Legendary Tales of Customer Experience: The Roomba That Went Bump in The Night

By Nancy Parra
on 17 January 2019

Customer experiences happen every minute of every day. Some of them are so good they create stories that people tell their family and friends. Repeatable stories of excellent customer experiences help businesses grow. We want to highlight such stories to help you think about your customer experiences. This guest post is the next in an ongoing series of stories about how innovative businesses create a customer experience that surprises, delights, and grows their brand through customer advocacy. Have a story you want to share? Contact us here.

When the Unthinkable Happens

So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It’s taken me until now to wrap my head around it and find the words to describe the horror. It started off simple enough – something that’s probably happened to most of you.

Sometime between midnight and 1:30 a.m., our puppy pooped a massive poop on our rug in the living room. This is the only time she’s done this, so it’s probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night. Now, if you have a detective’s mind, you may be wondering how we know the poop occurred between midnight and 1:30 a.m. We were asleep, so how do I know that time frame?

Why, friends, that’s because our Roomba runs at 1:30 a.m. every night, while we sleep. And it found the poop. And so begins the Pooptastrophe. The poohpocalypse. The pooppening.

If you have a Roomba, please rid yourself of all distractions and absorb everything I’m about to tell you.

A Cautionary Tale

Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop. If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle. Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. Our lovable Roomba, who gets a careful cleaning every night, looked like it had been mudding. Yes, mudding — like what you do with a Jeep on a pipeline road. But in poop.

Then, when your kid gets up at 3 a.m. to crawl into your bed, you’ll wonder why she smells like dog poop. And you’ll walk into the living room. And you’ll wonder why the floor feels slightly gritty. And you’ll see a brown-encrusted, vaguely Roomba-shaped thing sitting in the middle of the floor with a glowing green light like everything’s okay. Like it’s proud of itself. You were still half-asleep until this point, but now you wake up pretty damn quickly.

And then the horror. Oh, the horror.

Sleep Deprived Mistake

So first, you clean the child. You scrub the poop off her feet and put her back in bed. But you don’t bother cleaning your own feet, because you know what’s coming. It’s inevitable, and it’s coming at you like a freight train. Some folks would shrug their shoulders and get back in bed to deal with it in the morning. But you’re not one of those people – you can’t go to sleep with that war zone of poop in the living room.

So you clean the Roomba. You toss it in the bathtub to let it soak. You pull it apart, piece-by-piece, wondering at what point you became an adult and assumed responsibility for 3:30 a.m. Roomba-disassembly-poop-cleanups. By this point, the poop isn’t just on your hands – it’s smeared up to your elbows. You already heard the Roomba make that “whirlllllllllllllllll-boop-hisssssssss” noise that sounds like electronics dying, and you realize you forgot to pull the battery before getting it wet. More on that later.

The Horror Continues

Oh, and you’re not just using profanity – you’re inventing new types of profanity. You’re saying things that would make Satan shudder in revulsion. You hope your kid stayed in bed because if he hears you talking like this, there’s no way he’s not ending up in prison.

Then you get out the carpet shampooer. When you push it up to the rug – the rug that started it all – the shampooer just laughs at you. Because that rug is going in the trash, folks. But you shampoo it anyway because your wife loved that damn rug, and you know she’ll ask if you tried to clean it first.

Then you get out the paper towel rolls, idly wondering if you should invest in paper towel stock, and you blow through three or four rolls wiping up poop. Then you get the spray bottle with bleach water and hose down the floorboards to let them soak because the poop has already dried. Then out comes the steam mop, and you take care of those 25-ft poop trails.

And then, because it’s 6 a.m., you go to bed. Let’s finish this tomorrow, right?

What Do You Do Now?

The next day, you finish taking the Roomba apart, scraping out all the tiny flecks of poop, and after watching a few Youtube instructional videos, you remove the motherboard to wash it with a toothbrush. Then you bake it in the oven to dry. You put it all back together, and of course, it doesn’t work. Because you heard the “whirlllllllllllllll-boop-hissssssss” noise when it died its poopy death in the bathtub. But you hoped that maybe the Roomba gods would have mercy on you.

A Customer Experience to Talk about

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. After spending a week researching how to fix this damn $400 Roomba without spending $400 again — including refurb units, new motherboards, and new batteries — you finally decide to call the place where you bought it. That place is called Hammacher Schlemmer. They have a funny name, but they have an awesome warranty. They claim it’s for life, and it’s for any reason.

So I called them and told the truth. My Roomba found dog poop and almost precipitated World War III.

And you know what they did? They offered to replace it. Yes, folks. They are replacing the Roomba that ran over dog poop and then died a poopy, watery death in the bathtub — by no fault of their own, of course.

So, mad props to Hammacher Schlemmer. If you’re buying anything expensive, and they sell it, I recommend buying it from them. And remember — don’t let your Roomba run over dog poop…

A Happy Ending

 

Hammacher Schlemmer had no idea this would happen or that this post would go viral on social media. They had a customer with a problem and they responded by honoring their lifetime commitment. Their customer experience is built into their company. What do you do that offers your customers something to talk about?

