Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CUSTOMER SERVICE

People often wonder why companies go under in good times and bad.  Today’s brick and mortar establishments are competing with on-line businesses.  On-line businesses are competing with each other.  This is my experience with two very disparate companies, both of which I have had on-line dealings.  You tell me which one you would deal with again.

AEROGARDEN

I bought an Aerogarden 7 (holds 7 seed pods) about 6 years ago.  I’ve planted the tomatoes, the herb assortment several times, but my favorite is the cascading petunias.  Now these ‘garden’ things are NOT cheap, nor are the seed kits.  Mine currently retails for $149.95, and the seed kits go for about $21 per.  They ‘guarantee’ germination.  In March I ordered a cascading petunia kit for my kitchen.  Planted it in April.  Only four of the seven seed pods germinated.  I contacted Aerogarden – told them that.  Their response was that I must have ‘done something wrong’ since their seeds were guaranteed.  Now I’m not a new user of this thing – I know how to push the seed pod in the hole, fill the aerator well with water, add their packet of liquid fertilizer, and plug the thing in.  I replied to customer service that everything had been done as the instructions said.  I asked them to please explain to me how SOMETHING I DID would prevent three of the pods from germinating, when the other four pods, in identical conditions, DID germinate.  My reply was…. ‘perhaps you need new gro-lights (at $20).  Again, explain to me how gro-lights would make 4 pods germinate and prevent 3 from growing. 

I don’t deal well with ignorance or sorry customer service.  If this airhead had simply sent me another seed kit (which most likely costs Aerogarden $0.75, they would have a happy customer.  Instead, I suggested to this representative that she put my three bad seed pods where the sun don’t shine, and to remove me from their emailing list.  One customer lost because of inanely pathetic customer service. 

Here is my Aerogarden – notice the gaps, and tell me if you see any petunias that are ‘cascading’.  One of the three pods sent up a straggler - the other empty pod is behind the ones that are growing.



PITTSBURGH CORNING

Last year I upgraded the ‘old’ part of my house.  The house was built in the 50’s, apparently before the advent of indoor showers, and the bathroom was 58” X 80” in size, with a window in the end (the 58”) wall.  That wall is concrete block, BTW.  The door was (and still is) only 24” wide.  The corner shower, which was to the right of the door, was one of those collapsible things that you gather in your arms and smush, and then go into the room where it will be installed, and turn it loose.  Then you glue two of the sides to the wall.  You could shower in it, but it was impossible to rinse everything, if you get my meaning.  So…… 

I came up with this brilliant idea to play musical fixtures…. And to install an ‘in place custom tile’ shower on the exterior wall, close up the window with glass blocks, and use additional glass blocks for the ‘framing’ of the near side of the shower.

I Googled Corning and sent an email to them.  I described my idea and asked if it was feasible.  I received an email back the same day asking for more information about my ‘design’, giving the proposed shower dimensions, ceiling height, etc.  The next DAY, I received a 3-D CAD drawing AND a complete bill of materials I would need to install the glass blocks.  Holy krap!

I’m also proficient with AutoCAD, and had the program on a desktop that has subsequently crashed, but I took this man’s information, LAID OUT EXACTLY HOW I WANTED THE TILE INSTALLED, and gave it to my contractor.  We agreed that he would provide the basics but I would buy the tile AND the glass blocks.  So off I went to do what I love best – SHOP!  I found ALMOST everything at my local Lowe’s Home Improvement store…. But the one thing I couldn’t find or have special ordered was the TWO Decora EnCurve blocks for the top of the glass block enclosure. 

I wrote back to the gentleman about my dilemma and asked if I could buy TWO blocks from the factory.  He said they didn’t sell direct, but he put me in touch with a supplier in Tennessee, who told me – when I asked if they would sell me just TWO blocks – that they would sell me ONE if that was all I needed.  I ordered the blocks from them. 

The project turned out gorgeous!  So much so that I’m now going to do the very same thing in my master bath, which is less than six years old.  I’m getting back in touch with Pittsburgh-Corning about the materials.

My total purchase of P/C glass blocks was:  8 blocks to fill the window, 18 End Blocks for two sides of the shower opening, and two EnCurves to top off the sides.  TWENTY EIGHT BLOCKS‼‼  P/C sells gazillions of block for high end residential and commercial use.  Yet they had time for ME and my 28 blocks! 
THAT, my friends, is customer service!  I cannot recommend their products highly enough but it was the customer service that just swept me off my feet!

Here’s my little tiny bathroom – before and after:

^^BEFORE ^^


The new Handicap height toilet is a corner toilet, by American standard - it gives the new bathroom just a little personality!


Twenty eight glass blocks!  Thank you, Pittsburgh Corning!


Look at their 'project gallery' here.... and then there is me.... all 28 blocks!  Just awesome!


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