Do nothing wrong and still lose a customer

When we moved our shop earlier this year I bought a refrigerator for the employee break room. All we needed was a light-duty refrigerator for lunches, etc. Nothing fancy.

So I went to a local appliance discounter who sells overstocks and “scratch and dents”. I bought some off-brand frig (Danby)and now, 5 months later, is has gone kaput.

The store, ApplianceSmart, does not offer any warranty or repair service I am told. But the manufacturer has a one-year warranty. To make a long story short, every name given me by the manufacturer no longer does warranty work on that brand and even the local repair guy won’t touch it because he can’t get parts for that brand.

So here I am stuck with a 5 month old frig that doesn’t keep anything cold and employees who want their lunches kept cold.

I understand there is a level of risk one takes when purchasing an item from a store like this. You get what you pay for, right? What I gained in price, I lost in quality and service. I knew that going into it. It was a risk I was willing to take and it bit me in the butt.

I certainly don’t blame ApplianceSmart. They made no claim about warranty or service. Every part of this transaction with them was on the up-and-up. As far I know they are a company with integrity. In fact, my brother has purchased from them, and to my knowledge, has never had an issue.

I have been thinking about this situation and how it relates to my own company. We have had shirts with defects that we replace at no cost to the customer. I can’t imagine a situation where we would not stand behind the products we sell.

The Thread Logic business model is to earn the repeat business of our customers so when they need custom embroidered apparel again, they will come back and purchase it from us again.

I believe ApplianceSmart’s business model is to sell appliances at the lowest price possible and hope customers will come back to purchase from them again. And more power to them. They are successful company. Far be it from me to disparage their business model.

So here’s the rub. Do you think I am going to go back to ApplianceSmart and purchase a replacement refrigerator or any other kind of appliance in the future? At this moment the answer is no. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

Is that fair to ApplianceSmart? Probably not, but that’s how I feel today.

Here is a great example of a company that did nothing wrong and is probably going to lose a customer anyway and in the process tell hundreds of other people about a bad experience.

I am curious about what you think. What would you do? Did you have a similar experience? How does your company handle these situations? I welcome your comments.

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2 Responses to Do nothing wrong and still lose a customer

  1. Julie says:

    I always prefer doing business with companies that have integrity and treat everyone with respect. I once went to a car dealership, ready to pay cash for a new car. The salesmen all ignored me in favor of the men who were looking at cars. I waited. When someone finally figured that they’d better pay attention or I’d never leave, he treated me with such disdain and condescension, I just walked off the lot. I drove 30 miles to another dealership whose salesperson treated me like gold. I bought my car there and recommended them to everyone.

    Most people I know feel the same way. Good service ALWAYS matters.

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