BOSE: Customer Service Never Sounded So Sweet

I wanted to acknowledge something I thought was very cool. I purchased a pair of BOSE TriPort IE headphones about ($99) a year ago. The Silicone earbuds are interchangeable for different sized ear canals. After some use the earbuds fall off quite easily, and rip. I chalked it up to my frequent use and was planning on buying replacements.

In my mailbox last week BOSE sent me a package. Inside was a set of 3 replacement silicone earbuds, they sent these to me unsolicited. They explained that consumer feedback had prompted them to do this, and since I purchased them at the BOSE store they had my info.

They also mentioned they were sending an accessory kit later this year to deal with the exercise market, making it a better experience to use the earphones while exercising. I wanted to give they a big THANK YOU, this is rare and I wanted to let them know I will be a repeat customer.

Why don’t other companies get this?

Why not indeed. BOSE did everything right. Not only did they respond to customer feedback, but they did so without prompting. Companies occasionally replace defective parts, but usually as part of a class action settlement reached after years of litigation that vastly outlives the life of the product. Even more impressive, BOSE is also planning to send a complimentary accessory kit. Such excellent service is truly worthy of commendation.

Comments

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  1. therethinker says:

    Wow, this almost tops the “Humble Pie”!

  2. Rando says:

    Very good indeed, but most companies charge reasonable prices for their products. BOSE is good, but for the price this kind of customer service is DEFINITELY expected.

  3. Daman09 says:

    Sure wish other companies did this (looks at Apple)

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wow.. I’m impressed too. This is another cool example of using customer info for non-evil purposes.

    +1 for Bose.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    I bought a pair of their noise-canceling “Quiet Comfort 2″ headphones a couple years ago and have to say their customer support is just about the best I’ve ever seen when it comes to consumer electronics. Strike that – they are the best that I’ve seen. These headphones, for those of you who don’t know, have a detachable cable that also serves as a pre-amplifier, so it’s not just a standard 3-pin cable that you could replace with a trip to Radio Shack. Well after I’d had it for about a year I thought that this cable was shorting out on me since I had to wiggle it quite a bit to get it to maintain a decent connection in my mp3 player. One e-mail to Bose support was all it took to get a new cable sent at no cost to me. It turned out that it was the mp3 player that was the culprit but Bose never even questioned the fact. I thought it was the headphone cable so they took me at my word and sent me a free replacement. So I now have a spare cable if I ever need it.

    The headphones are a combination of metal & plastic, and more recently I had part of the plastic portion that straddles the head break. I was able to glue it so that it worked for a while but it eventually fell apart. I again contacted Bose, expecting to have to pay for the repair (and perfectly happy to do so since I’d now had these headphones for well over a year). Instead I simply sent in the broken pair and all the accessories and they sent me a new pair. It may have been a refurbished pair but it came in a case with all the accessories just like it was a new pair.

    Neither time did I ever have to pressure them or spend any significant amount of time trying to press my case with them. They simply took the serial number of my headphones and resolved my issue quickly and professionally. As long as their support is of this high quality I’ll gladly pay the higher prices for their products.

  6. s25843 says:

    I first had a pair of the Tri-Port headphones a few years ago (the non noise cancelling version), and after about a year and a half, a similar thing happened to me, where the plastic portion between the headband and the earphone broke. I called Bose, and they asked me the serial number (To Determine the “Warranty”), and I was fully expecting to have to pay, however, they replaced them free of charge, and sent me a brand new pair.

    I then had the original version of the Quiet Comfort 2’s, and I use them frequently when I fly, which is over 40 times a year, so Naturally, after a while they started to show their age. They were atleast 6 months out of warranty, and Bose gave me an offer, where if I sent the old pair in, they would give me a brand new pair of the (Newer Version) Quiet Comfort 2’s for $100.

    You pay a bit more for their products, but, you definately get your money back in the long run with the quaity, and the customer service. (When you call support, you will most likely get someone in their HQ’s right here in Massachusetts)

  7. KingMax says:

    i bought a bose home theater speaker system 10 years ago– and it still works. that may not seem like a big deal but in this age of consumer electronics manufactured with shorter and shorter life-spans, it’s damn near amazing. every other piece of equipment i bought around that time either broke (a/v receiver), became moody (tv, dvd player) or became obsolete (VCR).

    bose is a great company that makes quality products.

  8. GearheadGeek says:

    I’ll just chime in with some 2nd-hand info on the Bose lovefest. I’m too cheap for the QuietComfort headphones (so far anyway) but my mom, who has trouble sleeping but loves to travel, decided to give them a try when I told her about them, so she has a better chance to sleep on long flights.

