Why excellence in customer service is important

by Volker Weber

It's almost five years ago that Ben Rose told me about a product I never heard of before. And it took another three months until I finally had a sample. The company had a single product with a clunky remote, and when I unpacked it, I was unimpressed. It seemed very limited and I could not get it to work. I was about to give up on it, and then I talked to their head of customers service for a good hour. Calling in from Santa Barbara, on their money. He had me connect some ethernet wires, run some tests, submit diagnostics over the Internet. And then he knew what the problem was: a faulty wireless card in one of the boxes. I was sent a new one which arrived the next day. I was able to set it up in about five minutes. I liked it, and I wrote a series of reviews about it. Over time, I liked the product so much, that I "sold" it to my friends, their friends, and their friends' friends. The company had turned an impatient reviewer into a favorable one.

They not only had a sound product, but excellent customer service. Don't know what I am talking about? Read my first impressions. I was almost a lost cause, but they never gave up. Not customer service, not PR.

If you understand German, compare that to what I just experienced with a German company, which refuses to repair their product, if I send it to them directly on my own money, without going through Amazon.


It has been some years when you and me got to know each other personally. For many many years now I am reading your blog.

In earlier times I read some magazines to know, which products are good and which are not when I needed something. Many times, the products did not satisfy me. Later on I realized, that some magazines get paid to review some products and even more, give them higher rankings.

You mention sonos for excellent support. I want to mention you! You are someone, where I know: If vowe says it's good, then it's good. In earlier times I have bought the iPhone 4 cause of you, I have bought the Nokia BH-905i cause of you and two weeks ago I even took a closer look at Sonos cause of you.

As you say: Trust is something very important. And I trust you and your reviews. Finally: Every time you review something I am asking myself: When will I have it? ;-)

Thank you vowe!!

Alper Iseri, 2010-12-30

Hear, hear! Fully agree with Alper.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2010-12-30

A picture from Failblog's Win! section describes the customer service options (or dilemma?) very good: You can't expect good and fast service at low costs ...

Christian Rosner, 2010-12-30

So glad things worked out and thanks for spreading the word.

Ben Rose, 2011-01-02

I wonder if it's a German company issue that don't know how to keep customers happy.

I have the same problem with a company that makes drive devices, starts with 'Trek' and ends in 'stor'. which after finding a faulty controller in a USB drive (where it will only connect at USB1.1 and is a 1.5TB drive) they want me to send the device back to the "purchaser" rather then and RMA directly to them. In today's day and age with so much online purchasing, it doesn't make sense to mail it back to Amazon.

After this experience I would no longer buy that brand and also tell others not to as well, just because the warranty repair issues. Sadly I had a number of them before and was mostly happy. Bad service had changed a happy customer into a non-customer.

Bryan McDade, 2011-01-03

had a failure in an OCZ SSD after 3/4 of a year, told the seller under Amazon roof about it, got my replacement (brand new) in no time. Sonos did top that experience in one case, but things CAN work fine with Amazon, too. The company (to do them justice) is AV-Elektronix - thank you guys, you made me happy. No other relation than happy client.

Armin Roth, 2011-01-03

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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