When was the last time you had a really good interaction with a customer service representative?
I’m willing to bet that for most people, the answer is close to 50 million years ago. Well, at least it seems like that long, anyway.
I agree with Seth Godin, who wrote here that “customer service is broken.” His solution to blow customer service up as we know it and start over with a new model is genius. This is especially true considering that most customer service call centers are staffed by people who are often under trained, or who have been well-trained in reading from a ready-made script.
Here’s a perfect example of why:
Just about a week ago, our Kodak Easyshare 5100 All-in-One (AiO) printer decided it wanted to be a zebra–it began printing our documents in a very decorative black and white-striped pattern. After print head cleaning, it was actually worse. Trouble is, this wasn’t the first time the printer took a ride on the wild side.
A few months back, when the ink ran out and I replaced it, the print head went kaput. The machine only printed blank documents. I called the Kodak AiO support line and it was determined I needed a new print head. One was shipped, along with free ink cartridges.
The AiO was a gift from my wife’s parents. They bought a similar printer at the same time they bought ours. Shockingly enough, they also had an issue with the print head and had it replaced for free. The replacement print head was not the solution, however, because my in-laws’ printer acted up again. They called, referenced their case number, and received a whole new printer. When my printer recently decided to take a permanent vacation, I called up expecting the same issue resolution.
That door didn’t even open.
Instead, I ran straight into a brick wall of policy. Apparently, Kodak changed the policy between the time our AiO broke down the first time and now. Talking to a supervisor didn’t help, either. Hugh (the supervisor) kept referring to “policy” and that he couldn’t give me the same service I had previously received. All he said he could do was send me a new print head.
Not good. The new print head, once installed, made it so the printer didn’t even print out a calibration sheet. It doesn’t work at all. It is defective. I called to get some help, but a different supervisor (Mary) gave me the same response.
But then, I have a sneaking suspicion that Kodak knew that the product was defective when they replaced my in-law’s printer. Maybe that’s why they all of a sudden changed their policy.
I believe as a customer with a well-documented recurring product issue, the least Kodak could do is to replace the product at no charge or provide us a credit toward a new model.
Unfortunately, they believe that as a customer with a defective product, I’m out of luck.
I’ve contacted the customer advocate to help with this issue. As of this writing, it’s been three days without a response.
It appears customer service at Kodak is broken. Too bad I can’t start over with a new model.