Because of the work I do, I am always observing how businesses operate and identifying things I like and things I don’t like so much. Some of you may know that I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge where we commit to blogging regularly for 30 days and they provide support and encouragement and ideas in case we are feeling a little stuck about what to share today.
I’m not usually at a loss for words but I still appreciate seeing things I maybe wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Today’s suggestion was to blog about what I would do differently if I were a specific brand. What a great opportunity since I just had an experience with a major brand that I didn’t love. That brand is Microsoft.
A couple of days ago, my daughter asked to head over to the Mall of America to spend a little money she had. While there, I decided to pick up a small netbook for my business. They are very inexpensive and would fit nicely in my purse, allowing me to do a little higher level of work than I can do on my phone when I have a some down time between meetings. I have had three good months of income and thought it was a great little investment and reward for a lot hard work through my re-branding and everything.
I couldn’t wait to get home and get it all set up and was brainstorming all the things I could use it for instead of struggling with my smart phone or hauling my heavy laptop around. I started undressing it from all the stickers and wrapping and, as I removed the protective sticker around the keyboard, one of the keys popped off. Major let down…It was late and I needed to wait until morning to take care of it.
The next morning I called the Microsoft store and shared what had happened and the employee who answered the phone told me it was no problem…no big deal. Just come back to the store, go to the Answers counter, and they will either fix it or exchange the netbook for a new one. Wow, that was easy and I was relieved that the solution was just around the corner. I just needed to drive the 50+ miles back to the mall which I did later that day.
I arrived at the mall, went up to the Answers counter and waited 10 minutes before anyone even acknowledged me. I know the two employees behind the counter were with other customers AND I was always taught to let a new customer know that you see them and that you will be with them shortly. Not even a glance in my direction.
When I finally did have someone offer to help me, I explained what happened, relayed the phone call I had, and was told by this employee that it sounded like user error and so unless I wanted to spend $90 on their extended warranty, I was out of luck. WOW. They proceeded to have this weird interaction of what would the manufacturer do (not fix it), how nice the netbook was, how worth it their $90 plan was (did I mention $90???), etc. Then he told me they just wanted to find a solution that would work for both of us and how could they make me happy to which I replied, “I’m just asking you to honor what your employee told me on the phone.” They said no because she was wrong to have said that.
They then offered to replace the keyboard for me if I was willing to leave it there and pay (guess what???) $90, apparently also the cost of a new keyboard.
Here’s what I would do differently:
- Not set up shop directly across from my competition and use their same layout and business model. This did not go unnoticed the first time I was in there and, although I didn’t like the feeling it created for me, I ignored it. Mistake #1.
- Train my employees better in how to handle customers arriving at the store.
- Honor what my employees tell a customer, even if it wasn’t the right thing for them to say.
- Not try to upsell a $90 item on a part that costs $4.95 (yep, I found the replacement part online even though they told me it couldn’t be purchased that way).
Now my little disclaimer…I didn’t actually care that they wouldn’t fix it. One could argue that it was user error. I only cared about my wasted drive (and gas money LOL) and the fact that they would not honor a commitment their employee had made to me. I was so impressed with their customer service on the phone. Too bad it didn’t match up in person.
The good news is, the part is on it’s way and I’ll be checking the mail every day until it arrives.