My Roku Soundbridge
Well, I finally got it and was really stoked. http://www.rokulabs.com/products/soundbridge/index.php and everything. Except that, after turning it on, it's a safe bet I got a defective unit. They have like 10 trillion warnings about not plugging it in unless the caps are on the end - so I was extra careful to make sure that I did exactly as I was told. Then, I plug it in and instead of the welcome message, I got a bunch of gobblidegook and something that looks like a C:> prompt - but I can't be sure. So I try to contact the company. Guess what, they don't have a telephone for customer support - not even if you're willing to pay. I had it shipped overnight (about $30.00), took it out of the box, can't even get to step 1 of the setup and then if I want to return it, either for a replacement or credit - I have to pay for shipping. Actually the response was “You can take that up with accounting”. So either way, I'm paying for shipping up front, I may get a refund on it but who knows.
I was really impressed with these things so whereas I'd normally have been a bit pissed off by now - I still want the thing. But folks, it's 2005. Telephones really aren't that expensive. And if you piss off your customers - well, then you won't have them for long. I was a customer for 20 minutes before they really pissed me off. More than anything I think what's irritating is talking to people that just really can't answer anything - at all. The girl on the other line actually reads me an email address over the phone and says “You can try them”. Ok, how long could it possible take someone to determine if the behavior I'm seeing is a defect or not? 20 seconds? Maybe a minute. The time it took me to compose an email to them took longer than it will for them to answer my question. Then she tells me to write this refund number on the outside of the box. In any particular place? Or maybe attach it inside. No, just write it wherever you want. So I'm like - look, I understand this stuff happens, but it will take someone all of 10 seconds to say “Yep, that's defective”. If it's defective then considering I flipped the bill for overnight shipping - the least they could do is pick up the return shipping. But again, i can type up an email, after i send the thing back, and take it up with someone in accounting. I mean, how hard is it to say this “Our policy is that if it's broken, we'll pick up the shipping, but if it's a problem on your end, you have to pay for it.” She didn't know this and couldn't find it out. Did she tell me how I can get a hold of the Accounting deparment? Nope. Since they have my email and phone number, could she have someone contact me and answer either of my questions? Nope.
Somehow I know this was just the result of some clerk who was probably new and wasn't hired for her commitment to customer care. Roku looks pretty cutting edge and appear to put a lot of money into marketing. So i'm really hoping that this is just some fluke. However I still haven't recieved an email back, from customer support or the dude who's email she gave me over the phone. It's a lot easier to tell a company to go take a hike when there are like a lot of competitors and you don't really care about their product.
Now here's the part that kills me. Does anyone doubt that if I send a bunch of nasty emails saying I'm totally pissed off and all that crap, and that I'll never buy anything from them again blah blah blah - that they'll pick up the shipping and 'fix' it. Of course they will. So why waste the money having some person in accounting talk to me on the phone and waste a bunch of time getting approvals, after the fact? Why not just do whatever you're going to do up front? I mean seriously, if you're that hard up that sticking customers with return shipping fees is going to make you rich - then you have real problems. That's obviously not the case here. But why in the heck is that some companies will go to the end of the world to fix a problem once you're pissed off, but don't really seem to have much interest in nipping the problem in the bud?
TigerDirect is the ultimate example of this. The pissed me off more than any company ever has. I hated them almost as much as the people that spam my blog. So I sent them an email saying basically that I'd never buy anything from them - along with the emails I got from their 'support' people. The next morning I had a manager, call me at work, apologizing up and down telling me he'll do everything possible to fix this. The dude sounded like he was trembling. So I told him that I wasn't mad any more - but if he wants to make it right, just see to it that other people don't go through what I did. I didn't want money, a refund, nothing, just fix the problem. So the guy says, he'll see what he can do. He calls me back 10 minutes later and credited my account for the cost of shipping which was around $40.00. Then I got an apology letter and all sorts of other stuff. Now, I think the way they handled it after the fact was totally cool - I have no gripes with them. But what in the hell people thinking. You know damn good and well that appeasing a pissed off customer is going to ALWAYS cost more than just not pissing them off. So why go through the charade? Why? Aren't you supposed to like “make” money in business? Why pay a higher paid manager to talk for 30 minutes with a customer when you could just train your new people a little better and be done with it.
Oh well, hopefully they'll be able to answer my question - to which I already know the answer - “Yes, it's defective” and we can be done with all of this.