Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's about customer service Part II

Three years ago I wrote about great customer service from Patagonia, The North Face and Immersion Research. I have a new story to tell.

Since 2011 I have been using a Uniden VHF radio. It accompanies me on expeditions, and long day trips - particularly at the coast. About two weeks ago I took it out of its pelican case and found that the plastic latch the holds the battery in place was broken. A great radio, rendered useless by a cheap piece of plastic.

I reached out to Uniden for a repair, and was told that there is a flat fee for all repairs on my specific radio model. $69.99, plus a $10 shipping charge. My radio was $130 brand new, and I started to do the math. Should I just replace the radio and have something new? Or pay the $80?

It was Samantha at Uniden that was helping me, and as I was running numbers in my head she said this, "let me see how much the part is, maybe we can just send it to you?" she put me on hold while she looked for a price. I wasn't optimistic. She came back on a few minutes later and said she couldn't locate the part number, and if I would give her my email address she would let me know a price. I gave her my email, but still wasn't terribly optimistic. Regardless I thanked her for her time and the effort, and hung up my phone.

I then went to Reddit and posted on r/kayaking if people had recommendations on a VHF. I really feel like the options for VHF aren't great. People recommended Cobra and Icom, and I looked at the radios and remember not being terribly impressed. My Uniden is small, 5 watts, and runs on rechargeable batteries or AA batteries which is super important for long trips. I stopped looking because it was frankly getting depressing.

A few hours later - much to my surprise - I got an email from Samantha. The part was $.44! and If I would send her my address she would send it to me for free, and cover the shipping! This is the kind of customer service that gets a customer for life, and Uniden - thanks to Samantha - you now have one. About a week later the tiny part arrived, and it took me all of 5 minutes to make the replacement. I spent more time trying to find the right torx bit to remove the screws.

Here you can see the broken one - removed - and the new one in place. Uniden, you have entered the rare stratus of companies that do the right thing. Thank you. 

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