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As I look back on the growth of the Certified Service Center program that started over 18 years ago, it’s obvious that the need for emphasizing the word CERTIFIED in the CSC name is even more important than ever. The day of the service professional company has unfortunately been replaced in many cases by the day of the “I can fix anything” company. The critical need to recognize and honor the best service companies is very important due the increasing number of questionable service companies that now populate our communities. My thanks to the organizations and manufacturers that have supported the CSC program and to the over 180 companies with over 350 total service locations that have stepped up to meet and in most cases, surpass, our Certified Service Center criteria.
When the CSC Program began we did not have consumer reporting and protection organizations all over the place to help protect the public and we did not have the growing fear we have today about having equipment professionally repaired. This trend is truly a sign of the times. When CSC began manufacturers were building some products that were made to last a long time if properly serviced although that trend was already on the decline. Now we have products built to last less time and in some cases less emphasis is being placed on providing quality service to all of their customers. My wife and I had an oven that gave up finally after 20 years of great service that is manufactured by a company that does not even make ovens anymore and we were told that the new oven we are purchasing will probably last 5 to 8 years on average. The Consumer understands that I suppose, but for a guy my age that represents a complete 180-degree shift from the way it was back when. I hate to live in the past, but can’t forget the kind of product and service environment that I enjoyed as a customer for many years. We know and understand the pressures that manufacturers are under to build competitively priced products but fail to understand why these companies, and some entire industries, do not still strive to develop and maintain the highest quality service partners for those customers who still choose to maintain and have their products repaired when needed. It’s become a break and replace market unless you want to purchase high-end equipment that might be supported by parts, service, and qualified service companies for a longer period of time. What about everyone else??
On the product side we have increasing numbers of products being offered in all markets making the selection very difficult and finding quality service an even more complex process for a Customer. At the same time with this increased competition the overall industry approach in many cases has been to lessen the apparent interest in servicing the equipment sold and more interest in a philosophy of just replacing the unit after a few years because its’ useful life is perceived to be near an end. Might be ok for a TV or Stereo but it is a different story when you must replace products that we all depend on like an oven, refrigerator, furnace, critical piece of communications equipment, or a medical device that goes down. When those breakdown we look to the reputation of the name on the product.
So how does the consumer make it through these times? Some will replace the unit due to the cost of repair, the fear of having something repaired properly, or of spending too much money for the repair on an older unit that has perhaps lived its life. Many, however, will still find quality service companies to deal with that they trust and who will do their best to complete that list of valued service companies based on experience, word of mouth, and yes independent certifications. Right now, my GO TO LIST includes a local plumber, electrician, landscaper, automobile, and computer service company and over 180 other companies across the country that carry the CSC Insignia. I still need more companies to complete my personal list and every time I find a great service company I will stay their customer as long as they deliver professional service and customer care. When you find a professional service company reward them by telling everyone you know that quality service still does exist. Thankfully quality service companies are still out there and we at CSC know that to be very true because we see them in action every day.
Author: Don Pierson, President