Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great Customer Service

I had an experience that, for me, represents the pinnacle of customer service. It didn't include a chirpy, happy soul on the phone line, nor a massive knowledge base on a website...

I recently purchased a Vermona DRM1 Mk2 analog drum module from a fella on Muff Wiggler's site. When it got here, it worked great, but after a few months one of the DRUM channels started acting flaky. I did a little mechanical research (pressing and pulling on all the knobs and buttons) and found that the volume jack was sketchy - it would only sound out when you were pushing VERY HARD on the shaft. Obviously not a good call.

I had relatively few options: I could try to pay a repair guy to fix it, send it to a dealer for an unknown period of time, or fix it myself. I chose Door Three. Pulling open the device, I hit the pot's leads with a little new solder, but this made no difference. I would need to replace the part. But the pots were some oddball board-mounted mini-pots, and I really didn't have a source for such a thing. So I decided to take a chance with contacting Vermona.

I used their web form (at 2am...) to tell them what I'd done, how I'd debugged the issue, and which part I'd need. The next morning, I had an email sitting in my Inbox that said "Give me your address and I'll ship you a pot". My response? "Yeah, right."

But I sent in my mailing address and, lo and behold, a week later there was a package in my mailbox with not one, but two pots. I got them put into my system today, and it works a champ.

Things that you will notice about this experience:

- Vermona (in fact, Thomas Haller) never questioned my debugging; rather, he trusted my analysis.

- Thomas also didn't ask me about how technically savvy I was. He assumed that if I was asking for a pot, I might know what a pot was.

- I never got the "No user-serviceable parts" or "Take it to a repair depot" B.S. He assumed that I'd do well on my own.

- He didn't try to charge me anything; in fact, he never even asked me where I'd bought the unit. It was a Vermona, and he was going to stand behind it.

- The was complete (in fact, over-complete) follow-through. He said he'd ship me a pot, and he shipped me two. Given the turnaround, he must have shipped it out that same day.

If there is any question why I might be in love with something like the Vermona instead of something like an Akai MPC-5000, this is one of the answers...



  1. I've had a succession of air-mailed packages from Brian @ Monome over the years, containing replacement parts, USB kit and a variety of allen keys. Ditto Colin at Sequentix with upgrade kits for the P3 sequencer. Obviously a small-company, hand-made-kit thing.

  2. I’m applauding Thomas Haller for what he did for you. That was truly great customer service! Having worked in customer relations myself, I think I understand why he did what he did. We were taught to make sure the customer was SATISFIED, whether or not we thought they were right. On my last day at the job, I got a call from someone whose unit had just spontaneously stopped working. We talked for about 20 minutes, which is much longer than the average call to my department should usually be, but it was enough for him to ask for my supervisor just so he could tell him what a great job I had done for him. His unit hadn’t been fixed at the end of it, but I had done what I could from my end to make up for it, and he totally appreciated that.

    - Jeremiah Hicks