This morning I got an email from a friend that recounts a (still ongoing) story of a failed freezer.
We arrived home Tuesday from a week away to find the “extra” freezer in the garage totally kaput…..much of the stuff inside already ruined but some still partially frozen. It’s only 4 years old and within warranty, so [we] go on line and schedule an appointment with GE service for the next day, and spend hours sorting what [food] might be savable, getting bags of ice to try and bridge the time until (you would assume) they will exchange this unit with a new one. Tech comes out the next day, announces that the compressor is fried, and that he’ll order the part and see you in a week to install.
Needless to say, the customer is not exactly happy here. What could be saved now cannot. When they elevate the problem to “Customer Care” on the phone, the answer is basically holding the line to the warranty terms which give the company the option of replacing or repairing the unit.
Aside from speculation that the response would be different if this had been a commercial unit for a large corporate customer, this story brings up some interesting issues.
Clearly the company here is well within their agreement with the customer. That is (apparently) spelled out in black and white in the warranty, all approved by the legal department. And repair of the unit is the logical economic choice for the company.
But equally clearly, the customer here is not happy with the response.
All of my protestations about how an exchange unit shipped from their warehouse in Kent today would allow my wife to save her food falls on deaf ears. Not even a transfer to a “supervisor” for exception resolution could be arranged. If you don’t like it, tough luck..not buy another GE product? “hey, your choice” hard to believe!
And a customer with a technical problem has likely been turned into a customer for the competition.
So here is the question.
“Is this a problem?”
And when I say “problem” I mean, is this a “problem” from the standpoint of the company’s internal process?
I have my thoughts, and I’ll share them in a day or so. But I’d like to hear what you think.