Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Customer service

The chain tool on my Topeak Alien Multi-tool broke. I was about to head out to purchase a replacement when I thought, "Why not check out the reviews to see if there are better ones out there?" Whilst browsing, I noticed the entry for the Topeak Alien Multi-tool, and, out of sheer curiosity to find out what other riders thought of my faithful old tool, decided to peruse it. It turned out that many riders had their worn or broken tools replaced by Topeak. Thinking it can't hurt, I decided to give it a try.

After sending an email to Topeak, they directed me to a support site with a novel method of serving customers: an online version of "tickets," which determines who gets served first, and where the requests are directed. It also serves as a repository of the correspondence between customer and service staff.

It took less than 3 minutes to create an account and submit a ticket with a description of my problem:

Subject: Broken Chain Tool

Dear Topeak staff,

Thank you for designing such a great tool. I purchase your original Alien tool a long time ago. Since then, it has helped me out of many sticky situations. It has accompanied me on a 3 week, 1000 mile cycling tour around Java, Indonesia. It is indeed equivalent to having a bike tool shop with you when you ride.

Last night, the chain tool finally gave up the ghost. The threads on both the "pusher" and the silver body of the tool seized up. I used a long rachet to separate the pieces but the chain tool no longer works.

I feel nervous riding around without a chain tool. Is there a program where I can purchase the chain tool sub-assembly? It doesn't look too difficult to swap out.

Thank you and have a nice day.

The ticket was submitted on 2005 Oct 1st Sunday 2230hrs.

The next afternoon, I received a reply, both in my account and my mailbox:

Subject: Replacement mailed


We are placing a replacement part in the mail.

Happy riding!
Juan C. Agudelo

Todson, Inc.
8 Spring Brook Road
PO Box 637
Foxborough, MA 02037
Tel: 800-213-2802x356

No need to fax a copy of my receipt. No mention of limited warranty. No request for me to send in the broken part. No proof of ownership required. No questions. Just speedy service.

BTW, this is not the new Alien II Multi-tool, but the original Alien Multi-tool, which I bought back in 1991 in Singapore. This is Oct 2005.

Is that customer service or what?

Oct 11th 2005: the chain tool sub-assembly replacement for the Alien has arrived.

Run, Ripley! Run!

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