How to Loose Customers and Influence People
This is my overlocker. It isn't a very glamorous photo but then this piece of machinery wasn't designed to be glamorous. It is a work horse. Because it is bulky, it lives in my garage and is sitting strategically between my car and a large cupboard that holds all of my fabric. My husband has managed to squeeze in his ladder between the two, probably to remind me that this is essentially his space and not mine! My commercial overlocker resides here though, because it is too big and bulky to live in the house. It is a Mercury and I bought it brand new 8 years ago when I was making nappies commercially. I needed a commercial overlocker and rather than buy some clapped out ex factory overlocker, I chose an economical new commercial one. I love this machine! When I first had it repaired by a mechanic at a large and well known commercial repair centre in central Christchurch, my purchase met with some derision from the staff who no doubt wanted to sell me one of their Juki machines at twice the price. Over the past 8 years, my Mercury has given me nothing but good service. Despite heavy domestic use, I have only had 3 broken looper needles and two of them were by my inexperienced daughter.
When my daughter broke my upper looper the other day, I promptly contacted my new mechanic, only to find out he is out of the country for a month....darn! I knew that waiting for him to return was going to take an eternity and relying on my much maligned domestic overlocker was going to tip me over the edge of sanity, I rang the large repair service. I was told in no uncertain terms by said large repair service, that they did not repair and have not ever repaired Mercury sewing machines. I was taken aback. Despite the fact, they had repaired it before, I only wanted a needle replaced for goodness sake! I asked the receptionist why and was told that they quote "would have to keep fixing it if they did it once".....um that one really threw me...weren't they a repair service....didn't they rely on repeat repairs for their business to survive? At this point I was trying not to show my irritation and would have ended the call there, had I actually had any choice of repairers, but I was now feeling grumpy enough to push out the envelope and asked if said receptionist with no customer service skills knew of someone in the city who does fix Mercury machines and was told, quote "someone may be desperate for the work". Through gritted teeth I politely rang off vowing to never use this business again and if I ever did have a use for her very overpriced overlockers, it would not be from her that I would buy it!
I then contacted the supplier of the machine, who is not from Christchurch and would have happily repaired it had he been from Christchurch and he must have felt sorry for me and promptly put a full set of needles in the courier and I received it the following morning with a list of possibilities for repair people. Now THAT is customer service!
My story doesn't end there however! The loopers sat around for a couple of days while I decided what to do next. On Sunday while the house was quiet, I decided to have a go at installing them myself. I figured that if it didn't work, I could as a last resort, use my regular mechanic when he returned or try one of the possibilities given to me by the supplier. My daughter is quite patient and handy at fixing things so together we had a go. After loosing the minuscule screw that holds the upper needle in, inside the machine, the repair was not looking very likely, but we persevered and managed to install the new looper. Admittedly, she did most of the work, while I sipped coffee and watched on. After a bit of tweaking and measuring with card, like I had seen the mechanic do, and comparing distances with my domestic machine, I re threaded the machine, and very gently hand wound the machine to check nothing was catching before testing it.....Eureka it worked! Take that, large repair service with rude staff!