A mostly good customer service experience

We have had an interesting, and, perhaps surprisingly, mostly pleasant encounter with customer service over the past week or so. That doesn’t seem to happen very often so it’s worth a mention.

In the fall of 2006, we purchased a 55” Sony DLP projection HD TV. The truth to be told, I felt very guilty about it at the time, but that wore off after watching a few football games in HD. When we bought it, we also purchased an extended warranty, something we almost never do. However, the sales guy pointed our that there is one part in the tv, the projection lamp, that burns out after between three and four years. The cost of the warranty would be about the same as the cost of the projection lamp, plus you get the additional protection for four years.

As expected, about two weeks ago, at three and a half years of age, we started getting a warning message that the projection lamp needed to be replaced. Mrs. Poolman called the store where we bought it, “BB,” and after a few handoffs got to the person who could solve the problem. Even though we couldn’t find our warranty papers, we were in the computer system and the woman told Mrs. P they would ship the lamp the same day and it would arrive later in the week. The rest of the conversation went something like this.

Mrs. P: “You are shipping it to the store. Right?”

Customer Service: “No, we are shipping it to your house.”

Mrs. P: “Well, what are we supposed to do with it?”

Customer Service (in a voice like she was talking to a moron): “Well, you install it, you stupid twit.”

Mrs. P: “Oh. Is that something we can do.”

Customer Service: “Yes. I can’t believe you are smart enough to have actually dialed a phone.”

As it turns out, the projector lamp came with a set of directions, and installing it is about as easy as changing an ink cartridge in a printer. How difficult would it have been for the CS rep to have simply said, “Yes, actually it’s real simple. There are directions in the package. You shouldn’t have any problem, but if you do here is a number to call.”

That did raise an interesting question. If you didn’t know that, how would you know? Repairing HD TVs is not usually something we do every day.  I got to thinking about it.

An old style TV – Never ever open it up unless you know what you are doing.

New projector HDTV – The key part is user accessible and easy to replace.

A standard desk top computer – Sure, open it up and change out memory, drives, etc. No problem.

Laptop computer – Probably not a good idea.

And so on.

Meanwhile, when we turned on the TV, we saw that there was a problem with the picture. There were bars of color at the top and bottom of the screen. Another call to customer service produced a repair guy visiting our home, still under warranty.

Fortunately, the guy took one look at the TV and said, “Yep, I know exactly what that is. You need a new optic block (whatever that is). I’ll order one and come back to install it when it gets in next week. And oh yes, it’s still under warranty. By the way, when I get done with that you are going to practically have a new TV. It’s going to look great.”

The guy comes back to complete the repair on Friday.

So the process isn’t complete, but so far, except for the somewhat condescending customer service rep, this has worked out well. We certainly got our money out of that extended warranty.

I almost feel a little guilty.

I think I’ll get over it. Football season is just a few months away.

3 responses to “A mostly good customer service experience

  1. Glad things worked out.


  2. I work in a very customer service oriented business. I love it. Some people are cut out for it. Some aren’t. I approach every conversation with a customer, every procedure I write, with the attitude, what if I knew nothing about this? How would I want it explained to me. It seems to work well. I also have coworkers who have the “Duh, why are you wasting my time?” attitude. I don’t know where it gets them except to pass off their frustrated customer to another employee who makes it all better and gets positive recognition for making a happy customer.

    Glad to hear your t.v. is on its way to good-as-new.

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