Don’t make me beg

Home Columns Don't make me beg

by David Stafford

I recently had a frustrating experience on a warranty claim with a local service provider and my insurance company. While not flooring, it does parallel flooring installation warranties and just might be a lesson for you.

It all started when paint started flaking off the right side of my car. Each day, it got a little worse until I could ignore it no longer. I contacted the local repair company where I’ve had work done for over 15 years. “Yep, no problem, that does look like a ‘clear coat failure,’ so we’ll get you in here and take care of it.”

What great service, I thought, just exceptional.

Thus began the saga.

“Well, we had a computer failure, so our records don’t go that far back; we’ll just check out written records. No, that’s all right, you don’t have to contact the insurance company.” After a week, and no follow up, I called again. “We haven’t found those records yet, but we’ll look.”

Now, I began to sense there was a potential problem. So I contacted my insurance company and explained I had a warranty issue on a repair. I gave the vehicle model and policy number and was quickly provided with the repair claim number and date of accident. Feeling much better, I went back to my repair shop, gave them the claim number and approximate date of service.

“We still haven’t found the paperwork, but will check again.”

It had been two weeks, one personal visit and four phone calls. Now, I was ticked off and called a senior claims person at the insurance company. When I asked for a written copy of the claim, I was told, “Those records are only available off-site and may take two weeks to retrieve. However, your repair service provider should be willing to go ahead with the repair since you’ve given them the claim number and our records show they did the work. I’ll call them.”

I did get a call back from the repair shop, but only to tell me, “we’ll schedule you just as soon as we get the paperwork from the insurance company. You know, sometimes people lie to us, or are mistaken, so we don’t do any repairs under warranty without paperwork.”

You can only imagine how I reacted to this statement. “I’ve told you the approximate date when service was performed, you have been given a claim number, you’ve been told by the insurance company you did the original work and they have the record.”

This was the final straw, intimating that I “might be confused or was a liar.” Any goodwill built up over the years evaporated at that juncture.

Finally, after another week, the entire claim record with the original estimate, claim assignment, approval and copy of the payment was sent to the repair shop. It still took two more phone calls to schedule the work.

Many retailers provide a lifetime warranty or a more limited commercial service warranty for one or two years. As my experience shows, a decade of service excellence may be undone by inept customer service. What could have been a reinforcement of quality service, degenerated into a frustrating experience.

As part of your exceptional service program, consider the following:

•Repairs and warranty should be handled as a priority item. If there’s a delay or problem stay in contact with the client

•One should be willing to schedule repairs after hearing from the client while researching the claim details

•Use good judgment; it is infinitely more costly to transform a repeat client into an active foe

•Don’t put off making a decision by being a slave to procedure and policy.

Moral is, “Don’t make me beg you to do the right thing.”

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