Retail Observer

May 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 63 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM MAY 2021 64 I 'm happy to say that I have a really good story to tell, to show everyone that I am not a grumpy old man just sitting here taking shots at some service businesses I have dealt with recently. It has taken a while, but I found a small service company that used communication technology in a way I'd never experienced and I hope I'll have a chance to experience again soon. The broken item was my 20-year-old treadmill. To be truthful, the treadmill didn't wear out from use but the opposite. I checked the manufacturer's website and learned that the company that made the treadmill had gone out of business 10+ years ago. Things weren't looking good for getting the thing fixed. I looked further and found a note indicating a parts supply house had received spare parts for my treadmill a decade ago. Now I had to call the supply house and cross my fingers that they might know of someone who could fix my old machine. They were extremely helpful and strongly recommended a local business in the Chicago area that fixed older treadmills. The parts house knew this because they still supplied the company with parts for older machines. So far, I was pleasantly surprised. When I called the local service company with my fingers crossed, a message told me to go to the company's website which directed me to send them an email request. I might add that the recorded message indicated they were very busy and the actual service time might be delayed. Surprisingly, they responded to my email that night and asked for the model number, my address, and what was wrong. Within an hour I got an email giving the price of a service call in my area, including an hour of repair time. At this point I still hadn't spoken to anyone, but I was starting to feel much better about the odds of getting this relic fixed even though it might take a while. The next morning, I got my first call from the owner of the business. He asked if I wanted to him to schedule a service call, and of course I said yes. Remarkably, he said he could be out in two days! Of course, I expressed amazement that he could come out so fast. He told me that he considered three days a delayed response time. I kindly suggested that he might give a more accurate description on his answering machine of what a delay would mean to a customer. He said he would be out on Thursday morning and that he'd call when he was en route. And that is exactly what he did. He got to my house well within the time window and asked if we had any spare parts that came with the machine. We said yes and got them out. This was the owner, and he ran a two-man service operation and had been doing it for over 25 years. Within 45 minutes he'd gotten a spare part from my wife, who of course had saved everything that came with the machine, and fixed my old treadmill. Then he used his phone to process payment, gave me a receipt, and was on to the next call. That evening he sent me a survey and asked me to rate his service work – and of course I gave him high marks. The moral of the story is that in this case the manufacturer supported their product even after they closed their doors, a parts supply house supported their service parts customers, and the small, highly specialized service company ran a very efficient business using the tools and technology on hand to serve their customers in a professional way. The owner couldn't spend time in the office during the workday to handle calls in person, but he was dedicated to staying in touch with the tools that he had available. The only downside is that now I have a working treadmill! S E R V I C E D E P A R T M E N T Don Pierson, Certified Service Center (CSC) RO SERVICE TECHNOLOGY DOES WORK!

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