Surprise Them, Pleasantly

I got up to get a snack while watching sports this weekend. When I returned, the screen on my TV had gone black. The audio was still playing, but I saw nothing. Rebooting the TV and the cable box did nothing and I quickly arrived at the place where my rudimentary attempts at a fix ran out. Time to hit the search engine.

What I found did not make me happy. The most likely cause was the death of the circuit board that powers the backlighting on the TV. Hoping that wasn’t the case, I went to the manufacturer’s site just in case there was an issue that looked like a dead board but was an easier fix. I noticed that customer service was still open and called the number.

The person with whom I spoke ran me through a series of checks. When I shined I flashlight on the screen I could see there was moving video there. He had me scrolling through menus that I could make out on the dim screen to try a reset. Nothing. I braced for what was next as my head started to do the math of replacing a year-old TV vs. repairing it.

The pleasant surprise came next.  The TV is from LG, and we own several different ones.  I am now very glad we do. The customer service rep asked for the serial number and a few other pieces of information.  He then found me a tech in my market and told me there would be no charge for the tech to come and fix the set.  I was so surprised I asked him three different times about potential costs and was told very firmly that there would be no charge.

That should be a  goal of every business: surprise customers, pleasantly.  Standing behind what you sell is one way but there are dozens of others.  Send them coupons out of the blue.  Make sure that humans, not machines, answer their inquiries in every channel.  Ask them for their favorite charity when you screw up and make a donation.  Most importantly – have responsive, available customer service that is empowered to solve problems and not just to placate.

In this case, the local tech reached out to me within 15 minutes of my call to LG.  He had some questions too and we set an appointment for tomorrow since he needs to order a part.  LG couldn’t prevent the circuit board from frying, but they could prevent ME from frying in anger and they have done so.  Nothing like a pleasant surprise, don’t you think?

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