Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Standing Behind our Product

Recently, my kitchen faucet was leaking, and this was particularly problematic because I didn’t know anything about fixing a kitchen faucet. But my wife was telling me we needed to get this thing fixed because she had to clean up water on the counter every time she used the faucet. 

As you know, I am the cheapest person there is. Look, the plumber charges $150 just to come to the house, regardless of how long he spends fixing the problematic plumbing. If fixing the faucet only takes two minutes, the cost is still $150. (I recognize that I am a dentist, and we dentists do the same thing — charge for the visit even if it’s short, but...)

With this in mind, I got it into my head that I was going to fix the faucet myself. I like to think that I am pretty handy. And, these days, with YouTube tutorials, I can pretty much walk myself through most small jobs around the house.

I watched a couple of videos and then jumped right in to completing the task at hand. After about five minutes, I found the problem — a leaky hose in the piece that extends out ... yeah, the extender-outer-hosey thing. I went online to order a part that I needed. I was having trouble finding it, so I called the manufacturer’s customer service department. I reached a nice customer service representative who asked me to describe the problem. She asked for the serial number of the faucet, and I told her there was no number visible. She asked if I could take a picture of the unit with my smartphone and just send it to her via text message. I sent her a photo, and in about 45 seconds, she had received my photo and was able to locate the serial number of the faucet.

After I further described the problem, she guessed that the problem had to do with the extender hose. (I should have called her first!) She asked for my mailing address so she could overnight the part to me. “Wait,” I said. “How much is this part, and how much is the shipping going to cost?!” She said, “Sir, we have a lifetime warranty on all of our products and parts. There is no cost to you.” I said, “Oh, OK!” — while happily dancing around my kitchen.

She hadn’t asked me if I had broken the faucet. She hadn’t asked me if I was using it the wrong way, or if I had hard water at my house or about the water pressure. She just agreed to send me a new product, no questions asked.

Then she said, “You should be getting the part tomorrow, and it will be coming with a very simple pictorial on how to install it. But if you want to call me back tomorrow, I will walk you through the installation.” By this time, I was flabbergasted. I was loving this company and its customer service!

Well, I eventually received the part, and I installed it, and the faucet was fixed. I strutted around the house for about two weeks as if I was the king of this castle — but then, all that halted when the faucet started to leak again.

This time, I intended to call a professional to come fix it, but I just never got around to it. Finally, last week, a plumber came to my house for another issue, and I asked him about the kitchen faucet. He told me that I did everything right while fixing it the first time, but that there was a gasket missing. So a half an hour later, I called the customer service department again. The same conversation as before ensued — I was asked to send a photo of the faucet to the customer service representative who told me the part would be overnighted to me. After this conversation, I hung up the phone and made a “Hear ye, hear ye!” proclamation to my family: For the rest of my life, I would only buy kitchen products from this company. Because the customer service representatives get me. They get customer service. They get standing behind their product.

Isn’t that what we want from our patients? We want people to leave our office and say, “I will never go to another dentist but this one again!” Our patients want to know that we get them. They want to receive a good product with good customer service, and they want us to stand behind our product: our dentistry.

Do you get people? Do you provide an exceptional product with great service, then stand behind it? If you don’t, I hope you think about this story.

John Gammichia, DMD, FAGD


Unknown said...

Nice comments, John. I always hate to see my work come back, but it does from time to time. When that happens I feel compelled to repair or replace it at no charge (unless they've been opening paint cans with their teeth-as one of my elementary teacher patients did). I am humiliated and embarrassed to see the short longevity of a restoration I worked so hard on...but not to the point of not trying again.

Anonymous said...

I remember when a plumber came over to fix a toilet that wouldn't stop filling. He bent a cable and untangled a chain and charged $195. I said, "Wow, that only took you 10 minutes. You earn over $1,000/hour at that rate. I'm a dentist and I don't make a fraction of that." He looked at me and said, "Yup, when I was a dentist I didn't make that much money either."


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