Reposted with permission by the Author Jesse Newton

 

Customer experiences happen every minute of every day. Some of them are so good they create stories that people tell their family and friends. Repeatable stories of excellent customer experiences help businesses grow. We want to highlight such stories to help you think about your customer experiences. This guest post is the next in an ongoing series of stories about how innovative businesses create a customer experience that surprises, delights, and grows their brand through customer advocacy. Have a story you want to share? Contact us here.

When the Unthinkable Happens

So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It’s taken me until now to wrap my head around it and find the words to describe the horror. It started off simple enough – something that’s probably happened to most of you.

Sometime between midnight and 1:30 a.m., our puppy pooped a massive poop on our rug in the living room. This is the only time she’s done this, so it’s probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night. Now, if you have a detective’s mind, you may be wondering how we know the poop occurred between midnight and 1:30 a.m. We were asleep, so how do I know that time frame?

Why, friends, that’s because our Roomba runs at 1:30 a.m. every night, while we sleep. And it found the poop. And so begins the Pooptastrophe. The poohpocalypse. The pooppening.

If you have a Roomba, please rid yourself of all distractions and absorb everything I’m about to tell you.

A Cautionary Tale

Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop. If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle. Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. Our lovable Roomba, who gets a careful cleaning every night, looked like it had been mudding. Yes, mudding — like what you do with a Jeep on a pipeline road. But in poop.

Then, when your kid gets up at 3 a.m. to crawl into your bed, you’ll wonder why she smells like dog poop. And you’ll walk into the living room. And you’ll wonder why the floor feels slightly gritty. And you’ll see a brown-encrusted, vaguely Roomba-shaped thing sitting in the middle of the floor with a glowing green light like everything’s okay. Like it’s proud of itself. You were still half-asleep until this point, but now you wake up pretty damn quickly.

And then the horror. Oh, the horror.

Sleep Deprived Mistake

So first, you clean the child. You scrub the poop off her feet and put her back in bed. But you don’t bother cleaning your own feet, because you know what’s coming. It’s inevitable, and it’s coming at you like a freight train. Some folks would shrug their shoulders and get back in bed to deal with it in the morning. But you’re not one of those people – you can’t go to sleep with that war zone of poop in the living room.

So you clean the Roomba. You toss it in the bathtub to let it soak. You pull it apart, piece-by-piece, wondering at what point you became an adult and assumed responsibility for 3:30 a.m. Roomba-disassembly-poop-cleanups. By this point, the poop isn’t just on your hands – it’s smeared up to your elbows. You already heard the Roomba make that “whirlllllllllllllllll-boop-hisssssssss” noise that sounds like electronics dying, and you realize you forgot to pull the battery before getting it wet. More on that later.

The Horror Continues

Oh, and you’re not just using profanity – you’re inventing new types of profanity. You’re saying things that would make Satan shudder in revulsion. You hope your kid stayed in bed because if he hears you talking like this, there’s no way he’s not ending up in prison.

Then you get out the carpet shampooer. When you push it up to the rug – the rug that started it all – the shampooer just laughs at you. Because that rug is going in the trash, folks. But you shampoo it anyway because your wife loved that damn rug, and you know she’ll ask if you tried to clean it first.

Then you get out the paper towel rolls, idly wondering if you should invest in paper towel stock, and you blow through three or four rolls wiping up poop. Then you get the spray bottle with bleach water and hose down the floorboards to let them soak because the poop has already dried. Then out comes the steam mop, and you take care of those 25-ft poop trails.

And then, because it’s 6 a.m., you go to bed. Let’s finish this tomorrow, right?

What Do You Do Now?

The next day, you finish taking the Roomba apart, scraping out all the tiny flecks of poop, and after watching a few Youtube instructional videos, you remove the motherboard to wash it with a toothbrush. Then you bake it in the oven to dry. You put it all back together, and of course, it doesn’t work. Because you heard the “whirlllllllllllllll-boop-hissssssss” noise when it died its poopy death in the bathtub. But you hoped that maybe the Roomba gods would have mercy on you.

A Customer Experience to Talk about

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. After spending a week researching how to fix this damn $400 Roomba without spending $400 again — including refurb units, new motherboards, and new batteries — you finally decide to call the place where you bought it. That place is called Hammacher Schlemmer. They have a funny name, but they have an awesome warranty. They claim it’s for life, and it’s for any reason.

So I called them and told the truth. My Roomba found dog poop and almost precipitated World War III.

And you know what they did? They offered to replace it. Yes, folks. They are replacing the Roomba that ran over dog poop and then died a poopy, watery death in the bathtub — by no fault of their own, of course.

So, mad props to Hammacher Schlemmer. If you’re buying anything expensive, and they sell it, I recommend buying it from them. And remember — don’t let your Roomba run over dog poop…

A Happy Ending

 

Hammacher Schlemmer had no idea this would happen or that this post would go viral on social media. They had a customer with a problem and they responded by honoring their lifetime commitment. Their customer experience is built into their company. What do you do that offers your customers something to talk about?

Reposted with permission by the Author Jesse Newton

 


About the author

Nancy Parra

Nancy Parra, Content Manager at AskNicely, is the author of several best-selling books. When she's not thinking up new content, she's at home writing murder mysteries and making homemade candy.

Other posts by Nancy Parra

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