November 13, 2014 Leave a comment
This is an off cycle post for me but after speaking at the Argyle Customer Care Leadership Forum last week I thought it would be appropriate to share an American customer experience. It was 2008 when I was in the market for a new coffee maker and with the economy in the tank I was determined to buy American made. However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. So, I went to my local hardware store and started looking at coffee makers. I didn’t need anything fancy just wanted to make a pot of coffee and something that I wouldn’t have to replace after a few years.
What I found out was there is only one coffee maker made in America, Bunn. When I struggled to find a coffee maker at the store I asked a clerk and he said “Mr. Coffee”. Nope. Not even the iconic Mr. Coffee with the all American icon Joe DiMaggio as a spokesperson wasn’t made in America anymore. The clerk and I were both shocked so I settled on the Bunn. Bunn is normally known as an industrial coffee maker and if you have ever gone through a Dunkin Donuts you will notice that is all they use to make their coffee. It was more expensive than the others but it was made in Springfield, Il and I couldn’t help but support a business near where I grew up.
So, three years have passed and we have enjoyed the fact that an entire pot of coffee is brewed to perfection within 3 minutes. But as with anything, things break. And to be honest I think I may have contributed to the thermostat shorting out by pouring water in and then remembering to turn it on to heat up the water. So, I called Bunn. I got right through to an actual human being and the warrantee process was about as simple as it gets. No sending in the warrantee card, just read the number off the bottom of the coffee maker. I could have sworn it had been more than three years but the customer service professional said. “Yep, it is under warrantee and we will ship you a new one in 5-10 days. All I ask is you pack up the other and ship it back.” I was amazed and graciously agreed to ship back the old one in exchange for a brand new Bunn coffee maker. Try doing that with a coffee maker made in China.
5 Days later I received the new coffee maker. I went through the steps to setup, filling the reservoir with water, rinsing the carafe and plugged it in to begin heating the water. It is this type of simple service that creates loyal and brand advocates and it all starts with the front line. And the fact that Bunn actually wanted the broken maker back to be recycled was even more impressive. In this disposable age where we throw items out and replace it with the next one for $29.99 it was refreshing to see the benefits of buying American. I don’t know about you but I will gladly spend more for a quality product, superior customer service with a company that is passionate about recycling versus disposing any time.
Most consumers are more likely to write negative comments then they are positive so I felt I owed it to Bunn to let them know they got it right. Congratulations Bunn! You delivered an amazing American customer experience and return earned my loyal advocacy. I will never own another coffee maker. Thank you for delivering a quality product, excellent customer service and more importantly keeping the fine folks in Springfield, Il employed.