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Suzi Shopper: Faulty and Poor Quality Products – When You Don’t Get What You Pay For, Part 1

Suzi Shopper: Thoughts on business from a consumer’s perspective

I am a member of the Marketing team here at ArcherPoint and a regular blogger. One day, during a meeting with the author of the Suzi Shopper series (who also happens to be my boss and the Marketing Manager), I mentioned an experience I recently had with a major computer manufacturer. We agreed this experience would be a fitting topic for Suzi Shopper, so I will be presenting a short guest blog series.

A while back, my laptop of four years finally took its last breath, and I was devastated. I loved my old laptop: It was small and light – I believe it was a 13 inch screen – and worked like a charm. When it died, I was tasked with finding a new one. My top three must-haves in a computer are always: powerful, light, and small.

Although my last laptop was another brand, I ultimately decided to order from a company known to be a reputable computer provider because it had nearly everything I wanted … well, ok, I had to go with a custom build to get it. I also had to sacrifice my size requirement for power. I decided on a computer with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, roughly 3.3 GHz (I don’t remember the exact number), a NVIDIA graphics card, and a weight of less than 5 pounds. I was very excited about this laptop, as the specs were everything I wanted, and I knew it was going to be faster and more powerful than my last. I don’t remember if I purchased the 24/7 onsite next-day service or if it was included, but either way, it sounded like a good deal since I don’t have the best track record with laptops or electronics in general.

I received my new laptop and was eager to set it up and try it out. It seemed to be everything I expected …and it should have been for the price. I was happy with my purchase—until a few months in. I only noticed there was something wrong when it started making a very high pitched noise when it was turned on. After this noise persisted for only a day or two, the computer crashed and would not turn back on. I called the company and reported the problem, and they said they would send a technician to my apartment.

The technician arrived the following day as promised in my service package. He was very professional and personable, made pleasant conversation, and everything seemed to be going well. When he discovered the problem, he told me that one of the fans was not screwed down – most likely due to human error since it was custom built – and had been hitting the hard drive for months, which ultimately ruined the hard drive.

I was disappointed when the technician explained the problem. I paid a pretty penny for a custom-built machine and expected it to be worth the extra cost. If I would have thought there was a possibility I would get a faulty product, I would have ordered a cheaper computer and saved myself the heartache. I can honestly say I will not be ordering another custom computer from this company. In fact, I even question whether I will purchase another product from this company after this experience.

The bottom line is that a negative experience—in the form of poor quality or faulty products or bad service, even one single experience after one or more positive experiences—can irreparably damage your relationship with a loyal customer or possibly worse, lose a potential loyal customer, as in my situation.

What do you do as a retailer to ensure your customers receive the products and services they pay for and expect? What would you do if one of your customers receives a faulty or poor quality product or service to reduce the possibility of losing them as a customer? In your opinion, is it possible to keep a customer after an unpleasant experience if you handle it appropriately, or have you lost them regardless?

In my next blog, I will tell you about my horrific experience with the repair technician and the company’s response. It might make you think twice about in-home services.