Muscle Sport Magazine

Proper Customer Service

We like to think that our customer service skills are the type that are similar to our content – a no-bullshit and straight forward approach where you feel comfortable right off the bat as if you are dealing with someone you know for years. For example, we have a few advertisers who have been with us since the company launched in 2008 and on the other side of things, viewers/readers who have also been with us for the long haul. Kathy Graham, aka Kat Vong, was our first ever subscriber to the print magazine and is not only still a recipient, but also a long-time member of The mSm Family with her and her husband CW literally toasting over drinks with us when we hung out during the Arnold Classic Weekend and we look forward to doing it again at the Olympia.

If we have an advertiser who feels that they are not getting a bang for their buck, we have no problem working with them to see what needs to be done to ensure that they will receive  a satisfactory ROI. That can be done in a number off ways, with additional Free Added value, grandfathering them to the original rate they paid that was lower than the current one, etc.

So using ourselves as an example, we’d like to share a recent experience with an appliance repair company that obviously does not subscribe to our theory.

Mr. Appliance – which is a franchise located throughout the United States and Canada – has a local office and one that has been used by this writer on a number of occasions over the past 20-plus years. Washer, dryer, refrigerator… pretty much every appliance in the house has been looked at and  – in most cases – repaired by Mr. Appliance.

Last August, one of their employers was dispatched to diagnose a refrigerator/freezer that was obviously not working properly. What should have been cold and sub-freezing temperatures, respectively, were anything but and this young man knew right away that a new compressor was needed. Quite an expensive job and one that eclipsed the $1,000 threshold. But being a homeowner means that there will be times when you have to write a check and this was one of them. The dog days of August notwithstanding, this was also the period of time following this writer’s spinal fusion surgery. So it behooved everyone involved to opt for the repair/replacement of the compressor as opposed to go shopping for a new unit.

The young man with the blue semi-uniform said that they would order the compressor, make an appointment to install it and then it will be ice cream time again. Good thing, too, because by this time, the refrigerator was as useful as a cardboard box. After discarding a good amount of spoiled food, temporary holding places needed to be found for the staples like milk and such. But Mr. Appliance would be there to rescue the day in a few days.

Sure, they did as they said and installed this brand spanking new compressor, but the temperatures barely climbed before plummeting within a few hours. Other less-than-helpful little elves arrived but all for naught; they could not figure out why the refrigerator was actually conducting heat instead of cooling temperatures.

But all was not lost for the ‘capo di tutti capi’ himself, Mr. Bob Amato – the owner of the franchise – would grace us with his presence and vast knowledge base to fix what his underlings were unable to. Unfortunately, he needed to make multiple appearances and this fiasco dragged into a second and third week before this ‘master technician’ finally got to the bottom of the issue and was able to get the new compressor working. Needless to say, this was a major inconvenience with good money spent and not a pleasurable experience. But at least we can have that fuckin’ ice cream now!

Fast forward to June of this year and, lo and behold, the freezer stopping performing its namesake… eerily familiar to how the original problem started.

Another call was made to Mr. Appliance and Bob himself made a cameo. He immediately came to the conclusion that all that was needed was a good shot of freon – $201 dollars worth – and that melting ice cream will be hard again. “Give it a little time,” he said as he made his way down the stairs simultaneously folding the check and placing it in his shirt pocket.

An hour passed. Then two and three. By the fourth hour, the freezer was the same as it was before Bob pumped his magic freon in it. He was called and after hemming and hawing (being told that as the owner of a business, there are no days off), made arrangements to come back out two days later. (There was a Sunday in between, so we’ll cut him some slack.)

If you’re expecting a happy ending, you’re reading the wrong piece. Predictably, Bob was unable to decipher the problem and after being asked about the bill paid less than 48 hours earlier, he removed the check from the same pocket he placed it in and offered to return the money. Adding in that his gauges are showing that everything is working fine – but admitting that the freezer was in fact not due to the fact that all the items encased in it were soft and the ice maker had not been functioning for days – he said that he could order yet another part – this time a filter – to see if that would make a difference; either that or we could “call someone else.” Once again, a ‘solution’ that may not be one was going to result in more money being spent. And when asked about the warranty on the compressor, his response was a curt, “90 days… you should have read the invoice.”

This is not proper etiquette to a loyal customer and one who has spent good money over a long period of time with the company, no less. Less than complimentary remarks were made towards Bob, which were richly deserved under the circumstances.

Luckily, there are options for customers, especially those who received an email from Mr. Appliance asking for a review. We intend on taking that survey and more.

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