Garmin finds its way to better service

By | January 23rd, 2016

Our help forum is brimming with issues of defective products and broken agreements.

Jerry Cee recently reminded us that premium customer service is more than just fixing things and also includes a personal touch to help and guide after the product purchase.

A new owner of a Garmin Golf GPS, Cee found himself with a significant technology learning curve, along with technical difficulties. No one likes dealing with defective products. Add bloated instruction manuals, intricate learning curves, and the burden of navigating customer service monoliths.

Garmin not only replaced his unit, but also patiently guided Cee step-by-step through the instructions.

With more of our population growing up in a world saturated with electronics and Internet, we forget that only two decades ago, most of us did not even have cell phones, laptops, or digital cameras, let alone mobile GPS that shows and tells you where you are. Back then it was just a secret military experiment. My kids don’t even believe me.

When was the last time anyone read the entire manual to a decent digital camera? Even if something works as it should, we may be too busy learning to operate it to notice – and are left floundering and abandoned after they have our money.

Not with Garmin, which seems to appreciate a loyal customer.

“I have had three Garmin auto GPS units in the last several years. And more recently bought a Garmin Golf GPS unit,” said Cee. “Every time I had a problem, or could not figure how to work something, they patiently answered my questions and in one case even followed up to ensure the problem was resolved.”

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Cee courageously came clean about admitting he is a member of the “youth-challenged” demographic, requiring a certain level of effort to catch up.

He explains succinctly and elegantly, “Defective item? No problem. Returned for exchange. If an old guy like me can’t figure something out, again, no problem. I write and call, and easily get patient and understandable help.”

Repairing something properly that should have worked right in the first place should not be noteworthy, yet it happens infrequently enough that it unfortunately is. Garmin has a one-year limited warranty, which is not unreasonable. Out-of-warranty products are repaired at a predetermined rate commensurate with the model.

What impressed Cee the most was that Garmin went beyond this obligation to invest in a longer term relationship by replacing or repairing the unit out of warranty. The best part for him was they simply cared enough to be easily accessible to help with questions and advice.

“This may not seem amazing to you but consider that most of my questions were answered after the warranty period was over,” he said. “The most amazing thing, however, is they even replaced parts after the warranty was over. To my mind that is beyond just good customer service, but great customer service.”

I will let Cee conclude this just as I would, since I could not have said it better. “If only more companies treated their clients in this manner, perhaps they, too, would benefit from the same customer loyalty that I have for Garmin,” says Cee. “Not only that, but I make a point of telling everyone of my great experience with them.”

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This story originally appeared June 1, 2015.

  • VoR61

    Garmin goes even further. When our 4 year old GPS died, I called and was told they would give us 50% off on a new one up to $100. We did and paid just $130 for a 5 inch model. They were also helpful in understanding the technology behind the Traffic feature (you need their power cable to see traffic on the GPS).

  • judyserienagy

    Lovely story, Andrew. I had the same kind of positive experience with SkyRoam, a portable WiFi gizmo. I couldn’t even figure out how to turn it on … the SkyRoam people were just wonderful making sure that I could get it up and running, and followed up after a trip to Croatia to see if I was able to use it successfully. So refreshing to deal with a company who cares about their customers.

  • LonnieC

    “Instruction Manual”??? Where do you get those things? Most items I buy now have a few page “get started” booklet. A real Instruction Manual is, at best, available online, if I’m lucky, or I can buy a “… for Dummeys” book somewhere.

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