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A Wise but Shortsighted Decision

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

It recently became time to replace our 24-year old furnace.  As the installer wrapped up his work, he began teaching about the critical aspects of carbon monoxide detection. 

I had placed our lone detector where the furnace and water heater were located; detecting the poisonous gas at its source, I had reasoned, was the ideal solution.  Apparently, not so; there should be one in each bedroom.

A few weeks later, I had purchased and installed two new units of the brand he recommended.  Content that we were now safe (at least from carbon monoxide poisoning), I sat down to read that manual of my new devices.

Aside from helpful information about detection, harmful levels, and appropriate responses to an alarm, I was dismayed to learn that I should replace the unit after seven years.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

I read on and became further agitated.  After seven years, the unit will emit a warning beep every 30 seconds, alerting me to replace it.

On the part of the manufacturer, that is a smart move.  Not only will they have an opportunity to sell me replacement products in a few years, but they also limit their liability by effectively removing aging units from use.

It is also shortsighted.  When a unit starts beeping, few people will immediately jump in their car and buy a replacement.  No, they will unplug it to stop the annoying beeping.

Even more confounding is the realization that my units, being installed at the same time, will start beeping at the same time, and will be unplugged at the same time.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Sticky Customer Service, to uncover helpful customer service tips, encouraging you to do better and celebrating what you do best.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his carer. Recurring themes included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management. He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books and posts.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

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