Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rewarding Customer Service

Several years ago, I received as a gift a "gently-used" Sirius satellite radio, which I've rather enjoyed. The monthly fee is reasonable, although it basically follows the cable-tv model: 350 channels available, and I only listen to 2 or 3 (guess which kind?).

For the past two months, reception has been spotty; at first, I thought it was clouds or sunspots, but after checking with customer service, we eventually determined that the unit was reaching the end of its useful life, and needed to be replaced.

I'm on a month-to-month plan, and I have a unit that's "semi-permanently" mounted in the car [ed: "semi-permanently?" Isn't that like "sort of pregnant?"]. I was looking for a similarly configured unit to replace it.

Poking around the Sirius web-site, I found just the thing: a Stratus 6 (speaking of clouds). Priced at $50, it seemed a good choice. But when I clicked on it to order, I was told that it required that I switch to a 3-month payment plan, which I didn't want to do (if I chose "no subscription," the price jumped to $70!). I also felt that, as a long-time customer, the $15 "activation" fee needed to be waived.

So I called 'em up.

I spoke with "David," a very nice young man who tried very hard to meet my demands. He had no issues with waiving the activation fee, but told me that there was no way he could sell me the radio at the $50 price point if I insisted on staying with the monthly service plan.

At that point, I explained that, having lived the better part of two months without the service at all, I was prepared to just cancel and walk away altogether. But David was tenacious, and came up with a wonderfully creative solution that made everyone happy. He would keep me on the monthly plan, but give me a $20 credit on my account, to make up the difference. He then offered to credit the $4.89 sales tax on the new unit to my account, as well This was a terrific demonstration of outside-the-box thinking, and a true to commitment to great customer service. The new radio is on its way, and I am, in fact, a very happy customer.

Kudos, Sirius!
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