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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Customer Service How It Should Be

 I had the most remarkable experience recently and was prompted to write about it.  Once upon a time, we bought items and if they weren't satisfactory, we could return them and get a store credit or even get our money back.  But lately it seems (as in the case of my microwave from Pacific Sales via Best Buy which was too large for the condo even though I'd been told they were a standard size), many companies do not honor or stand behind their merchandise.  They didn't even explain I wasn't buying from Best Buy, so when I tried to return it to another BB, they said I had to go to Pacific Sales.  Then they told me I had to return it to the store where I actually bought it, and they told me they would not accept it because that was their policy.  No, I wasn't told about that either when I bought it.
Oh, this is the perfect chance to tell my why-I-no-longer-recommend-or-buy-any-appliances-from-Sears story.  We bought a new refrigerator from them several years ago--one with French doors and the freezer on the bottom.  After a couple of years, the seal on the door wasn't working well, which caused the door to not always close tightly, which then warmed the freezer and cause it to stop working all together.  We removed everything, called a repairman and was told we should call Sears.  We did, but that repairman said he could not fix it because in order to reprogram the freezer, he needed the code, and there wasn't one inside where it should be.  We hadn't removed it--obviously the paper with the code was left off at the factory.  After many frustrating calls to the company and speaking to umpteen people about the problem, including going to the store and talking to a manager about replacing this one, we gave up.  They could not fix this one and would not replace it.  They offered us nothing.
Oddly enough, once the doors were diligently kept closed, the freezer returned to normal, and it's worked ever since.  But we already know that once it stops working, it's probably a goner.  Anyone blame me for not wanting to deal with that company ever again?
So on to this month's customer service story.  We bought a Tempurpedic mattress and box spring from Sleep Train in 2006.  I find it too warm during the night, but what I really disliked was how it rippled where we slept.  I mentioned this to a sales rep in June at the county fair, and he printed out my information/receipt and said to call them because it's under a 10-year warranty.  I put it off and let it slide to the bottom of the to-do list for 3 months, but finally called the company.   I said I needed someone to come and take a look at it and explained why.  The guy had me write down the names of 5 mattresses, said to go to Sleep Train, roll around on those, and call again after we decided which one we like (they no longer make our original one).  He said they would then start the claim process and I'd be asked to take a couple of pictures of the mattress where it rippled and send that along with a copy of the receipt--via email, if I preferred.  I questioned him about them coming out and his reply was, "You paid a lot for this mattress, and we want our customers to be completely happy with them.  We trust you when you say there's a problem."  Huh?  No third degree?  No one coming to show us where in the fine print it says our problem isn't covered?  Oh no, that was my mother's long-term care insurance claim recently....
So we did all that--the guy at Sleep Train was excellent.  Even though he knew he wouldn't be making a sale that day, he spent lots of time showing us each one and asking me what I don't like about the one I have--too warm and hate that sheets don't fit because the mattress is short--and he directed us to one where those problems are eliminated.  He's at the San Mateo store on El Camino near 17th Ave if you need a mattress--his name is Greg and he's from Trinidad.
Still, I wasn't a 100% believer.  I sent the pictures and receipt copy to the email address on a Sunday.  I got my automated response that it was received and would take 2 business days to process.  Yesterday, Wednesday, I got another automated email saying they'd reviewed our claim and to expect a call in 7-14 days for the delivery of our new mattress AND box spring.
And that's what customer service can and should be!  Nice to know it still exists somewhere...

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