Have you ever given up on a vendor or supplier because of a bad experience with their customer support, but they later came through and redeemed themselves? Here's an instance of that very thing happening.
A while back, I wrote a blog piece about customer service called "Customer Service Isn't Just One Thing, It's the Only Thing," and I described three companies that each scored differently for me. On the good end of the scale, I described my experiences with one company, Indra's Net, that's provided outstanding customer support for me, and I actually recommended their services (something I've never done before). On the other end of the scale, I described my experiences with another company, ViewSonic, that actually led me to remove them from my list of acceptable suppliers for my monitors, and it was all because of a bad customer support experience.
At the time, I described my experience like this:
I used to buy nothing but ViewSonic monitors. For years I'd come to rely on the great quality of the product, and regardless of price, I'd always select the ViewSonic model of the day that provided the best bang for my buck. Whenever I did have a CRT monitor fail, which wasn't very often, ViewSonic Customer service was always quick, friendly, and accommodating to repair or replace the defective unit.
Fast forward to the day of the LCD monitor, and I naturally stuck with my preferred brand. But unlike their CRT predecessor, I seemed to have a very high failure rate with their LCD screens. They did carry a three-year warranty, but I had some instances in which I'd send the same monitor back three or four times. I even went so far as to request (later demand) a different model. Only once did they agree to accommodate that request. It almost became a joke around the office, because I was sending so many monitors back for warranty repair. And when the telephone hold time with their customer service started to be measured in hours rather than minutes, and when letters of complaint fell upon deaf ears ........ well, I'm sure gonna' miss that neat-looking Toucan logo.
I must say, I wasn't expecting what happened as a result of that piece.
A few weeks after that blog was posted, I received a phone call from a representative at ViewSonic asking me to elaborate on what I experienced. I went into more detail describing how I thought this one particular model was a lemon and how it wasn't as reliable as I've come to expect from ViewSonic. I further explained the series of events that led me to my conclusion to simply give up on that company. This ViewSonic representative was very nice, extremely professional, and was genuinely willing to make things right with me.
Although I'm not a huge customer, one who might buy hundreds of monitors a year, I'm not a one-time customer either. As such, I was pretty impressed with the solution this person suggested. He offered to replace all of those particular models of monitors (about eight of them) with a similar, but different model, and he even gave me a couple of options from which to choose. Moreover, he was also quite interested in hearing about the delays in phone support and such, and I got the distinct impression that they would pay heed to the feedback I provided.
Anyway, I thought I should post an update telling folks who read my blog that ViewSonic is back on my list. Having said that, I think I should add this as a disclosure: the monitor replacement offer was not, in any way, conditional or contingent on me writing this update. In fact, the subject never even came up, which further led me to believe that it was a genuine attempt to satisfy a small, but long-standing customer.
I suppose all companies experience problems from time to time, and ViewSonic is no different. I think this is an illustration of the following notion: it's not just the fact that a problem arises that defines a company but rather how they deal with the problem and solve it to the customer's satisfaction that's the real measure. I must say that this one was certainly handled in the best way possible.
Kudos to ViewSonic — and especially to that particular representative who resolved my issue. I guess in the future I'll be seeing more of that neat-looking Toucan logo after all.
What about you? Have you had any similar experiences?