Monday, January 4, 2010

nook / Barnes and Noble Customer Service

One person's experience is obviously not indicative of a company's customer and technical support - but I did have occasion to contact Barnes and Noble for an issue with my nook, and can relate the experience.

When I received my nook, there was a small spot of maybe 3-4 pixels that were "stuck on". It was barely visible, but obviously made my nook less than perfect, so I was determined to fix or replace it. I went ahead and turned the nook completely off and back on, and then opened some books and paged forward a few times which refreshed the screen a bit, to no avail. With my finger I gently touched the screen to make sure it wasn't dirt or something stuck on the screen (it wasn't), and I set out to call Barnes and Noble.

My call was answered pretty quickly (I do understand this was not the case on December 26th, no doubt thanks to the tens of thousands of new nook owners unwrapping their gifts on that date - but this was a few days before Christmas). I was immediately transferred to a nook-specific help line, with the friendly (and seemingly American based) customer service rep both giving me their toll free number for future reference, and transferring the call for me.

This wait was also just a couple of minutes, and the (again seemingly American based) representative was very helpful. He did one thing that many tech support representatives don't do - he listened! When I explained I had already rebooted my nook he didn't make me do it again anyway (Dell, I'm looking at you). He asked if the nook was near anything metallic and especially magnetized, as he said that can affect the screen. Once I confirmed that it was not, he created an RMA.

Their RMA process is excellent. They do an "advanced replacement", which works as follows:
  1. They take a credit card number "in case you don't return your old nook". Feel free to use a debit card as they don't pre-authorize or put any holds on the card, they merely take the information.
  2. They issue you a return label via email to allow you to return the nook at their expense.
  3. The send out a new nook and promise a turnaround time of 3 business days. Mine took a bit longer, but in fairness, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's day were all a factor here. The turnaround time of 3 days seems to be to ship, not receive your replacement, and mine was shipped UPS Ground (hence the extra time).
Ironically, my initial Kindle had a screen blemish as well, and their process is extremely similar.


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