    Traveling eventually took its toll on her set… when she was putting them back in the case on a recent trip, one of the earpieces broke loose from the rest of the assembly. She’s had them over a year, but called to ask about repair. Bose’s response was to send out another pair, no problems. Mom’s happy, and if I get an excuse to travel much I might have to buy a pair for myself.

  9. gibbersome says:

    I think I’ll stick with my cheap Sennheiser earphones, sans the great customer service! :-D

  10. TexasScout says:

    I bought mine (ear buds) at Target. I read about the new silicone ear pieces on the web. I went to their website and applied for a new set. They arrived in about two weeks. Just this week I received the exercise “accessory” kit in the mail. It’s a little lanyard and a clip that keep the weight of the cord off your ear pieces. Bose is first class.

  11. Trumps says:

    If you would like to send them an email praising them about their good customer service then send here. They have just made 2 new lifetime customers because of this occurence.

    [www.bose.com]

  12. ViperBorg says:

    Looking at all these positive comments just goes to show you when a company is consistently good to their customers, it comes back and shows good grace to them. I’ve never had to call Bose for any of their products, because I’ve never had a problem with them. However, it is truly a peace of mind to know that IF I ever DO have an issue with one of their products, that I will never have a problem getting the customer service that we all deserve. Bravo, Bose, bravo.

  13. 5h17h34d says:

    Can’t imagine myself buying any Bose overpriced junk no matter how good the service is.

  14. asplodzor says:

    BOSE as a company is in a unique position of being able to offer exemplary customer service because they charge such a premium for the products. Their marketing strategy uses a large amount of word-of-mouth, and even though they’re touted as being the best product out there (they’re not… by a long shot), their customer service is. I’ve come across a rumor (though have not verified this) that they replaced customers’ speakers systems who were able prove that they were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, free of charge. I have had friends with BOSE systems who’ve experienced the same type of care, so it’s not at all unbelievable.

    @gibbersome: Ironically, though the specific pair of headphones that you purchased may have been low end, Sennheiser produces arguably some of the best easily available consumer headphones on the market. Their HD 650 models for example, are on a plain that BOSE would never even hope to touch.

  15. liquisoft says:

    This definitely makes me want to think about buying some BOSE products.

  16. bnosach says:

    Thanks, but I’ll stick with my $20 Sony headphones. People are insane buying Bose.

  17. kenblakely says:

    I wouldn’t buy a BOSE product on a bet. I know it’s off topic from this post, but the thing that makes me dislike BOSE is that they are intrusive jerks. I got a set of bose speakers as a gift, but I already had an equivalent pair, so I decided to sell them on eBay. Every time I listed them, Bose had eBay shut me down. Every time I specifically countered their claims – telling them I got it as a gift, I’m not a reseller, etc etc etc – in the auction listing, Bose fabricated a new claim. Long story short – Bose is determined that there will be no secondary market on their (new) stuff, period, and they don’t care about anything else. As far as I’m concerned, this is at least as bad as Apple’s behavioer, so Bose can shove it as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and BTW – I sold it on craigslist, so eat that, Bose.

  18. 102415 says:

    I love my new Bose Sound Dock. I got it for free with my point program for my credit card.

  19. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    I always thought Bose was “second rate” and overly hyped up as being good products. That was until I happened upon a set of Bose 301 speakers. The Bose speakers had paper cones, the cabinet did not look like anything special – certainly cheaper to produce than the Infinity or Klipsch speakers I had…. but the Bose speakers really did have their own unique sound. Stereo seperation was excellent, highs were clear. The speakers were not overly efficient, but who cares when they still put out 87dB with one watt? I changed my opinion, and know that generally one will get a high performing product from Bose.

    It’s good to hear that their customer service is another good reason to buy their stuff.

  20. scoobydoo says:

    The customer feedback Bose refers to is that the original silicone gels were crap. They pretty much HAD to replace them. When you are paying this much it’s only normal to receive excellent customer service. Bose is losing market share in the headphone segment daily as companies like Shure and Etymotics are making better and cheaper products.

    But as always, with Bose it is better sound through marketing.

  21. nucleotide says:

    I also have had great customer service from bose. They replaced my busted QC headphones after the warranty had expired.

  22. d0x says:

    @scoobydoo: Thats so true, Bose isnt anything really special but years of their infomercials have people brainwashed.

    When you spend $100 on earbuds that truly dont sound any better then a good $30 pair they better send you replacements when a defect is discovered. Markup on those things has to be huge.

  23. mrmysterious says:

    Why are people spending so much time and energy dissing the original poster for buying something they obviously enjoy rather than just looking at a company proactively doing something positive for a customer?

