If you’ve ever walked into Home Depot, you’ve probably seen the name Ryobi more than a few times. It’s their in-house line of power tools and accessories. Over the years, I’ve found myself buying a few of their products including drills, saws, sanders, even weed whackers. This summer, one of my garage projects was to refinish two dressers. Of course the first step in the process is to remove the existing finish. Enter the Ryobi Orbital Sander (P410). Things were going along well, until the sander decided to stop cold. I tried to get it going again without any luck. Turns out, the place where the battery connects to the unit had broken, and I needed a new switch assembly. I thought “no problem, I’ll just order a new one from their website and finish the project next weekend.” The part itself was about $11, but the shipping to Canada was $35, leaving me with a bill of nearly $50 to repair a $40 sander.
I quickly sent an email off to the company to see if there was anything we could do to lower the shipping costs (I eventually received a very unhelpful response from the email team). At the same time, I called Official Ryobi Service Centres from Ottawa to Toronto to see if they had the part in stock. I was told several times that the part was on back order and it would be at least a two-week wait.
Seemingly stuck in my situation, I thought I’d reach out to their social media team to see if they could help me. After a few friendly twitter and email exchanges with Brian at Ryobi, it took less than a half-an-hour from my initial tweet to resolving the issue (a replacement sander is on the way courtesy of Ryobi). Here’s how it looked on Twitter:
Through my conversation with Brian, I learned that using Twitter for customer service is rather new for Ryobi (their account was created just about a month ago), but they are definitely doing it the right way. Three key elements of social media customer service that I think Ryobi did particularly well are:
1. Fast response to the initial issue (they had replied to my first tweet in under 10 minutes). A company doesn’t have to fix all of the problems within the first 10 minutes, but a the quick acknowledgement of the issue goes a long way.
2. Friendly service. It pays to be pleasant. I’ve encountered CSRs at other companies who either blame the customer for the issue, or simply refer the customer to a website to learn more about their “policies”. Ryobi was fast, to the point, helpful, and polite.
3. Actually resolving the situation. It appears that Ryobi has empowered its social media team to resolve issues and solve problems. I did not have to be “transferred to another department” or “speak with a supervisor” to get things done. I had a problem, Ryobi fixed it. Simple as that.
Good job, Ryobi.