I bloody love Bose. I never owned any of their equipment – it’s always seemed a little overpriced to me – but their customer service is great. They keep giving me stuff.
My wife has a pair of QuietComfort 3 headphones. She thinks that they’re great. But we often need to get replacement parts for them. And that’s where I come into contact with Bose customer service.
Early in 2009 when she hadn’t had the headphones for long, she was wearing them walking down a really crowded street. Something happened and somehow the cable connecting the headphones to her iPod got tangled around someone else’s arm and both plugs came out of their sockets. Before she knew it she had no sound as the cable vanished off down the street.
I assumed that replacing the cable wouldn’t be a problem. But it turns out that Bose cables had non-standard plugs on them. So I had to go into the Bose shop on Regent St. They didn’t have any in stock, but in the storeroom the staff found a cable that had been used for demonstrations – which they just gave me. For free.
About a year later, my wife started to worry that she might lose the cable again and decided that she wanted a replacement. This time I wasn’t working near a Bose shop so I decided to order it from their web site. I got an email from customer support saying that the cable was out of stock but that they had an almost new cable that had been returned by a customer that they would send me for no charge. They said that they would cancel my original order.
Within a couple of days I received my second free headphone cable in the post.
But a few days later I got an email saying that my original order was about to be dispatched. I contacted customer service and reminded them that they were going to cancel the order. They apologised and said that it was too late to cancel the order now so they would refund my money and I should just keep the cable when it arrived “as a gesture of goodwill”.
So a few days later we received our third free headphone cable.
About a month ago, my wife decided that she wanted replacements for the cushions that go over your ears. I should point out that these are not ear-bud headphones. They are pretty large. The replacement cushions cost £20.
This week I finally remembered to go into the Bose shop in Westfield to buy them. The helpful woman behind the counter went off to the storeroom to find me some. A few minutes later she returned and reported that they didn’t seem to have any in stock. But she did have a pair which had been used for demonstrations that she was happy to let me have for free.
So that’s three cables and one pair of replacement cushions that we’ve got from Bose and we haven’t paid for any of them. Which is why I love Bose.
I was going to finish by saying that I didn’t understand how Bose could make any profit if they give this stuff away at the drop of a hat. But the answer is obvious. The original kit costs so much that it doesn’t matter in the slightest if they give the replacement accessories away.
I think that’s a great business model.