quality customer service

20Oct04

i’ve been meaning to write about good customer service experiences for a while. today i had a great, which reminded me i should really write about a few of ’em.

The first positive experience began 18 months ago, when Shure decided they were going to start selling their in-ear headphones to civilians, not just professional musicians. Two representatives showed up at CES with a sad booth in a far corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The booth was pitiful and their hearts were in the right place and their product was righteous. At the time they had only developed the e2c and e5c. Boy did the e5c’s sound good, in fact the guys from Shure will still attest that i was so happy jumped up and down pumping my fist when i heard bass in my ears that i had only heard from large subwoofers before.

I was nervous about buying such a costly set of headphones, especially considering my track record for destroying them or pretty much any gadget for that matter. But right about then, one of Shure’s reps, Matt, showed up in Blogosphere, helping all the gadget lovers understand what makes Shure so cool. Not only did they have great headphones, they had this guy who loved his job so much that all he wanted to do was help people feel good about Shures. He explained to us that Shure has this replacement policy that turned me into a customer for life. Basically once you buy a pair of Shure headphones, if anything happens to them, the company will replace them for a whole lot less than what you originally paid.

It took a little longer than usual, but I finally got a chance to test out Shure’s replacement policy. After a little over a year my e2c’s (I had to opt for the cheaper pair) started sounding like a cell phone from 1997. It turns out they were the why my ipod sounded so bad. so even though i replaced the ipod, playback still sounded like crap. After determining that the problem really was the headphones, i sent them back to Shure. Shure immediately turned around and sent me back a brand new pair. They must have done it within hours, seriously, Not only were they incredibly prompt replacing a product that not many companies would guarantee, but they did it for free. They didn’t even charge the replacement fee, and no i didn’t tell them I wrote for Engadget. That’s just the kind of company they are.

I’ve recommended Shure headphones to pretty much everyone I know based on their sound, now I’m recommending them to you based on their service as well. We need more companies that take in their products and don’t build disposable electronics.

yesterday my ipod really did go kaput. the past few times i’ve plugged my ipod into my laptop, it’s run a very long disk check. yesterday, instead of running a disk check, which was bad enough, the damn thing just froze. so i reset it and tried again, and yes, it froze. and this game continued to the point where eventually the ipod actually factory reset itself, erasing all my songs and settings. no matter what i tried or where i looked, i couldn’t get the ipod to sync with my computer again.

this morning i decided i need expert advice. instead of culling the internet for hours and hours, i spent about 1 minute online making an appointment at my local apple store’s genius bar in, oops, 35 minutes. i scrambled for a shower and hopped on the motorcycle, getting there a little wet, but just in time for my appointment. the dude grabs my ipod, listens to the hard drive while running a reset, and says “oh dude, your hard drive musta fried or somethin.” 10 minutes later i had a replacement in my ipod – no charge, no hassle. it was awesome. another 10 or 20 minutes syncing all the songs back to the new ipod and i was good to go.

alot of folks have said it sucks that my ipod died after only 6 months. i kinda agree, but at least replacing it was totally hassle free. it show that even if apple couldn’t provide me with a rock-solid device, at least they can provide me rock-solid service. that’s just as important. today i wrote an article about earning customer loyalty. these companies have done a great job of earning mine.

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