The past few weeks I have been dealing with a poor customer service situation.  Here is the condensed (and slightly funnier) version of the sequence of events (skipping over negative stuff, because I'm over it):

Me: hey darn it my sewing machine is broken! 

Me to lady in the sewing machine department: So the needle won't go up and down, but when I depress the pedal the motor runs, what would you recommend?

Lady to me: We don't repair sewing machines here, but generally when we send them out for just a cleaning/tuneup the base cost is $100.

Me (after the shock wore off): Well, my machine was purchased for not much higher than that, so at this point I don't want to go that route, thank you!
Photo of sleeping cat
Mr. M says "wake me when it's over!"
Me at home later that day: Think I'll take it apart and see if I can be like Tim the Toolman Taylor to fix the problem - what's the worst that could happen?  It's already broken, and maybe I'll learn a thing or two about my machine (or myself?) in the process!

*let the dismantling begin*

Me (to husband): Hmm it's all apart, but the needle is still not going up and down even though the motor is running when I depress the pedal.

Husband: Hey look, the gear that turns the pulley has a crack in it, which would cause the needle not to go up and down!

Me: *happy dance* oh husband, you have a good eye (clearly!)

Husband: Let me use my ninja skills on the onlinez and see if I can find this part for sale anywhere.

**time passes**

Husband on September 23: Found it!  Ordered it! 

Me: *happy dance*

[Fast forward through a whole bunch of paragraphs that I just deleted from this post, because I don't want to dwell on negatives!  The gist: I did not get my order.  Moving on...]

Earlier this week I called the manufacturer of my machine.  Here's how that went:

Call #1:

Me (Tuesday of this week): *humming along to the hold music on my ride home from work*  40 minute car ride, 13 calls ahead of mine, and their office is going to close at 5pm my time - this will go well *looks at clock - it is anywhere from 4:30 - 5:00. 

Hold Music message lady: Our offices are currently closed.  Please call back during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 8am to whatevero'clock pm.

Call #2:

Me (Wednesday morning of this week): *dialing*  "Thank you for calling, there are 0 calls ahead of you" *hum along to hold music for a bi*

Customer service lady: How can I help you?

Me: Well I need this part for my machine (I'm sure I said some other stuff too  like what was broken about the machine, etc)

Customer service lady:  I'm sorry, but we don't sell parts here directly.  Can I have your zip code to find the nearest parts warehouse to you?

Me: Sure (and gave her my zip)

Customer service lady: Oh that is in [town/state], and their phone number is [whatever the phone # was]

Me: thank you for the information, I'll give them a call!

Call #3:

Me: Hello, here's what's happening with my model number.  [insert story here!]... do you know the name of the part I need, do you have it in stock, and is there a walk I can order it from you?

Customer service lady: Oh yes, that's the [whatever the part name is].  We have them in stock.

Me: Really?  It's that simple?  You have them, I can purchase them, and then they will magically ship to me?

Customer service lady: Yes!  (she was very extremely nice and helpful too) [we hung up after I placed my order]

Placed my order for the parts.  My fingers are crossed that they will be in my mailbox soon (or at least shipping out "next Wednesday")!  This phone number is a keeper - imagine having an easy, customer friendly, nearby parts supplier for my sewing machine now and in the future?!  That's magical! 

Here's what I learned:
- Bad customer service is very frustrating
- I will always have open lines of communications with my customers - for example, I will tell them when their order ships, how long their order will take to make, I will give them the tracking number, and I will leave them feedback once they receive their item.
- I am a firm believer in good customer service - we've all been customers, and know how frustrating it is when you think no one is listening to your dilemma or that no one wants to help get it resolved.
- The lady who helped me at the parts warehouse really deserves recognition.  Even though she was just doing her job, dealing with her made me hopeful in the world again that not everyone is out to rip people off, like the original guy at the other company.  She was the bright spot in my day, and I felt relieved from the conversation I had with her.  Thank you parts supplier phone lady!  Gold star for you!

And that is my story from the past couple weeks.  Phew!
Photo of cat wearing bandana
The above customer service experience makes Mr. M a happy camper (as does his dapper Thanksgiving bandana!)
10/14/2012 03:05:14 am

I sooo agree with you about good customer service.
If at all possible, can you get the name of the person who DID help you at the parts warehouse and write (not email...but a written LETTER...what a concept! lol) her supervisor letting them know of a job well done. That is what I try to do.....

10/14/2012 06:28:35 am

That's a good idea, Caren! At one of my jobs years ago I remember how nice it was to receive a physical letter of thanks, instead of just an email! I'll definitely look into that for the lady who helped me. Thanks for the idea!

10/14/2012 04:17:59 am

I'm sorry you had to go through all of that, but I'm glad it worked out in the end. I completely agree with you about the importance of customer service. Sometimes things happen with businesses and things go wrong - that's just life - but there's no excuse for poor customer service to go along with it. Of course, good customer service will make me a very loyal customer.

10/14/2012 06:30:52 am

Thanks Ariella! Agreed - if I know a place has good customer service it will definitely make me return in the future. My hopes are high that the parts will be in-hand to me by the end of this week, at which time my sewing machine can finally be reassembled and moved off of the kitchen table (oops!)


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