Thursday, July 13, 2006

Customer service: Help thyself

As we all know, customer service seems to be suffering. Store clerks are quite often rude or just plain ignorant about the products and services they are employed to help customers with.

Something like the situation in the above cartoon happened to me a while back. It was beyond the simple lack of help one often encounters these days; it became a situation where the store employee actually added to my problems.

I took our camcorder in to the local camera dealer, (who is reputable and normally has top-notch service.) However this time, the service department technician was on vacation and the 'new guy' handled my repair. The original battery was not working and a brand new battery didn't work, either. (The camcorder worked when the power cord was plugged in.) I often repair simple electronic items myself, but I thought I'd defer to the experts on this.

I received a call a week later from "Clyde",
saying that he had looked and looked, but couldn't find the problem. He even tried putting various amounts of voltage across all the terminals and nothing happened. (This didn't sound good to me, but I figured he must know what he's doing.)

So, I picked up the camcorder, took it home and looked at it myself -- just for the heck of it. Surprisingly, I found a loose terminal, soldered it...and it the camera turned on! But to my disappointment, the speakers and the LCD screen no longer functioned. I discovered that the speaker and LCD connection wires had been melted...most likely by a power spike. (The phrase "various amounts of voltage" came back to me.)

I called Clyde and asked him if he had noticed the speakers and LCD not working...and he said yes, but he also noticed the camcorder was smoking after he ran his "tests"...and that I must have a defective unit. "By the way", he offered, "we have a sale on new camcorders."


Fortunately, after replacing the wires (without Clyde's assistance), everything works fine now.

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