introverte (introverte) wrote,

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Good and bad customer service

Our oven is a problem oven. It is eight years old this month, and has had a minimum of five service calls on it, one of them within a week of installation. For the past year, approximately, it's been having intermittent problems where the electronic control panel effectively crashes, and needs to be rebooted by being shut off at the breaker. We've put up with this, I guess out of lethargy. For the past three weeks, it has not been able to recover from rebooting; it crashes immediately on being restarted. This is a completely unacceptable state.

All of our service has been handled by the distributor we bought it from, Jarvis Appliance. They have been unfailingly polite, fairly prompt, and full of good advice throughout our relationship with them. Today, I stopped by their store to get a copy of our service records as ammunition in a phone call with Thermador's customer service. I was assisted by a lovely woman who I suspect is a part-owner, since "Jarvis" is part of her name. She must have spent half an hour with me, painstakingly going through the computer records and writing them down for me. She gave a bunch of tips on dealing with Thermador, and helped me schedule a service call, squeezing me in for this afternoon. So, yay for Jarvis. They've earned our business.

When I got home I called Thermador customer support, and read them the litany of problems with this oven. The part that is [probably] causing the current problem has already been replaced -- twice. The very polite phone service employee who spoke to me was very apologetic, but all they can do for me is offer a 25% discount if I buy the new part directly from them. This is customer service? This oven has never worked right, it's had serial breakdowns of the same part, which leads one to conclude that there is a major design flaw with it. But as we know, phone customer service people are really just trained to say no politely.

We're fixing it this time, mostly because I can't afford to be without an oven before shavuot, and replacing it will be a huge expenditure of time and money. But next time it breaks, which I suspect won't be long, we're replacing it.

And not with another Thermador.

An Update:

There is a difference in treatment between an insider and a member of the public. The Jarvis service guy was here, and called up Thermador's tech support to confer about the problem. They agreed it was the third-time-failing part, plus some contributing factors. Then the tech support guy forwarded the Jarvis guy to customer support (I'm suspecting Tier II customer support) who agreed that Thermador would pay for all the parts.

Am I happy? Well, I'm glad I don't have to pay $300 + out of pocket. But the fact that Jarvis guy got satisfaction just illustrates my point: Thermador's (Tier I?) customer service's job is to say no. Politely.

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