Friday, July 14

Comparing Customer Service: A Tale of Two Experiences

About four months ago, we bought a Whirlpool range from RC Willey. After a few weeks of use, the oven's computer board inexplicably rendered the oven inoperable. No big deal. These things happen, and it's under warranty.

Except, Whirlpool currently has a parts issue. The technicians could not get the needed parts, and Whirlpool was unable to provide an estimate of when these parts would be available. So we cooked on the stovetop and used a slow cooker for a few days. Then it became a few weeks.

After a month, with no foreseeable repair in the future, my wife decided to call RC Willey. She didn't expect a solution but wanted them to know about the issues related to selling Whirlpool products. RC Willey wouldn't have it. They immediately sent out a new range so we wouldn't have to wait anymore. 

Wow. That's customer service. And this is why we shop at RC Willey. 

Earlier this year, I was introduced to Pixellot, which focuses on AI-automatic video and analytics for sports. As a high school softball coach, I was interested in capturing player performance during games. 

Pixellot talks a good game. Even though their AI sports camera is not available for softball, they said they could set me up with a stationary camera solution with multiple angles and their VidSwap application. 

It was a pricey proposition with a three-year lease, but I decided to give it a go — even when they told me the analytics portion was not included in the camera lease. No big deal. I was already sold that this could somehow be better than a GoPro. It wasn't. 

For two months during the high school season, I lugged three heavy suitcases and two tripods to the fields. The setup of two angles took about 20 minutes (not five minutes, as I was told), plus an additional 20 to 30 minutes for the system to boot up and establish a connection (when it established a connection). On two occasions, the cheap plastic mounts that connected heavy metal cameras to heavy metal extension arms broke. The wind took the system out twice, one time blowing the tightly clamped arm clean off the fence and another time knocking over a tripod. 

Their software lacked too. It required me to strip my iPad of most other apps and content (to free up space for the footage), which would then be uploaded to the VidSwap platform. Overall, the capture-transfer success rate was about 20 percent with one angle and 0 percent with two angles. 

The first time I decided to leave Pixelott behind and film a game using my GoPro (and extended battery pack), it was a relief. I knew I would never unpack the Pixelott equipment again. I zip-tied the suitcases.

While Pixelott wouldn't hold me to the lease beyond the first year (I was still in the trial phase when I canceled), they weren't interested in extending any refunds on the unused analytics portion of the contract. I didn't expect it, but their explanation lacked. When I purchased the analytics, they charged me as an individual. But when considering the refund, they claimed the purchase belonged to my school. It also took a month to receive refund labels, which didn't correspond to the equipment I had to send back.

Wow. That's not customer service. And this is why I have nothing good to say about Pixellot. 

As owners and managers, we must always remember that customer service is a choice that directly corresponds to the choices that customers make in the future. More than that, it directly corresponds to what we tell other customers, too, and the overall reputation and brand of the company. Choose wisely. 


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