Balmoral Boards, Dell & good customer service

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Its not often that I receive notably good customer service so having had two recent excellent experiences I thought I should share them.

The first was at Balmord Boards of Mosman last Sunday. I took my new snowboard there to get the edges detuned a little and having no idea what that even meant I asked the first available dude. Nathan turned out to be a pretty smart guy, happily detuning my board and explaining what he did as he went. All free of course. As I was obviously new to boarding he then explained how it should be waxed regularly, and offered the tip that there's no reason to have it done by them at $16/pop when you could do it yourself with a $10 plastic scraper and $10 of wax a season. I thought that didn't make business sense but as he explained you still gotta buy the wax. ;) And for $16 they will polish your wax job with a horse hair brush which might be useful if you're racing - which the average joe is not.

As he seemed like a real honest guy I thought I'd probe him about the exhorbitant pricing of snow apparel - I mean snow jackets & pants go from between $50 to $700 (maybe more). He explained how the waterproofing stuff worked, and that pretty much everything they sold was more than adequate for resort skiing/boarding which is what the vast majority of people do, and going the full pelt Gore-Tex and 30,000mm waterproof/breathable stuff is overkill. As he put it, in a resort you're never more than a lift ride & run away from shelter.

I didn't end up buying anything and thanked him for the helpful tips. I wish there were more retail staff like him who know their product and try to do the right thing for each customer.

The second happy experience this week was with Dell. My current Dell Vostro 1500 is the second Dell laptop I've owned, the previous being an Inspiron I bought in 2004. With both laptops I purchased their 3 year business support package which comes with Next Business Day on-site support, and Retard Insurance[tm]. I call it Retard Insurance[tm] because it basically covers anything and everything you can imagine, including coffee spills and just plain dropping the thing (not intentionally, of course). I've had to call upon their NBD support for both lappies. The Inspiron had an odd overheating video card issue which manifested when I played NBA Live 2005 as it stressed the graphics card out. After calling phone support and walking through the usual diagnostics they arranged for a contractor to be sent out the following day. Dell contracts out to Unisys and NCR in Australia so the following day a girl from Unisys arrived with shiny new graphics card, heat sink + fan. She replaced it in about half an hour and all was good.

On Wednesday night I got home and found that the Vostro would not power on. I called Dell on Thursday, and the fellow on the phone had me try to remove one of the RAM sticks (which is easy to do via a convenient panel on the bottom of the laptop - the only catch is that they expect the customer to have the right screwdrivers). That obviously wasn't going to help but I entertained the idea as I understand customer service reps always have a script they're meant to follow. Sure enough the power did not magically turn on and upon confirming that he arranged to have a contractor sent out on Friday. Today is Friday and this morning I got a call from Henry(? I've forgotten his name already :) confirming he'd be around at 3pm. He turned up almost on the dot with a spare motherboard and 2 x 2GB RAM which is the configuration of my Vostro as Dell would know via the service tag. 30 minutes later he's taken my lappy apart, replaced the motherboard and re-assembled it and its back to a fully working state.

Now there's no reason to be ecstatic about people doing their jobs but given the number of places where something like this can go wrong -- the size of the Dell organisation, their relationship with contractors, the variability in CSR and contractor quality, and the number of totally retarded customers they must deal with -- I'm pleasantly surprised that everything just works.

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This page contains a single entry by goosmurf published on July 26, 2008 1:52 AM.

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