Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is After-Service an Afterthought?

-Deacon Wardlow

I've seen many companies launch an excellent product line only to have neglected putting thought into support for the product until  after it’s hit the shelves. This is a mistake made by both big and small businesses. People get so caught up in making something “new and improved” they lose the customer focus along the way and end up having to back pedal.After-service is all too often an afterthought for businesses.

A friend called me looking for advice on getting a custom-built gaming computer, he wanted a laptop system built to his specifications and wanted to know where to get a cheap, yet reliable, system. I recommended a computer company I’ve used in the past and didn’t think about it again until he called me two months later. He ordered the system online and it was well under the price point for comparable systems from name brand companies. The system worked great out of the box when he got it, but he started experiencing heat-related issues and the system would “randomly” shut down.

Since I referred him to the company, I told him I’d take care of it with the manufacturer for him. What was supposed to be a week for repairs turned into a month. Instead of a single point of contact, I was shuffled from one department to another, having to leave multiple voicemails and emails with no follow-up from the company, I eventually get through to a ‘manager’ of the tech support department who told me, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.” While my friend saved a lot of money on the system, he (and I) ended up spending a large amount of time getting simple repairs done.

The end result, I’ve had to be reminded (the hard way) what it feels like for a non-technical person to be completely reliant on a company to solve an issue for them. When that company is not on the ball, a lot of frustration is generated. I’m glad I’ve never recommended a company like this to a client (and I’ll be a lot more careful about whom I recommend to friends if I want to keep them from “unfriending” me).

Beyond earnings reports, quarterly Profit/Loss statements and shareholder reports, companies need to focus on what really matters, the customer. Even with the best systems in the world, something can and will go wrong. The real merit of a company shows through in how they support the product. Customers will remember that bitter taste of poor service long after the initial joy of a low price or a new shiny toy. Make sure your business and the partners you deal with for LED signage are looking at the whole picture. Don’t let after-service be an afterthought.

*Always feel free to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Advertisements/promotion for your business and inappropriate comments will be deleted.. Thank you!

**Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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