I’m a stickler for excellent customer service. Over the years, I’ve written about my experiences with a number of companies who I found to be lacking in managing my personal customer service complaints.
I just now noticed that all these companies start with the letter “A”. Huh.
So in the spirit of voicing complaint and remaining on the first letter of the alphabet, I’ve got a new customer service story I wish to share with you. But contrary to the previous examples, this one demonstrates how an attentive employee turned a an unhappy customer into an elated one… and landed me an unexpected surprise.
Last year, my son spent approximately $2000 for a high-end gaming PC. He bought a variety of parts and built the machine himself. Being a dedicated gamer, Zach wanted a PC that would handle the latest games without issue. His mission was accomplished.
Due to the mega processing power required to keep this PC running smoothly, Zach purchased a Kühler liquid-cooling unit from Antec Technologies.
Liquid cooling provides better performance for processors and devices that run hot.
Zach purchased the cooling fan from Best Buy, but he failed to keep the receipt.
Fast-forward about a year. Zach came to me and shared that the Kühler unit exploded inside his PC, spraying liquid all over his components. The motherboard, video card, RAM and other hardware were covered with liquid, and the PC would not function. Bummer.
First of all, this is not a common defect. Antec’s Kühler units are very reliable and it is highly unlikely that a liquid cooling unit would explode while operating.
But Zach and I agreed that Antec should be responsible to not only replace the Kühler unit, but also to replace the equipment that was destroyed by the defective component.
I suggested Zach go through proper support channels and just share his story with them.
I can understand why a company would be careful in circumstances like this. There are people who would take advantage of a company’s good will. But I knew Zach’s complaints were legitimate and I suggested he not give up until he received satisfaction.
To make a long story shorter, Zach went back and forth with Antec customer support for almost two months. They did replace the Kühler unit, but since he didn’t keep the receipt from Best Buy, they wouldn’t escalate the customer complaint to a supervisor.
Zach asked if I could leverage my social media influence to help facilitate a favorable result. I didn’t want to manipulate anyone, nor would I seek to intimidate, but I have no problem attempting to bring resolution using ethical means.
I went to LinkedIn and did a search for Antec, based in Fremont, California.
A number of results turned up, but one name in particular caught my attention. Frank Lee is General Manager for Antec, a second degree connection of mine on LinkedIn, and he seemed like the right person to make contact with.
Using InMail service (a paid service on LinkedIn), I wrote a message directly to Frank. I shared Zach’s story, the unresolved issue and asked if he would review the unique circumstances of our situation to make an informed decision.
Frank replied via email within hours and called me on my cell phone the next morning.
He explained their policy and the reason that Antec had not gone beyond replacing the part they manufacturer. Then he explained that he understood some cases require a personal touch.
Essentially, Frank said he appreciated me vouching for the validity of Zach’s complaint, and Antec proceeded to order replacement parts for the equipment that was damaged by the defective Kühler fan.
I told him I really appreciate the personal touch and Zach would receive his new parts from NewEgg just one week later.
After I thanked Frank for the excellent service, the discussion took a turn. Frank mentioned that he had researched my blog, and discovered that I did marketing and social media consulting.
He told me that marketing fell under his umbrella and shared that he felt his company could use some assistance with their social media presence. He then asked if I could help them.
As fate would have it, I was heading to the Bay area the following week for Cisco Live. So I offered the Antec team a special rate for a day consult with me.
We spent the better part of a day together and I helped provide Antec’s team with a strategy for building on their social media presence to engage their customers and grow their business. Frank and his team were thrilled with what I brought to the table and I’m watching to make sure they implement!
What’s the moral of the story? Well, there are several.
1) Persistence pays off when attempting to resolve an issue with a company. It never hurts to ask.
2) Social media is a great way to connect with people who can get things done. Sometimes it just requires going just a bit further.
3) You never know what doors can be opened up when you put yourself out there. I didn’t think my son’s customer service issue would bring me a new client.
4) I can help any company with their marketing. Yup, it’s true.
As a storyteller, for me the story I just shared with you is the icing on the cake.
What are your thoughts?