  24. b612markt says:

    I have the bose in-ear headphones and to me, they sound exquisite and worth every penny. They pre-emptively sent me an entire set of ear-adapters too.. I was so thrilled. I’ve also had them replace my $1500 a/v center with no questions asked when it started acting funny and they sent me a new headband for my QC2’s when it started to wear out – no questions asked. I am very loyal to Bose because they’ve been incredible to me! (plus, to my ears they sound awesome!)

  25. B Tex says:

    I have a Bose Lifestyle system and when I experienced a problem with the remote even after the warranty expired, they sent me out a replacement for free.

    Also I remember they once sent a software cd in the mail that was supposed to fix some sort of problem I did not even notice and with it they sent a certificate for 3 free blockbuster videos and a 3d music cd for the inconvenience.

    The level of customer commitment/support was very impressive.

    I have nothing but the best to say about them. yeah you pay a little more but the sound quality and the level of service is worth it to me.

  26. No highs? No lows? Must be Bose!

  27. FishingCrue says:

    Not to reign in the Bose love fest but I had a similar experience with Shure. My Uncle purchased a pair of E2C in ear monitors and somehow got water in them. They were out of the warranty period so he put them in an envelope with a note detailing that he’d been a loyal customer for years and that these were outside of the warranty period, if there was anything they could do that would be great and if not instructions to throw them out. In the mail a few weeks later he got a brand new set of SE110s (the new model that replaced the E2C). And unlike Bose, they’re worth every penny.

    Back to Bose: No highs, no lows; must be Bose — they charge a nice premium for sub-par performance, they’d better have damn good customer service.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I had the noise-canceling “Quiet Comfort 2″ as well and the VERY cheap plastic construction broke in numerours places with light use. After researching I discovered it was a well known defect. I called Bose and they had me send them in for a brand new pair free of charge. Very nice of them. Just realize in the end their products are poorly made pieces of crap from CHINA that has a production cost of a few dollars. They can afford to replace everyone’s stuff because it’s so inexpensive to manufacture. So yay for their customer service, but you are still paying for it in the end by purchasing inferior products at a VERY inflated cost.

  29. headhot says:

    I have a set of the Bose Quite Comfort IIs. They were in my carry on when I had to check it due to the fact that I was getting on a tiny little CRJ.

    United must have treated my bag pretty roughly, because when next went to use my headphones, the headband had snapped on both sides where the metal met plastic.

    I call Bose. They replaced them no questions asked with a brand new pair. I didn’t need to give them a receipt, or anything.

    I was very impressed.

  30. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @Daman09: I’ve gotten 3 replacement headphones from the Apple store since purchasing my iPod in May of 2006, no questions asked. Just walked up to the genius bar and said, “My headphones stopped working,” and they handed me new ones.

  31. seanmcgpa says:

    I purchased a Bose Sounddock from Target 2 years ago. The power supply (brick) had developed a short from a LOT of use (I use it at work). I called Bose to buy a replacement brick ($99 on Ebay… eeek!)

    Bose sent me a replacement for FREE, even overnighted it. I was stunned, and told them it was great customer service.

    And it is – Bose is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Incredible equipment and incredible customer service.

  32. nrfx01 says:

    Well, hooray for Bose. They pretty much have to have terrific customer service after getting people to pay $99 for a pair of $20 headphones.

  33. GothamGal says:

    I agree that Bose is awesome. I have the same headphones and they stopped working after 30 days. They e-mailed me a fedex sticker to put on the box of the return so that I did not have to pay for postage. They sent me out a new pair within a week.

    I also complained about the ear buds at a Bose store and they handed me a package with 3 new sets. I wish more companies were this good.

  34. Sudonum says:

    @asplodzor:
    I had 4 Bose exterior speakers that went through Katrina no problem. They didn’t get submerged but took whatever else Katrina had to give New Orleans and still work fine. There are some things that I don’t mind paying extra for, these were one of them. It paid off for me.
    @gibbersome:
    I also have a pair of folding Sennheiser headphones. I got them because I don’t like ear buds, didn’t want noise canceling, and didn’t want to spend the money on Bose. One of the best audio purchases I have ever made.

  35. FLConsumer says:

    Glad to hear Bose has good customer service — their products are terribly overpriced & poorly made for what you get. Then again, I still spend quite a bit of time in recording & broadcast studios with quality equipment, so I’m heavily biased.

    STILL, I’m willing to give kudos to any company which is willing to stand behind their products. So few do anymore. Their outdoor speakers do seem to hold up well, ‘though I’ll stick with my commercial audio gear for that.

    @Sudonum: Been a loyal Sennheiser fan since I started working in broadcasting 10+ years ago. When you have no choice but to wear headphones for hours on-end, their neutral sound is heavenly. No ear-burn & amazingly comfortable after 4-5 hrs straight. Can’t say that about too many headphones.

