Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The best customer service ever. No, really.

This morning I went in to get Seth out of his crib (which he will be staying in until he's fifteen, for the record). He patted his ears excitedly and I said "We're going to put your CI's on! Hang on!" Then he yelled at me in gibberish like he does when I don't immediately scream "How high?" when he says "Jump!"

You might understand the rest of this post more if you check something I posted a while back explaining the pieces to Seth's equipment. Click here to see it. 

I got his processors on him and noticed right away something was off. Usually, when Seth's CI's are connected, they blink green. Then when they are disconnected, they blink red. Today, they were blinking red appropriately, but not blinking green at all. I kept trying to trick Seth and get far enough away to test his hearing with the ling sounds without his vision being involved, but that boy is on me like white on rice. He's a stage 5 clinger, for real. 

After I fiddled with things and switched out the headpieces and batteries (which didn't help), I pulled out his back up processors and tried those. Seth started nodding immediately, which, to me, indicated that he was hearing better. 

So that basically fixed the problem, which proved there was a problem, because his primary and back up processors are mapped identically, and should have behaved identically. I thought I'd try out the problematic processors again before I called customer service, and so I went to pull the headpiece (the magnet that attaches to Seth's head) out of one back up processor and plug it back into a primary processor.

Which is when the part of the headpiece "plug" if you will, snapped off inside the processor. I was actually kind of shocked...while there are some little things that happen pretty regularly with a toddler and small, expensive electronic equipment, this particular issue had never happened before. I couldn't get the broken piece out no matter what I had broken off completely flush to the processor. Of course, that made one of Seth's "back up" (read: working) processors useless, too. 

So out of 4 processors, two primary and two back up, Seth was suddenly down to one that worked. That's not the best odds. I called Advanced Bionics Customer Service and they answered within about two rings...a real person, which is one of my favorite things about calling them. 

I told the representative that my son was having some issues with his equipment, and she asked his name. I gave it to her, and she immediately started laughing. 

"Oh, Seth! What did he do now?"

I can't decide whether I am embarrassed or impressed that the customer service rep that happened to pick up the phone today knew my son as soon as I said his name and also immediately knew he was trouble with a capital T. (This actually happened the last time we called, too.) Right now I'm going to go with impressed. 

Within two minutes she had set up overnight delivery for the processor and headpiece to replace the ones that had broken off, chit chatting about Seth the whole time, and had me talking to technical support to try to get the original two working again. When that (equally lovely) lady asked me if I thought Seth's primary processors were getting sound to him, I hemmed and hawed a little. 

"Well, he's two, so he's not the best reporter." I said. "But when I put the back ups on him he started nodding a lot and pointing to his ears, so..." I trailed off, not sure what that proved.

"You know what? We're going to go with that. We have to go off his cues, and I'd rather send you out new processors that we know work than worry about him not hearing."

And that's how, after one short, pleasant conversation, three new processors and a head piece were being overnighted to Seth, complete with programming emailed from his Audiologist so that we don't have to go into her office 45 minutes away to get his new processors set up. 

They didn't make me send the broken things in first, they didn't question me at all, they're sending his equipment overnight from California...they were nothing but nice and wonderful. And this isn't even close to the first time I've had to call about an issue, and they fix it like this every time. Every single time.

Sometimes I thank my lucky stars for going with Advanced Bionics, I really do. I mean, everyone I know is basically happy with their implant company choice, which is great. But I...I am in love with our implant company. I would marry it, I would. For real. And that's why I'm writing this gushy love letter on the internet, because most people, myself included, remember to complain but forget to praise. 

And a company that is run in a way that makes me feel happy every time I hang up the phone after talking to them, whose workers I have had the privilege of getting to know and whose implants I have watched being built...well, that's a company I'm proud to be a part of. 

Over a year and a half ago, when I was still tossing and turning over our implant choice, I received an email from someone I'd never met. She had read my blog, and she worked for Advanced Bionics and had heard that I was leaning in that direction for Seth. Here is a small part of what she said:

"I've also started praying for his device that will be being built in the
next few weeks. The technology is amazing, and I pray that God will be
able to use that to open new doors for Seth and your family."

For me, that sealed the deal. I can't quite explain it, but  it just felt right. Advanced Bionics was the right choice for our family, for Seth, and that email finally let me relax and just feel peace about our choice. 

And every step of the way, in words, actions, and deeds, the people there have kept me feeling that peace. 

And that's some amazing customer service. 
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