Above And Beyond: Nintendo Fixes Wii In 30 Minutes

Nintendo repaired Saska’s Wii while he waited. When the unit began vibrating loudly, Saska called customer service for a RMA number.

The message telling me I had to wait for a CSR didn’t even finish playing before a rep was on the line. I explained my problem and she said she’d get me an RMA right away to get it fixed.

She asked for my phone number. I gave it to her. She did a bit of a verbal double-take and said, “Are you here in Washington?”

“I’m in Redmond, as a matter of fact [location of Nintendo of America’s campus],” I replied.

“Well then, let’s not bother with the RMA and the shipping labels and all of that. Just bring it on in to Nintendo,” she said.

Five minutes later Saska was on Nintendo’s campus. Things only got better.

A life-size Mario and a larger-than-life Pikachu greeted us. So did a really nice, cheerful woman behind the sales counter. I related my telephone conversation to her, still certain that I’d been had.

“Oh, yeah!” she said. “We do that!”

“Awesome,” I blurted. I really did say “Awesome.” I’m embarassed about that now.

“It’s going to be about 30 minutes, though,” she went on. “I’m really sorry.”

For twenty-five minutes, Saska waited. When his Wii emerged, not only had Nintendo repaired the console, but they transferred his points and reset the warranty clock. No wonder Saska wrote in to say “I just had never been as happy with them as I was today.”

What Went Right

  • No wait for a CSR: We hate listening to elevator music while waiting for a CSR.
  • Helpful CSR: The CSR didn’t play by the book. Rather than issue a RMA number, the CSR identified a better, easier solution.
  • They told the truth: This should go unsaid, but too often CSRs offer conflicting ‘facts.’ The repair center was where the CSR said it would be, and they did what she said they would.
  • Fast service: The repair center quoted thirty minutes, which is still very fast, and finished the work in twenty-five minutes.
  • Exceptional service: The unit was not just repaired. The settings were transfered and the warranty clock was reset, extending the value of the repair.
  • Happy customer: At the end of the day, this is all that matter. Saska is happy. We are happy, too.

Though this exceptional service can probably only be duplicated for people in Redmond, it is clearly above and beyond. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Customer Service Gone Shockingly Right


Edit Your Comment

  1. Namrepus says:

    Another reason I love Nintendo.

  2. iameleveneight says:

    $5 says if it was sony would have just taken a shit in box and called it fixed. No wait they already call it a PS3. My bad.

  3. Karl says:

    I’ve heard that authorized Nintendo repair centers usually offer the same level of service. They don’t actually repair the console, but migrate all of your data to a new one (which is important since your virtual console games, points, email, and Wii Code are all tied to your particular console). Unfortunately, many repair centers don’t have replacement Wiis right now due to the limited supply, so RMAing it to Nintendo (or visiting them) is your best bet.

  4. jgodsey says:


  5. 44 in a Row says:

    Nintendo has always taken product quality pretty seriously. Back in the 1980s, when they introduced the “Official Nintendo Seal of Quality”, it was a pretty big deal; they were one of the first companies to actually get involved in the quality-control process for games and accessories. Good on Nintendo for this.

  6. Havok154 says:

    I honestly am shocked at how good their customer service is. I’m used to companies just making you ship it to them, even if you could hand deliver it, while you pay for shipping, and 4 weeks later you may have it back.

  7. Kyouryuu says:

    Indeed, coming from Nintendo, this doesn’t surprise me. They are still one of a few large companies that actually has friendly people answering the tech support lines in seconds. Most companies would be happy to put them on the sales line and either ship tech support overseas or throw you onto an endless series of answering machines. Not Nintendo.

    I’ve actually been through a similar case with my DS (dead pixel) and I took it to the same campus store and probably met the same incredibly cheery representative. My story is the same as yours. A new DS with settings transferred and many apologies.

    Customer service is an understated virtue of Nintendo. I think other companies can learn from their example.

  8. 44 in a Row says:

    Another thing about Nintendo that’s important to bear in mind is that they, alone amongst other console manufacturers this generation, are actually making serious money off of their hardware sales. Sony and Microsoft both lose significant money on each console sold, and though I certainly couldn’t prove this, I feel like that goes toward explaining somewhat the generally crappy attitude we hear about from those companies. Why should Sony, for example, go out of their way to help you with a product that’s already cost them a few hundred dollars?

  9. VA_White says:

    My brother-in-law works for Nintendo at the Redmond campus – he’s a software engineer – and he says it’s a great place to work, too.

    But even he can’t get us a Wii! Bummer.

  10. Kornkob says:

    Consider this: one of Sony and Microsoft’s console division’s primary customers are…

    …game publishers/developers. End users are a close second.

    yep– that’s right. They need to make publishers and developers happy because THAT is their primary revenue stream. The make a cut off of every new console disc that is sold– between 4 and 12 dollars of your cost to buy a game translates directly into the console developer’s pocket.

