Thinking Tech

Smart customer service requires follow-through

Smart customer service requires follow-through

Posting in Technology

I'm not mad enough to write a song "DeWALT doesn't know where my drill is" and post it on Youtube like Dave Carroll did when United broke his guitar. by John Dodge

Two months ago, a battery charger for a 12 volt DeWALT drill of mine literally fried. I was working along the edge of a river when I smelled acrid electric fumes and thought I might be upwind of a boat fire. I turned around and smoke was pouring out of the charger. It was close to catching fire.

I sent the charred charger (model 9146) to a DeWALT service center suspecting they probably don't carry it anymore. After all, 12-volt cordless drills have been replaced by more powerful 14, 18 and 24-volt units. But without the charger, I was stuck with a perfectly good drill that didn't work.

DeWALT's 12V cordless drill

To my surprise and delight, a guy named Al (not his real name) from DeWALT called about two weeks later and said if I sent in the drill and batteries, they'd replace the whole thing with an equivalent unit free of charge. I was very pleased needless to say.  "DeWALT stands behind its products," Al said on the phone. Free stuff! Indeed!

It's been three weeks since I sent in the old drill and the new one has not arrived. I've made several inquiries, but no one seems to know exactly what is going on. A couple of days ago, a guy at the service center said the replacement has been back-ordered from Texas. He didn't know anything else and didn't offer any advice on finding out more.

Well, Texas is a big state with a lot of stuff in it. I considered the response pretty vague. Unfortunately, Al has been out of works for past few days so I have not been able to reach him.

I'm not mad enough to write a song "DeWALT doesn't know where my drill is" and post it on Youtube like Dave Carroll did when United broke his guitar. By the way, his "United Breaks Guitars" song and Youtube video is up to 4,671,759 views and it's been up barely a month. What's more, he's about to release a second of three songs about his ordeal. "United Breaks Guitars" has put him on the map and has been a brilliant strategy.

Goodness, DeWALT is giving me a free drill which I have confidence will arrive sooner or later. So I have nowhere near the beef with DeWALT that Carroll had with United.

I searched "DeWALT customer service" on Twitter to see if others are having problems. That didn't yield much except tool sales from a handful of dealers, one of which uses scantily clad women as visual props. That says a lot of tool buyers!

DeWALT doesn't seem to have discovered Twitter nor have its customers. Only a smattering of DeWALT dealers have along with people that have the name Dewalt. I'm not mad at DeWALT. It makes good products and the folks at the service center are helpful, polite and are under 10,000 miles away. One has promised to get back to me and track down my free drill. If he doesn't, the refrain of Raymond E. Dewalt who founded the company in 1922 will burn in my ears: "You buy a machine and what you really get is satisfaction, entire satisfaction."

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John Dodge

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor John Dodge has written for the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, PC Week (now eWeek), EDN, Design News, Electronic Business, Bio-IT World, Health-IT World, Lowell Sun, Haverhill Gazette and Newburyport Daily News. He is based in Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure