Customer service: How it SHOULD be done.

Over the years I have had some terrible customer service. A Highlander brand daysack for example, which had small print in the “lifetime guarantee”, which stated that it would only be repaired under warranty if it was taken back to the original retailer with the original receipt, and only during a full moon in a month with and R in it (some of these may not be accurate, I will leave it to you choose). This despite me having the original tags which simply stated “lifetime guarantee”.

Highlander are not alone, and to detail all those companies and retailers whose products or service has been below par would take some time.

Instead, credit where it is due.

I recently damaged my Black Diamond walking poles, and rather than buy a completely new pair I thought I could instead buy a replacement part. They were out of warranty, and the shop I had bought them from closed down some time back, so I couldnt source it from them. Going online I found that there was no contact in Scotland or even the UK, so I contacted Black Diamond Europe. They replied quickly, and said that if I sent a photo of the damaged part they would send me a replacement, free of charge. Within a few days they had shipped me two new pole sections, direct from Germany, at no charge. No hassle, no quibbling about the warranty. Just outstanding service.

I had similarly good service from the North Face, who i contacted to find out if I could source a section of tent pole for a North Face Mountain Marathon tent. Again, the warranty was long expired, but they sent me a complete set of poles, absolutely free, within a few days.

Sometimes kit may cost more when buying from big brands, but in some cases its more than worth it for the after sales service which may extend long after the warranty has gone. Goodwill gestures DO work.

So if you want to see how good customer service should work, take a look at the likes of Black Diamond, Silva and The North Face. If all companies behaved like them we would all be a great deal happier. As thank you notes are usually shorter than complaints, I would also have a bit less to write about…

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