Customer Service Stories — Part II

WAIT BEFORE JOINING WEIGHT WATCHERS? 

So my wife and her best friend enrolled in Weight Watchers (WW) this fall. To motivate her friend, my wife added both to her account. I understand, they both wanted to develop better eating habits and ultimately lose a little weight. I thought it was a good idea, especially if they regularly attend and got some value out of the meetings and their support system. My bad for not understanding the costs and fee structure involved in their newest service.

Anyway, it’s March 8 and my wife decides to cancel the enrollment for both of them in lieu of irregular attendance and lack of commitment to the program. Because they had not been attending and other things took priority, we felt it might be good to stop the bleeding and cut ties until one is truly committed to this service. Out of curiosity, I inquired on the fee and her response was, “It was $40 per month.” My gut response, “that’s a lot, $40 per month for two – I wondered the cost if you don’t attend every session?” She said, “You don’t understand, it’s $40 per person per month regardless of your attendance.”

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. I remember a few years ago when it was $6 to $8 per meeting with no monthly fee. You could commit to the program and for whatever reason miss a few meeting without feeling obligated to get your money’s worth. At $40 per month,, or about $10 per meeting, missing meetings due to weather issues, health challenges, or busy with family or work responsibilities may eventually lead to money not being well spent.

So she canceled their memberships in early March and were charged for the entire month. It reminds me of a fitness club membership although with the fitness club, you may have to commit to an entire year. I’m relieved you don’t have to commit to Weight Watchers for a six or twelve month period, so regardless of when you cancel during a given month, you’re only obliged to pay through that particular month.

Because my wife has used WW periodically over the last 25 years, I’m interested to see if/how they’ll reach out to her. Would it be worth their time? Customer centric? Could that input be extremely valuable as they move forward with their service plans?

GRAND APPLIANCE SERVICE EVALUATION

So $100 for the service call and then a $75 per hour rate after that for a 3 year old refrigerator that cost nearly $2,000. When it leaks every so often and the plan is to install wood floors, it’s time to get it fixed.

So Larry came out from Grand Service and quickly diagnosed the problem. The drain had frozen under the coils so none of the water could exit through the drain. Larry fixed it within 20 minutes although I was charged the full rate minus $10. Anyway, as he was leaving my driveway as the snow was melting, he drove his white conversion van over about one foot of my sod/snow and proceeded to make brown snow where once sod was trying to make a comeback. I’d like to ask if he had to park in my driveway with such a large vehicle but I digress – back to a leaky fridge.

After Larry had left, I smelled a strong odor from the fridge and couldn’t determine the origin. In fact, I slightly smelled an odor as he unclogged the drain. Being concerned as the odor got worse, I called Grand Service and left a message for Larry who promptly returned my call.

He said there might be dust that had been accumulating and now that the drain is free, the odor may smell for a few days. Actually, it smelled for 7 days. He said it’s common for the fridge to smell after unclogging the drain. If it had been so common after unclogging a drain, why doesn’t he follow a template so he could forewarn customers of this issue? Look, he was quite competent in diagnosing and addressing the issue – I just wish his customer service had been more proactive and included a better outline of the potential length and smell of this odor.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.