Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - What A Novel Concept.

It seems like such a simple concept- saying what you mean and meaning what you say - and yet, it is one that is put into everyday practice so rarely. Think about it, businesses, politicians, every day people - how often do you hear them saying one thing and doing exactly the opposite? It's exasperating.

My father was a man of his word. He could be counted on to do exactly what he said he was going to. For example, when he and my mother got divorced, he told my mother that he would give her some established sum of money for the rest of his life. He did. Every month. Before he passed, he expressed to my sisters and myself that it was his wish that action would continue even after his death. Not many people are like that today, which brings me to the point of today's post...

Three weeks ago, I purchased a new washer and dryer from Best Buy. I had purchased two machines from them 11 years ago and had been extremely satisfied. Now, when it was time to replace those machines, I naturally returned to their store. My buying experience was spectacular - great customer service and more. They delivered exactly when they said they were going to deliver and everything was wonderful.

Fast forward until this last Sunday when my new washing machine, which I absolutely adore, starting pouring water out of the soap dispenser of all places! I immediately called the Geek Squad ( yes, I know what you are thinking but they do handle appliance repairs too...) to set up an appointment to repair my machine. I had, after all, spent $400 extra to get the extended five year warranty on BOTH machines. I had a great experience, they expedited my service and scheduled the repair appointment for Tuesday, which was yesterday. They told me that I would receive a call on Tuesday letting me know what time they would be here. So I waited....

9 o'clock came and went, so I called them to find out what time I needed to be back from school to be here for the repairman. They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about and worse, they had no intention of coming out yesterday. Now, I have a family of four and one dog, and I don't know about you, but I just can't go that long without my washing machine. I informed them that wasn't going to work for me that they needed to abide by what they originally told me. Long story short, after much excuses and apologizing they didn't mean what they said. They failed absolutely and completely to keep their service contract with me.

I didn't stop there though, oh no. Now I was pissed. So I called the store manager where I bought the machine. I told him the whole scenario- positive experience with purchase and delivery - abject failure on service contract. So I told him that unless something was done, I was going to cart the washer and dryer off to the curb of my house with a BIG sign that said, " I bought these lemons at Best Buy, if you want to purchase appliances from a company that stands by their promises, don't go there." I told him I would take pictures and post it all over my blog, facebook, the local newspaper, EVERYWHERE. Further, I'm a Navy wife and we all know, bad news spreads like wildfire. Needless to say, he found me a new machine and it will be exchanged for the one I have now, to be delivered later today...

I still don't know what time today but if you hear of seismic activity here in CT, well..... you'll know what happened. I'll keep you posted.


Ken said...

People certain learn to fudge, omit, spin, and outright lie, don't they? We learn to say what people want to hear, just to avoid arguments, hurt feelings, negative reactions, etc. That is one reason little kids can be so refreshing. While it doesn't take children too long to lie, sometimes they make it a while before they learn not to be blunt or that it is better just to keep quiet.

One of the most valuable employees a boss can have is one who will, in private, tell that boss exactly what's what. Most employees don't feel free to do that unless they don't really need the job.

Customer service is an interesting deal. I spent many years working with an organization that prides itself on great customer service. But as with places like Best Buy, sometimes turnover would get to a point where you get some people who either just don't care, or they are ignorant about what they can do. "Service recovery" is an art. It is far better to spend a little money keeping a customer loyal than to risk them taking the time to take you to small claims court and being angry, never using you again, and telling others not to use you.

Speaking of that... I found a car maintenance place I really like. They even send me coupons all of the time. They haven't tried to upsell me or get me to buy service I don't need, and the general experience is good and the prices reasonable. Unfortunately, I just got a letter from them that they've lost their lease. Argh!!!