Customer Service… and not.

I have had two very different experiences with Customer Service this week which I would like to share.

Sometimes a product breaks, and it is nobody’s fault. When this happens, and especially when then product is a recent purchase, it is the company’s responsibility to fix or replace it for you. However most companies are not responsible for physical damage – say, a computer falls on the floor and breaks. You might buy accidental damage coverage sometimes, but absent that, when something breaks and it is your fault (or your kid’s or dog’s fault) then you pay to fix or replace it.

A  month ago I wrote about my Jaybird Vista earbuds, which I have been extremely pleased with (see article). I wear them every day when I am walking my dog, as well as when I am grocery shopping, and many other times. When in the grocery store, I will take them out of my ears when I get to the cash register. So the other day, when I came home from the store and realized I was missing one of the ear buds, I immediately called the store and asked them to look for them near the cash register, but they could not find them. I went back to the store later in the afternoon to check again, but it was not in the Lost and Found.

BudI decided to take a look around the parking lot. After all, I knew where I had parked. I was not worried that it had rained, because the earbuds are waterproof.  It took me a few minutes to find it… and a couple more to have the confidence that this was indeed my earbud.

The good news is that I found it. The bad news is that it had obviously gotten into a fight with the underside of an automobile’s tire… or thirty of them.

This was, as the picture will confirm, an ex-earbud.

I got home and decided that I was going to try to replace it. This was the first step, before deciding I would have to replace them.

I looked on their website, and indeed you can purchase a single replacement earbud… for $69.99 you can buy a single earbud. That is certainly better than paying $169.99 to replace the set, right? I decided to see what it would cost on ebay.com, and sure enough you can get them for $45. Okay, we are getting better.

I decided, before pulling the trigger, to call Jaybirds support. I had a great chat with their agent when my old earbuds weren’t working, and I decided it was worth seeing if they could do anything for me. Once again, I had an amazing conversation with the agent… but I did not expect her to say ‘You know, they are usually $69.99, but let me send you one for free.’ And yet, that is exactly what she did.

Let me be clear: I did not say ‘Hey, I’m a technology blogger who recently wrote a great article about your products.’ I was just a guy on the phone.

That is incredible customer service.

Delivery companies do not sell a product, they sell a service. They sell reliability. When something needs to get there fast, they sell speed. So when my new client needed me to get a corporate laptop fast, they paid a lot of extra money for the UPS Next Day Air ® service, with guaranteed delivery by 10:30am the following morning.

I had a 7:00am meeting with my team, so I was out of bed at 5:15am, took Princess Sophie for a walk, and I was at my computer with Microsoft Teams fired up at 6:55am. Following the meeting I went to the kitchen to prepare a breakfast shake and my last cup of coffee, and sat down at my desk at 8:05am… and did not leave my desk for any reason after that. I had the ‘track my delivery’ site open as I did my work, and would, from time to time, click ‘refresh’ to see if anything changed. When at 10:34am my phone chirped with a UPS Delivery Exception notice I was surprised. I refreshed the site, which now read ‘Sorry we missed you.’

I called the company and they assured me they had tried to deliver the package. I told the agent that I was sitting at my desk ten feet from the door, with a view of the path to my door out my window, and with a dog that barks when anyone comes to the door the whole morning. ‘No, I’m pretty sure we tried to deliver it.’ Also ‘No, we do not have a supervisor you can speak to, they are all busy with other calls.’

I finally got someone local to call me, and he told me that he would reach out to the driver. When he called back, he told me that the driver claims that they have an outdated gate code, and could not get into the building. There is no gate, there is no code!

I told the agent, who was working hard to help me get my package, that I was not upset with him, and that I know that he is just the guy on the phone trying to help… but when the company you represent acts dishonestly, the call agents are going to bear the brunt of it.

He told me that the driver would go out of his way to try to deliver my package today, maybe between 12-2pm. He did not understand that I am frustrated because all of the maybes mean that I cannot leave the house to even walk my dog until the driver comes… or doesn’t.

The stark contrast in customer service between the two companies is incredible. Jaybird owes me nothing, and yet jumped through hoops to make me happy. UPS owes me delivery before 10:30am, and after they neglected to do that they made every excuse in the world, told me it was my fault, and eventually grudgingly said they would try to deliver it by the end of the day, and if not I’ll get it Monday.

It does not take a lot to make me happy, and mistakes happen. Covering up mistakes with lies and misdirection is one sure way to make sure I will be a very unhappy customer… and when you have that, make sure that the customer does not have a reasonably popular blog on which he occasionally airs his grievances!

Have a great weekend… and thanks Jaybird! You guys rock!

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