not come with an explanation, manual, or directions reflecting any difference in the method of attachment. I had the old part put back with a slight change to improve its functionality. The manufacturer refunded the purchase price of the “improved” part. I had to pay the mechanic.
There are a number of lessons here I think:
New Parts can be designed to replace old parts, so the customer is not left without a solution.
When new parts are used, instructions should be provided as well.
This manufacturer stood behind his products for a long time.
Should the manufacturer offered to pay for the mechanic as well?
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor
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