Hardware is not invulnerable and there are going to be times that a brand new gadget fails for some reason. Whether it be an electronic or a mechanical failure it is simply going to happen at some point in your gadget purchasing lifetime.
For me the latest hardware issue occurred just a few weeks ago with my Microsoft Band which I received for Christmas.
This was a mechanical failure and not electronic and basically what had started happening was that one side of the Band’s clasp was failing. When I removed the band for any reason you of course have to depress in the sides of the clasp to dis-engage it from the retaining mechanism. Pretty standard process until one side of the spring loaded clasp stopped fully returning to its normal position.
In order to get the clasp to engage properly when I put the Band back on I had to push the latch underneath the Band to pop it back out and everything would work right and the clasp would engage.
Slowly though the Band started to become loose during wear and at night when I was sleeping and thus a serious concern.
So my first step was to ask on Twitter if others were experiencing this and there were a handful including one person who opened their Band clasp and reset the spring inside. Good on them for doing this but I am pretty sure that would also be classified as voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.
So my next step was to get online and chat with the Microsoft Store online and find out about a return. Bottom line of that conversation was that I needed to go back to the store since I bought it there in person.
I live in North East Florida and we are lucky enough to have a brick and mortar Microsoft retail store in our area. I say area because it is a one hour drive for me to get to this store. So on a Saturday morning I headed that way to talk about getting a replacement for my Band. Unfortunately when I got there I hit the same issue as many have in pursuit of a Band – no stock available.
So the staff there was great and took my info and promised to call when they put their hands on a replacement.
About 10 days later after talking with the one of the store’s supervisors to get a status update, which by the way was still no stock available, I decided to ask the Microsoft Store’s Twitter account about other possible options.
They came back to me and recommended I visit the Microsoft Band Support page and discuss the situation, etc. so I gave it a shot.
From that page I used their Get my Microsoft Band fixed link and was presented with three choices:
- Option 1: Troubleshooting (10 minutes or less). This step uses their online support articles and tutorials to solve problems.
- Option 2: Talk with a Microsoft Answer Tech (30 minutes or less). Just as described talk to an agent about the issue and either solve it on the phone or escalate the issue to a warranty return/repair.
- Option 3: Send my Microsoft Band in for service (up to two weeks). This link takes you to sign in and pick your registered Band or to go head and get it registered with Microsoft.
I selected Option 3 since I knew it was not an issue to be solved by tutorials or a phone call. I was concerned however, because of the inability for these to stay in stock on store shelves, whether there would be a supply for warranty returns and service.
This is a six step process from this point after you are logged into your Microsoft Account:
1. Verify your information (Name, address, email, phone and shipping address)
2. Select your product. If you have registered your Band you will see it as a choice otherwise you can register from this point.
3. Describe the problem.
4. Select a service type (Advanced Replacement or Standard). Advanced means you use your credit card to pay up front for the replacement to be shipped and then once you receive it and verify it works you ship your broken device back in the same package it arrived in with a provided shipping label. A Standard or Normal return means you ship your Band in and then they send you the replacement with no upfront payment required.
5. Select shipping method.
Once this process is complete you will get info about how the replacement process will work based on the choices you made.
I went through this process but in a chat with the Microsoft Answer tech and within 30 minutes we had worked the entire process and I had a service number to track the process with. They even took the extra step of sending a code to my Microsoft accout to confirm who I was in the chat before authorizing the advanced replacement on my card.
Now the waiting begins because if you selected advanced replacement then they say it can take 5-8 days for the shipment to arrive. If you choose to send yours in first then you are looking at around two weeks to finalize everything.
I opted for an advanced replacement and figured since I had done this on a Wednesday evening at dinner time I would get the replacement Band sometime early the next week.
So imagine my surprise when just 24 hours later I received a shipping notice that my Band was on its way. It had been shipped overnight and arrived just after lunch on Friday – less than 36 hours after initiating the return process. I was suitably impressed to say the least.
You know our opinions of products and services can very much be driven by a single customer service experience like this and I am glad to be able to share this positive experience with you all in case you are in similar situation.
So do you have any customer service experiences you want to share and let us know how they impacted a purchasing decision?
Let us know in the comments