I Will See What I Can Do

Posted on June 5, 2014

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likeIt’s amazing how some businesses still don’t get Customer Service. Yet, it’s a delight when superb Customer Services is experienced. The latter shone bright at our home this past month.

It was more than frustrating when we learned our home’s A/C unit had died. Somehow, after only eight years in operation, our A/C needed major repairs. The manufacturer was willing to replace the still-under-warranty part but the labor costs, along with the possible additional costs needed, mandated we consider replacing the unit.

I had experienced good service from our heating & air vendor for the past 8 years. Therefore, they were the first I called when the temperature in our home was matching the warming temperatures outside. They found the problem but delivered the news we did not want to hear—“Replace it.”

While taking a few days to contemplate the unwelcome news, I made a trip to Lowe’s and discovered the home improvement store partnered with Reliable Heating & Air. I spoke with the representative at the store and within in an hour had an appointment set with a Reliable salesperson. Tim McWaters came to our home on Thursday morning. Within 30 hours the welcomed cold air was flowing again. However, it’s what happened in the first few hours following the sales call that so well demonstrated what true Customer Service looks like.

Sitting in our kitchen, I stopped Tim halfway through his sales presentation. “I’ve made my decision.” With Lowe’s financing offer, my due diligence and Reliable’s quoted cost of replacing the unit I did not need to be sold. I did have one request, however. “Will you please check with the manufacturer to see if we can get a discount on the unit since they would have replaced a part under warranty if we had chosen the option to repair?” I told Tim it wouldn’t make any difference in my decision—I was agreeing to sign the contract with Reliable—but I would appreciate any help I could get in trying to recover some of the cost from the manufacturer.

I’ve Never Heard of Doing That…

I had asked the same question of the first vendor who responded with “I’ve never heard of doing that. They won’t do it.” When I asked this question of Tim, his response was similar with one slight, but significant, difference. “I’ve never heard of an A/C manufacturer doing that,” he said. Then he added these words, “But, I will see what I can do.”

Think about it. I had already agreed to the purchase. The negotiations were over. I was simply looking for a way to recover some of the cost of an A/C unit that had croaked well before its anticipated lifespan. Tim had nothing to gain by asking for the discount from the manufacturer. His success as a salesman was not dependent on any further negotiations with the manufacturer. His mission was already complete, yet “I will see what I can do.”

My cell phone rang a couple of hours later. The manufacturer had agreed to reduce the cost $200. “I’ll see what I can do” had morphed into “Mr. Bruce, your cost is reduced by $200.”

True Customer Service is Not a Commodity

Dan & Dan of Reliable at someone else's home.

Dan & Dan of Reliable at someone else’s home.

The A/C unit is, and even the installation can be, a commodity. Service—true Customer Service—is not. Superb Customer Service is more than an advertising slogan, it is action. Authentic Customer Service is not simply about sales, it’s about meeting the needs of the customer. It means stepping outside the usual. It is defined by proactive effort, whether or not there is any further potential for personal gain.

I finish this blog in the comfort of my air-conditioned home, thankful for Tim McWaters  following through on “I will see what I can do.”

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