  36. scootinger says:

    As a few other people have said, when you buy Bose you are mostly paying for the name. Like Apple, Bose controls the pricing of their products. I suppose Bose stuff sounds alright myself but most audiophiles hate Bose for a number of reasons – bad frequency response, overpriced, etc.

    And if you’re thinking about buying the Bose in-ear headphones you should probably take a look at Shure. I have a set of Shure E2c headphones and they are awesome. Better yet they used to retail for about $100 but you can find them on clearance for around $50 online since they are being discontinued. And from what I read in the comments supposedly they have great service too!

  37. kpfeif says:

    Let’s agree on the following…

    1. Bose DOES have great customer service.
    2. Bose charges more for their products than their competitors.
    3. Bose headphones are sound pretty good. Sennheisers may be better, but hey, they still sound pretty good.
    4. Bose home audio stuff – Acoustimass, Wave Radio, etc., don’t sound good at all, and they back their claims of “superior sound” up with BS.
    5. The Bose audio system in my Nissan Maxima is the nicest sounding FACTORY system I’ve ever had.

  38. bravo says:

    Wow, great customer service! Now, all Bose has to figure out is how to make products that don’t suck. I hear they’re working on that one.

  39. FrankTheCrank says:

    I must agree with all the responders…BOSE has excellent customer support!!

    I bought a set of Tri-Ports a while back. About a year and a half after I bought them, part of the plastic support on the right side broke.

    I went to the store with the hope that they were still under warranty. They were not. I figured I would have to dole out another $150 for another set. I loved these headphones.

    To my surprise, the customer support person said she would replace them for me and give me another year warranty. Wow!!

    It’s treatment like this that makes me a Bose customer for life.

  40. FrankTheCrank says:

    @bravo: Dude…your out of your mind. Try some Triport headphones. The bass response in those headphones is insane. I’m not a Bose fanboy, so I don’t know about their other products, but their headphones are insanely good products.

  41. bstewart23 says:

    Good on Bose. I prefer Koss Porta-Pro headphones for sound and retro looks and, best of all, they’re guaranteed for life, no matter how they came to stop working. For a $6 handling fee, you get a refurbished (or, more than likely, new) pair. I have two in rotation, in case one is out on repair, and love the sound. The fact that I’m a klutz at the gym and regularly tear the cord out of the plug on the elliptical trainer is beside the point.

  42. bravo says:

    @FrankTheCrank: Dude, YOU are out of your mind. There is not a single Bose product that is worth the money, with the possible exception of the extremely old 301 speaker. I have sampled the Triports and you are obviously a Bose fanboy if you consider them to be “insanely good products.” Why? I cannot imagine… Head over to head-fi.org for an education on quality cans.

  43. Adam Hyland says:

    I’ve owned 3 pairs of Bose headphones over the years: 1 quiet comfort 1 and 2 quiet comfort 2’s. I used to year them in a submarine engine room: not exactly the most forgiving environment. I banged them on pipes, dropped them on the floor (sigh, deck), and generally abused them over the course of 3-4 years.

    Each time I’ve had a problem with these headphones, I just walked into a bose outlet store and handed them to the clerk. He would ask me what the problem was, I would describe it, and he would usually take a cursory look at the headphones, turn them on (and for the case of an intermittent clicking) tell me something along the lines of “there’s no reason you should have to put up with that.” Here’s the best part, he hands me a new pair (without me having to surrender all the accessories) and asks for my name/address afterwards, just to update the warrantee.

    amazing. Worth every penny.

  44. grrrarrrg says:

    so what you’re saying is that: i should have purchased bose instead of the few POS (and pretty damn expensive) philips headphones (that exhibited the exact same problem) that i’ve gone through over the years

    great… now you tell me.

  45. chese79 says:

    I am former Bose employee, I can at least say they try. They may not get it right 100% of the time, but they try.

  46. Anonymous says:

    My pair of Bose QC2 headphones broke at the plastic joint above the left earpiece. I researched this and found it is a widely acknowledged design defect; the headphones were not subject to any out of the ordinary stress. Because they were a gift and I used them at work, I sucked it up and made the $100 trade for a new pair. [No, they don't replace or repair, they sell you a new pair at cost]

    For $100, I would have expected fast turn-around service, and Bose certainly sent me an email right away that they received the broken headphones and that the new ones were being shipped. I’ve been waiting for more than 10 days now. How can you find shipping that’s slower than 10 days from Phoenix?

    It must be difficult to locate a special needs delivery tortoise that will ship to the east coast.

    Bose appears to be a company with a bloated, grandiose self-image of their products and a passive-aggressive attitude toward their customer base. But their customer base won’t include me after this experience.