It's not very often that you want to hug a perfect stranger, but wow - I "met" a fellow who works for Delta tools who made me feel exactly that way.
Any time you have 30 or 40 people a month working with your tools, there are bound to be times when things break. It just happens, and for the most part - it's just a part of life in the woodshop. Blades dull, bearings seize, tops rust, belts break... it's just a part of life.
A few of us diagnosed the problem - the speed control module was kaput, and I called the repair hotline to find my nearest Delta service center.
That's where the urge to hug a perfect stranger popped up.
It took a few phone calls to locate the right person, but after I explained my predicament to a customer service rep, she put me in touch with Bob, a supervisor who had the power to help. (I'm not including his last name, in case there is a chance that he could get into hot water for helping me out like this.)
Bob couldn't have been nicer, in fact - he was a fan of lathe work, having done it as a hobby for years. And he explained the parts lockdown that Delta was going through. But he offered some hope to me - saying that he was going to roll up his sleeves and go digging around the Delta warehouse until he found a replacement control module for me.
He'd promised that the module would be on its way the next day, but when he went to dig for it, he found the warehouse closed for the weekend. The Fourth of July holiday put a hold on his snooping on the warehouse. I spent the weekend wondering if he was going to come through - would he remember his promise?
And sure enough, the next week, he sent me a message about a package heading my way.
My machine came back from the repair shop partially disassembled,
and the inside of the control module was a jumble of wires.
Some people can take one look at this mess and know right where every wire is supposed to be connected. Not me. I've repaired tools before and royally screwed them up, so I've learned to take pictures and notes of how things should be reassembled.
It took about a thirty minutes to button everything back together - and WHAM! - the lathe was working like new!
In this day and age, where everything is run by the book, and things are so tightly managed, it is refreshing to "meet" someone like Bob, willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help a customer. Like I mentioned earlier - I didn't want to mention his name, in the off chance that he could get into hot water for solving this problem in a unique way. But if you need a compassionate Delta contact for a problem you're having, let me know and I'll get you in touch with him.
But I'll tell you what I think - he should be commended and rewarded for going out of his way. Companies should empower their employees to solve problems on their own, it cuts through red tape and earns them a customer for life. (My own hometown company - Zappos does this with their customer service reps and it's a very successful management strategy.)
I don't often meet people like Bob - helpful and willing to cut through red tape to give great customer service. But I'm thankful I did. Nice job Delta - he's is a huge asset to your team.