    If they piss off the pub/developers enough they will have no one making new games– they’ll make games for the other platforms instead.

  11. Rajio says:

    44 in a Row: Because if they dont you’ll have to buy a new one, costing them a further few hundred dollars ;)

  12. Maulleigh says:

    I love love love stories like this one. One of the best things about living in New York is a lot of companies are headquartered here.

  13. acceptablerisk says:

    Nintendo has a number of repair facilities around the country that, to my understanding, operate the same way. And for those that don’t have a local repair center, they’ll mail you out an overnight shipping box to pack your equipment in and overnight it back when it’s fixed.

    Overall, they’re a great company to deal with on the rare occasion that you’d need repair services.

  14. Gamerleet0374 says:

    Boy oh boy, all of you sure are gullible.

    Nintendo may have the best customer service out of all three companies but:

    (1.) If you were to take your console to Sony’s or Microsoft’s headquarters for technical support or customer service in person, how different would they treat you?
    (2.) How different is this from taking your console to any major retail store? Not much.
    (3.) This article way originally submitted on February 14th and passed around to media outlets.
    (4.) This “customer” spent way too much time wording their article. I.E. “I took a deep breath, told my son to hold on to the Wii with both hands, for goodness’ sake, and opened the door.” THAT IS WAY TOO EXAGGERATED. No customer support has made me feel that way. And the person even has the attention to detail to illustrate stuttering in dialogue. “Wh-What?”
    (5.) The customer happens to live near Redmond Washington, only 30 minutes away from Nintendo of America’s Headquarters, has a Master’s Degree in English, and quotes “Loving Nintendo” right around Valentine’s Day, and they take photos for “100% proof”! Because everyone takes a camera with them for customer service oppurtunities!

    Seems like viral marketing or rabid fanboyism to me. If you think about it, seems like 50/50 chance between the two.

  15. mexicantvdinner says:

    acceptablerisk and Karl are slightly off, but they have things pretty much right.

    There are no more authorized repair centers aside from Minilec in Chatsworth, CA and United Radio in Syracuse, NY so thats where all repairs go to (Western US to Minilec, Eastern to UR). Washingtonians gets to send their systems to Redmond, but that doesn’t make much of a difference. As for the shipping process itself, you get a prepaid UPS Ground label to send in your system and then it comes back ground as well. Not quite overnight shipping, but you can track it the whole way and the process is streamlined to get it back as fast as possible.

  16. Gamerleet0374 says:

    And there is a huge difference between fixing a Wii, and transferring date & replacing it with a new one.

    Nintendo does have the best customer support out of all three companies, but c’mon.

  17. Shigamado says:

    My first Wii was a busted unit that couldn’t get online and the DVD’s tended to skip on FMV and had audio problems. I called Nintendo, and within two days I had my new Wii and sent them back my old one.

    Now, why doesn’t MS do that? It would be like this; “It’s broke? Okay, let us get your credit card number for insurance, keep you HD and we’ll send you a new 360 within a week, then you send us your broken 360 in the same box. If we don’t receive it in a month, then we charge.”

    Hell of alot better than “Ship it to us, and you’ll see it again in 2 months.”

  18. Ian S. says:

    I’ve never had a Nintendo product fail on me, and have never had to deal with their CSR’s, but the warranty on the Wii is what ultimately made up my mind on which console to get. I believe the warranty on the PS3 and the Xbox360 are both 90 day warranties, and given the huge number of problems they seem to develop, 90 days is ridiculously short.

    The fact that Nintendo is the only company out of the big three right now who is actually willing to back their product for a good amount of time (1 year) is what finally won me over.

  19. leshrac55 says:

    Great if you’re in Redmond… not so great if you’re not.

    Nintendo apparently doesn’t have the ability to swap your account onto another console without first receiving your old console. If you have no points, no VC games, and no Miis you care about, they are willing to cross-ship a new Wii console to you. Otherwise, you have to wait about a week for their UPS mailer… then once you ship it out, it’s UPS ground, so add another 2-3 days. Then they ship out a new one UPS ground, so another 2-3 days. All in all, it actually only took me about 2-weeks, but Nintendo will quote you a much longer amount of time just so you can’t complain if it ends up taking 1.5 months. Just the fact that your account is tied to your Wii and they can’t rebind it without having it is stupid.

    My experience wasn’t bad, just not ideal either.

  20. SOhp101 says:

    I live in Los Angeles and I’ve had the same great customer experience. When I told the service rep over the phone where I lived, he mentioned I could drive on over to the Chatsworth office to drop it off and get a replacement. I told him I preferred to just do it via mail though.

    I wasn’t a nintendo fanboy before this, and I’m not one now, but I do give a definite thumbs up to their customer serivce.

