With the United States firmly entrenched in the post-industrial stage of socio-economic evolution, companies must place a greater emphasis on service offerings and customer service in general. Here are two good examples of what they shouldn’t do, unless their goals are to alienate customers and garner negative feedback and publicity.
Arpin Van Lines Loses Urns and Customers
When my father passed away last year, we inherited a house full of belongings in Arizona to deal with. Some of it went to Good Will, but the rest of it needed to come home to Michigan with us for dissemination to family members and for sale. Since the collection included several pottery urns (somewhat fragile) and a baby grand piano (extremely heavy), we decided to enlist professional movers.
First problem – delivery took over a month. At one point the company told me that the driver was bitten by a spider and had to be hospitalized. OK, I get that, but the company couldn’t say where the truck was, or when it might be back on the road. They rarely called me back when they said they would.
Once they did arrive, they couldn’t re-assemble the piano completely. Whoever took it apart wasn’t available, and the guys that came with the truck couldn’t figure out how to re-connect the foot pedal assembly.
As the driver and his helpers unloaded the truck, we checked off each box from a list they had as it was brought into the garage, but of course it took us several days to unpack the boxes and take a complete inventory. That’s when we discovered that the largest urn was broken in two, and two medium-sized ones were missing entirely. Also, an 8 foot aluminum step ladder was missing as well.
Other damage included a piece broken off an ornate salon chair, and the front facing was broken off a drawer of a utility cabinet. While we had boxed up the vast majority of the household items ourselves, we wanted the ‘pros’ to package the piano, the urns, and the furniture.
Things happen, I understand. Only the piano was particularly valuable, and it was completely repairable. Here’s where the company really had an opportunity to step up to the plate and demonstrate superior customer service. Instead, it took 2 months for them to review our claim. They flat out denied the claim for the missing urns, stating that we had checked off every box as it was unloaded, and none were missing. True – but they didn’t hang around for days while we unpacked those boxes in order to know anything was missing. For the missing ladder , the broken urn, and the damaged furniture, they paid a rate considerably less than the cost of repair or replacement, based on the weight of each object. Our fault for that, we could have opted for better insurance. It is interesting to note however that they paid the actual repair cost of the piano, rather than using their standard weight-based formula. Too bad… the payout on a 500 pound baby grand would have actually covered the other losses.
Gold’s Gym Treadmill Proves that Economy can be Costly
Early last year we purchased a treadmill from Walmart, a Gold’s Gym Trainer 480. It has some nice features and is afford-ably priced, so my initial review was favorable. Unfortunately, while the motor carries a 5-year warranty, the rest of the components do not, and the controller board failed less than a year later. I called the company. The original board came with only a 90 day warranty. A replacement board cost over $180.00 (including shipping), and would again only be warranted for 90 days. I explained that I really didn’t want to pay half again as much as the entire treadmill every 90 days, or even once a year. Too bad – that’s the deal and they’re sticking to it.
Fortunately I contacted Treadmill Doctor, and they sell a compatible replacement board for around $160.00 with free shipping, and it carries a 1-year warranty. Not great, but a lot better than 90 days, and I have more confidence in a product that is guaranteed to last at least a year.