Why Samsung gets customer service kudos at CES, and Cingular (er AT&T) Las Vegas does not.

While at CES, I ran into the unusual problem of bleeding out not one, but two Samsung Blackjack batteries while at the Hard Rock Hotel sending/receiving SMS messages from pals trying to meet. I was annoyed, but went back to my room and plugged the phone in to sync via USB, shunning travel with an AC power “Wall Wart” to keep my lifestyle streamlined.

When I woke up, I went from annoyed to cranky in realizing my phone batteries still wouldn’t charge. So, I grabbed a cab and went to a Cingular store to pick up a battery. Kept the meter running, it was only going to be a few minutes.

Wrong. They had the car charger, no batteries or AC charger. Told me the corporate store would have one. Interrupt my taxi driver’s lunch and we’re off to the “corporate store”. There I was being “helped” by a customer service rep who seemed to have his heart in the right place, but it was beating so slowly he couldn’t risk moving very fast or he might pass out. Batteries? Nope. AC charger? Nope? Even a backup for a demo unit? None. Call around other stores? Radio Shack would have them. Asked him to call. What about other stores? (By now nearly 40 minutes have gone by and I’m still on the clock for the cab). This is no joke- the closest store out of 12 that had said AC adapter was over 30 minutes away in the Vegas area. My cab driver was getting ready to time out. So I spent a mint on cab fare and had nothing to show for it. I was more than cranky now.

So what did I do? I went back to CES at the LVCC, straight to the Samsung booth and asked for the product manager for the Blackjack. I talked to the PR folks and explained the situation, and was directed to the Product Manager, a nice, Korean gentleman who get this – swapped out his own, fully charged Blackjack battery with me, and then offered to let me use the demo bar to jumpstart my phone! I was in shock. The booth was packed, and he was bending over backwards, from his own personal backpack he pulled the battery. He said he would have offered me a charger but it was back at his hotel.

Now that is customer service. He could have said, “No, sorry, we don’t have one” and moved on. This is why my current TV was a Samsung (which I got the main logic board updated a few years back for only $200 as a special offer for early adopters wanting better controls).

So, a battery translated into a future purchase of ~$2500 for Samsung. Sometimes it pays to pay it forward.

As for Cingular, it’s been a rocky road with them the second time I’ve tried switching to them in three years. First I was overcharged over 2x for the first month, then they didn’t give me the full employee discount. I miss T-Mobile’s service. If only they had cooler phones and 3G, things would be different…

3 responses to “Why Samsung gets customer service kudos at CES, and Cingular (er AT&T) Las Vegas does not.”

  1. Wow, that guy was pretty cool. A PR guy who gets it. Not only might they make a $2500 tv sale, but all of the blogosphere hears about the love you were shown. I hate my 6700 (it’s a BRICK) and have been considering the BlackJack despite the weird layout of the number keys. I think the Dash has the best form (though the keys are small), but I’d rather have 3G if possible. The iPhone looks interesting, but I need a new phone now – the 6700 has got to go.

  2. It’s really nice to see that he offered his own battery, the pr team either really understood what they were getting paid to do, or they really enjoy what they do.

    I can only hope for the latter, I feel stories like this show the good side of corporations, the great people who they are made up of.

  3. I tested this camera for a client. I didn’t have the light running for more than 15 minutes. The battery lasted approximately 6 hours before recharging. The LCD, however, had a few dead pixels – never saw this before. Tried returning for exchange and had to put up quite a fight. Anyone else seen this? http://www.batteryfast.co.uk