It really is a shame that company bosses can take such a poor attitude to after-sales customer service in today’s market of high-expectations and fickle customers.Viral and verbal marketing is everything – and ensuring that customers want to talk about your product and service is probably more important that the product or service in the first place.

Even when the product of service is outstanding – if the after-sale care that you receive is below par it can easily destroy all the good work done. Let me give you an example:

Several months ago we purchased a kitchen from Decor1988 – after a long time searching for a kitchen. Decor’s attitude to pre-sales was very friendly, no, outstanding – which was a pleasant change given other high-street names that we had spoken to.

Decor1988 fitters were also outstanding – as a team nothing was too much problem. They were excellent at what they did, and how they fitted the kitchen. They even went the extra mile (on several occasions) to fix areas of the kitchen that were seemingly not under their control – such as replacing unlevel plaster-work so as to ensure that the finish was perfect!

We were so impressed that we immediately recommended them to others – and one of our neighbours even had their kitchen refitted on the back of the work that was done in our house!

However since the kitchen has been completed we are now in that period of post-sales customer service care; that so many companies let fail them. Decor1988 seem to have fallen into this trap as well.

We had to wait weeks for a several parts that had either not turned up, were incorrect or had been originally damaged – and we had to be the ones that chased for this.

Unfortunately this week we also noticed a slow leak that had appeared in the cavity walling in the utility room. The leak has (over a period of time I believe) completely saturated the plasterboard where the ceiling meets the wall from the inside out. The pipe that was causing the leak is the hot-water pipe that was directly worked on when the kitchen was fitted. No other work has been carried out on that area since – and it was decorated the week after the kitchen was fitted, and was all well then.

What has been upsetting and subsequently ruined the reputation that I have with Decor1988 is their attitude to customer service. Some would’ve tried to claim 100% of the repair bill from the fitters – but I would like to believe we are more reasonable than that. Some acceptance of responsibility, a more importantly a hand of help in fixing the problem would have been fantastic. However Decor1988 response was to categorical deny any responsibility or show any willing to help resolve the issue; when clearly the leak is on a pipe that was directly worked on during the fitting and has happened since the fitting. The company’s position is that the leak is the ultimately the result of a bad joint – and they cannot be held responsible for fixing defects in the original build – yet their fitter’s approach was to say, “that wall is uneven and will ultimately make the finish sub-standard – don’t worry, we’ll replace it for you now. no charge!”

At the end of the day, the damage is minimal, contained to a small area and seemingly easy to fix and repair – and our house insurance will probably cover it all. However it just astounds me as to how one company’s approach to after-sales service can undo such outstanding work!

As I said to the Paul, the owner of Decor1988, “your pre-sales is great, your fitter’s workmanship is outstanding, your kitchen is great – but your negative approach to customer service has just ruined a great reputation”.

Maybe it’s better to have an average service, with an average service, followed up with average customer service. That way your expectation is expectedly ‘average’. It might just be but if I receive excellent pre-sales and service from a company – I invariably expect excellent after-sales – and when your expectations are built up to a high-level and then so quick knocked down it comes as a big disappointment.

It’s a shame really!