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A Seriously Salty Service Story

Blog: Jim Sinur

Everyone has their sad stories of poor service and I love to hear them in order to learn what doesn’t work. Also, I love to hear stories of great service, but that channel is full of the sound of crickets. Well, I have one myself. I have lived in my home for over 20 years now and it came equipped with a water softener that filters out minerals through a filter that needs to be washed out with saltwater through an automated backwash process.  The original softener broke, thanks to pre-designed obsolescence principles. This put me in the market for a new one. Then the fun began.

My neighbor recommended a saltless softener that used a special fluid to clean the filter in the backwash process. It was triple the normal price of the salt versions, but I wanted something that would last. Well, so much for that thought. It turns out that the one dealer that supplied the fluid went out of business, so I was backed into a corner. Just before I ran out of my reserve of fluid, we had a power surge related to our monster monsoon storms here in the desert. The surge knocked out the electronics and fried the unit. Back to the drawing board after a short three years.

Next, I went to a national chain to buy a sturdier salt version. The chain said that the electronics were bulletproof and that they would stand behind the unit. Guess what, 6 months down the road and another power surge knocked this unit out too. The national chain said that they didn’t sell that unit anymore, so they couldn’t or wouldn’t help. Back to the drawing board after a three-year bout with hard water.

Then I went to a competitive national chain and they had an inexpensive unit ($500) that they admitted would not survive a surge even with a GFI enabled electrical socket. They promised a seamless install and I would have to pay the installer for their service and the product. Well, guess what?  The installer called and said I had to lug the softner home myself (pretty clumsy size and pretty heavy). The other option was to buy the softner by standing in line and storing it in “will call” The installer would charge $75 dollars to pick it up and $300 for the install. Well, I had enough with national chain stores as I backed out of that deal.

I went to a regional appliance store who sold a product that would only require a $12 replacement transformer if I had another surge issue. They would have the installer pick up the unit and install it for less than $200 dollars. Smooth sailing until another surge hits. While the softner was more expensive, the end to end customer journey was seamless and easy. I will now do more business with my new source that considers the customer journey first.

Net; Net:

Besides buyer beware, I will always look for the easiest customer journey. Something that I have learned the hard way. I need to watch the millennials more as they figured this out earlier in life. Thanks for listening to me if you made it this far 🙂

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