Do you know about Nest? The company was formed in 2010 by a couple of former Apple engineers. Today, Nest is on the leading edge of home automation technology, specializing in wifi-connected devices like thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras.
This past summer my wife and I purchased the Nest Learning Thermostat. The big draw for us, aside from the $75 rebate from our utility company, was the fact that the Nest Learning Thermostat can automatically switch between cooling and heating. Anyone who has lived a few seasons in the upper Midwest (we’re from Michigan) can attest to the fact that one minute you might be running the furnace and the next you might be blasting the air conditioner. This is especially true when summer turns to fall. The unit also came with all sorts of other neat features. As far as thermostats go, it felt like a game changer.
Installation and setup for the Nest Learning Thermostat was a breeze. Before long the thermostat was fully trained, learning how to smartly adjust the temperature based on our previous use. And since the thermostat is wifi-enabled, it also allowed us to change our settings from either our Nest smartphone app or from a computer with internet access. It was keeping our home cozy on chilly September nights and keeping things cool as temperatures peaked during the day. We were very happy with the purchase.
Fast forward to mid-December. Our Nest thermostat was having a hard time maintaining a connection to our wifi network. While the thermostat still told the furnace when to turn on and off, all wifi-related capabilities were lost. No more cranking up the heat from the comfort of the couch. And nothing else in the house, from computers to tablets to smart TVs, had any wifi issues, so it had to be a problem with the thermostat.
Not being a fan of cumbersome customer care interactions, I held out hope that whatever glitch was occurring would somehow fix itself, but day after day the incessant “Offline” message remained. So it came time to call Nest’s customer care.
Turns out the process was anything but cumbersome. For starters, a person answered the phone. Yes, a real person. No IVR. No pushing buttons. The agent was polite and professional. But more importantly, it was clear that they valued my time. After quickly explaining the situation, the Nest agent cut right to the chase. I was not even two minutes into the call, and this is what I heard: “Sounds like the wifi card in the thermostat has failed. We’re very sorry about that, but we’d like to send you a replacement at no cost. Can I get your address?”
Wait. What? No arguing? No exhaustive troubleshooting? No run around? No pulling teeth to get a replacement? No “Send us the old one, and we’ll send you the new one”? Was it really as straight forward as it sounded? It was. I gave the agent our address, and, sure enough, two days later, a new thermostat arrived via priority mail. We plugged it in, set it up, and we were back online.
So why was customer care with Nest such a breeze? Maybe the wifi problem was such a common issue that they had figured out a way to streamline the process. Maybe, as a newly formed company, Nest had the luxury of designing their customer service based on a platform of ease. Regardless of the reason, Nest made resolving the problem easy and quick. In fact, they won our loyalty all over again during the process. We had already loved the product, but now we loved the service, too.