Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Sears Continued To (Un)Distinguish Itself

Following up on my prior post about customer service, the redelivery date rolled around. Sears has an interesting system where they computer call you to inform you of the time you can expect delivery, and to confirm that an adult will be present to receive the delivery. That's fine, but both times I used the system after confirming that the delivery window was acceptable and an adult would be present, I was connected with an operator and had to repeat that process with a live person. If the electronic system doesn't work, fix it or scrap it.

The delivery crews both times were very good. The washer and dryer were redelivered in new condition. After the washer and dryer were installed, though, there was a problem with the washer. It kept producing an error code indicating a lack of water flow and, after the installer had followed the instructions in the trouble-shooting guide a few times, he indicated that the washer appeared to be defective. He indicated that Sears could send out a technician, but that I could also request a replacement unit. When I called the Sears 800 number to describe the problem, I was told that I could also try "rapid resolution" - basically, technical support by phone. I tried it; at least in my case it wasn't worth the time.

When I was reconnected to the department responsible for service and replacement, the person I spoke with seemed to be under instructions to encourage service over replacement, but it wasn't a hard sell. And when I was transferred to another person to schedule the replacement, that person (to her credit) checked to see if a technician was available prior to the first available delivery date to minimize my time without a washer. (The service call would have been to repair the unit pending replacement, not in lieu of replacement.)

Looking at my growing laundry pile, and not feeling particularly inclined to go to a laundromat, I decided to take another look at the washer. Following the troubleshooting instructions for the 100th or so time didn't work (big surprise). As the error related to water flow, I decided to disconnect the water hoses just to see what might happen. (They had previously been repeatedly examined for kinks.) Not surprisingly the hoses were fine, water ran through them.... they're pretty simple devices. So I reconnected the washer, plugged it back in, and sure enough, it worked. Perhaps an air bubble was blocking air flow?

I then went to the Sears.com website where I was instructed on their customer service contact page that I could contact them,
By Email: Our system will route your question to the proper place.
Should it go without saying? The response to the email was that I could not cancel the redelivery by email and would have to call their 800 number. Because, you know, I'm trying to save them money....

But I do like the new washer and dryer (which I selected with the assistance of Consumer Reports Greener Choices).

1 comment:

  1. I just noticed that the response to my email addressed me as "Mr. Karson". Close, but....


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