Chip Shots by Chip Griffin

The Power of Bad Service (A Tale of Weeks Without a Refrigerator)

image Last week, my wife and I took our annual week away together.  It wasn’t exactly as planned because one of my sons got a stomach virus just hours before we were to leave for the West Coast, so we had to wait to be sure everyone was OK before turning the children over to the grandparents for a week.  Ultimately we ended up with the better part of the week at a more local destination and had a good time anyway.

image A week before we left, however, our refrigerator died.  Since it was a built-in Viking that came with the house when we bought it, we had to rely on Viking to refer us to an authorized repair company.  (Apparently most local appliance repair people won’t touch these units because they are hard to fix.)

It took the repair people four days to even look at the refrigerator, and that was only after multiple calls and badgering.  Needless to say, telling the visiting grandparents that they would be without a refrigerator in the house while they watched two young boys for the week wasn’t high on the list of things that my wife and I wanted to do.

Of course, when the day came it turned out to be some obscure part that was needed to make the repair and the repairman didn’t have it with him on his truck.  Fortunately, they had the part in stock so it could be overnighted to him for installation.  Except that he was booked for the next 10 days and couldn’t come back until then.  (By which time we would have gone on vacation and left the grandparents in a difficult position.)

So the repairman was slated to come today, our first day back.  But while we were on vacation, we received a voicemail and were told it would be Tuesday instead.  Today we got the call from the repair people telling us that the part had been sent to the original repairman but it would now be someone else coming.  And they have to figure out how to get the part to him. So it will be at least Wednesday and probably Thursday before we have any hope of having a working refrigerator.

And did I mention that the first guy concluded which part was needed by process of elimination only?  So it is possible that the new part won’t even fix the problem.

The lesson here is that how a company deals with service issues is at least as important with how it creates and sells products.  While I live in New Hampshire, I don’t exactly live in the boonies — just minutes from the state capital.  The fact that a major appliance retailer like Viking can’t work with repair people who can service dead refrigerators in a timely fashion is simply absurd.

Going nearly three weeks (and maybe more) without a refrigerator certainly makes me a whole lot less likely to go with Viking in the future. 

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  1. Consumer Reports rates the pro-type appliance makers among the worst in quality. You’d think that quality and reliability would be among the attributes they’d go for, but apparently not.

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