ASUS motherboardWe all know that good business has to also mean good customer service. But obviously ASUS Australia haven’t heard about this good business practice. My recent experience is proof of the pudding on that for sure!

Recently we purchased an ASUS Motherboard brand new from their local supplier, unfortunately for us we took delivery the day before the Queensland storms which resulted in flooding over much of our state including the Sunshine Coast where we live and Brisbane where our suppliers main offices and storage are.

It was also a Friday, the Friday before the Australia Day holiday, so after unpacking the motherboard in preparation for installation, my very techy son noticed that there was a problem with it, a bent pin and he said, “I am packing this right back up we cannot install it like this.” We then had to wait until the public holiday was over and rang the 1800 number to talk to our supplier, and it wasn’t working at all. So we took the boxed ASUS motherboard back into the local store of our supplier and they told us the bad news. Head office was completely flooded, if we wanted to get a replacement we would have to contact ASUS Australia directly.

Easier said than done, we found, as ASUS Australia obviously don’t want to be found, but find them we did a couple of days later and lodged a formal complaint and request for a replacement on their online form. A day later we finally got a reply to contact Brian Lim, which we did via email detailing the reason we were contacting them directly:

“I bought a new motherboard on Friday 25th January (2013) and after opening the box I found that the CPU socket was damaged (not caused by myself having never touched it). Upon seeing this damage I immediately repacked the motherboard into it’s box and contacted my re-seller, however due to flood damage in the coastal Queensland area they are unable to assist me with a replacement and asked me to contact ASUS Australia directly.”

The reply was to the effect to contact ‘name of reseller’, obviously he did read the email!

A few more emails back and forward and then nothing. So a day or two of waiting and I had had enough, I rang the local ASUS Service Centre – this young man with a thick accent kept telling me ‘that’s a lie, that’s a lie’ in no uncertain terms, when I told him we had been advised to contact them directly because ‘our reseller’ was wiped out temporairly due to the floods. I asked him for a direct phone number to someone we could talk to at head office and he just kept saying, “we cannot help you” over and over. Not helpful at all! and for future reference telling a customer who has a legitimate problem they are lying is not ok!!

So I dug deep and finally found a phone number for Brian Lim the man we had been emailing and who was noticeably absent, I called. It was not Brian who answered, he was away on holidays (nice and thank you to leave us in suspense while you are away on holidays Brian you do know we have no computer at the moment and we really would like to get it going again!!!!!!)

So as I tried to speak to Jun (not sure if that’s his name) Brian’s replacement another thick accent and told I was wrong, and even after my telling the short story of why I was calling him he said take it back to your supplier. Ummm… again they are flooded out and cannot help and they told us to contact you directly for a quicker response (not so far). “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Jun said impatiently. “we have not received it here!”

“That’s because we don’t have an arrangement with you to send it yet” I replied.

“Take it back to your supplier and they will send it to us,” restated Jun.

“No! listen to me! our supplier head office is flooded out in Queensland and are shut down for about a month, we need a replacement now.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, send me an email and I will issue a RPL Number and just follow the instructions when we email it to you.” clunk! gone yes he hung up without notice.

So we did and we have sent the motherboard back to them, with a paid Australia Post tracking on it so that we know when it arrives and is received by them, you can understand why I don’t trust them at all to do the right thing. $250 worth of motherboard, brand spanking new out of the box and it is broken, it has already cost me over 2 weeks in lost computer time, nearly $30 to send it back to them and 2 long distance phone calls, plus the horrible aggravation of being called a liar, and hung up on when I am worried we won’t be able to get a replacement and how long this all going to take.

I bet they do this hoping people will just purchase another item out of sheer frustration and stop trying to get a replacement.

Well not this little black duck! Look out ASUS I am on your case and there will be more stories going out over the waves into all my numerous accoutnts, RSS and social media until this is resolved.

If you want a good name you better pick up your act and put some customer service into your business, someone who will listen and be nice when someone has spent their hard earned cash on one of your products only to unpack it and find it defective.

I notice there are a lot of complaints about ASUS on all the IT forums, so just for your edification take note of these good customer service tips:

1. Answer your phone.

Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. (Notice I say “someone”. People who call want to talk to a live person, not a fake “recorded robot”.) For more on answering the phone.

2. Don’t make promises unless you will keep them.

Not plan to keep them. Will keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you say, “Your new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday”, make sure it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, don’t say it. The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc.. Think before you give any promise – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.

ASUS FAIL – The jury is still out on this one

3. Listen to your customers.

Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? From a customer’s point of view, I doubt it. Can the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer talk and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.

ASUS FAIL – not one of them listened or even seemed to have read our story and repeatedly got things wrong.

4. Deal with complaints.

No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your focus and attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.

ASUS FAIL – there was no attention at all given to our immediate problem, we were treated like a nuisance.

5. Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it.

ASUS FAIL – not helpful at all and it took us over a week to even get to the point where we could finally send and track the motherboard back to ASUS for some kind of resolution.

6. Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.

Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly.

ASUS FAIL – wow! you really need to train some staff on how to talk to customers, especially those who have a legitimate problem.

7. Go the extra mile.

Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other people.

ASUS FAIL – so far no extra at all in fact as little as possible of everything from them, not listening, not interested, not helpful….

8. Throw in something extra.

Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don’t think that a gesture has to be large to be effective.

ASUS FAIL – I’m not holding my breath that’s for sure even though we buy ASUS and I have an ASUS laptop and so has my brother, so even though we are good customers so far nothing.

If you apply these simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service.

Good or bad, customer service leaves an indelible impression on potential and existing customers, even in today’s fast paced, technological environment. And truth be told, most folks will endure more, pay more, and show fierce loyalty for courteous treatment, small perks, and the feeling of being valued. Whether it’s a liberal “return policy” at a store, businesses that acknowledge and reward your “relationship anniversary” with them, or service with a smile.