  21. Zatos says:


    Actually the 360 and PS3 do have one year warranties, however the 360 started as a 90 day warranty but they were prompted to change it after all the defective consoles. Also, Nintendo offers an extra 90 days warranty (1 year + 90 days) if you register your console online. Not bad!

  22. guroth says:

    “Because everyone takes a camera with them for customer service oppurtunities!”

    If I had never been to the Nintendo headquarters, where apparently they greet people with life sized marios and pikachus, then damn right I am going to bring my camera!

  23. tadiera says:

    4.) This “customer” spent way too much time wording their article.

    Some people just write that way. When I tell a story about something that occurred to me, I go into the same amount of detail. And the holding onto it with two hands? Come on. If you’ve ever dealt with kids carrying things, you tell them that sort of thing.

    I find it amazing how it seems that, these days, every time a story about a company doing something good for a change, people begin calling it a lie and done only for marketing purposes.

    Not every company is IDT.

  24. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Can’t sleep…Marios will eat me….

  25. Stepehn Colbert says:

    haha, someone started a cartoon about Nintendo in the 80’s recently, http://throwback.e-mpire.com/throwback0.html

  26. jwissick says:

    I had a similar experiance with the contractor who does repairs for HP laptops… HP sucked through the whole thing, but they told me where to ship the broken laptop and it was just 20 min away… I took a chance and dropped it off and had it fixed the next day. They saved my ass before finals… HP was the shits though.

  27. Dustbunny says:

    “If you were to take your console to Sony’s or Microsoft’s headquarters for technical support or customer service in person, how different would they treat you?”

    I have a feeling if an actual customer ever got within 10 yards of Microsoft’s HQ, their security guards would tackle you and call the police to have your ass hauled away to jail.

  28. TimPV3 says:

    How can we praise Nintendo so much, and say Sony is shit? There is no widespread problems with the PS3, it’s definately the best built system of this generation.

    Unless I misread the article, the only reason the poster went to heaven, or the Nintendo Repair Center (not sure exactly which was being described) was because the Wii broke in the first place.

  29. ridleysaria says:

    This is a far cry from stories of Microsoft customer service, which consists of being transfered to some rude jerk in India. Microsoft, Sony, take f*cking notes. You have no idea how badly you’ve been outclassed.

    And Karttikeya, I can understand your being skeptical but I’ve experienced Nintendo’s godly customer service myself and this story is absolutely accurate. I once sent in my SNES for repair and Nintendo replaced old controllers, cables; even a torn sticker on the back of my Contra 3 cart! Sending back a dead pixel GBA SP was amazingly quick with me having the replacement the next day.

  30. acceptablerisk says:

    As for the shipping process itself, you get a prepaid UPS Ground label to send in your system and then it comes back ground as well. Not quite overnight shipping, but you can track it the whole way and the process is streamlined to get it back as fast as possible.

    Hmm, I guess things have changed a bit since the last time I used their services. I RMA’d a GBA a few years ago and they sent a prepaid overnight box and I had my GBA back two or three days later. Admittedly, that’s the only time I’ve had to deal with them in that capacity. If that’s no longer the case, then I recind my previous statement.

  31. evagation says:

    I believe this story 100%. My husband has been a die-hard Nintendo fan his entire life and I’ve learned a LOT about their company in the time we’ve been together.

    We got our Wii on launch day and, within two days, our copy of “Wii Sports” wasn’t working. The Wii wasn’t reading the disc. Everything else was fine (Zelda, Rayman Raving Rabids, Excite Truck, etc.) but “Wii Sports” was just not getting.

    I contacted Nintendo and they mailed us a new copy of the game, free of any charge to us, within four days.

    Plus, there’s that whole wrist-strap debacle. We never broke any of ours and I admit to laughing at some of the people who did but we got our new re-enforced wrist-straps just like everybody else.

    Also–If my husband ever got permission to go to Nintendo USA HQ, he would take a video camera, if Nintendo let him. He might be 26 be his is still a crazed Nintendo fanboy. (Although he’d be more excited to see some Pikmin running around than a life-size Pikachu.)

  32. tonythekitty says:

    I had to mail my Wii off, but complete turnaround time to fix my graphics card was one week and 2 days, and all points settings etc were migrated as well. They even put new panels on the side where I had taken off mine to accomodate my gamecube controllers. Then later I ordered some DS cases from their website and they got stolen off my porch. I called Ninty back to reorder them, and they gave me free OVERNIGHT shipping on the next set I ordered which actually was worth more than the cases I bought. And that was for something that wasnt even their fault!!!!

  33. ApathyGirl says:

    I’ve had occasion to deal with their support three times and I wholeheartedly agree with previous posts on Nintendo’s awesomeness.

    In 2001 my secondhand (bought from a neighbor) GC stopped reading game discs. Called Nintendo, the previous owner had registered it (and they didn’t care the names didn’t match as long as the serial did) and they sent me to an Authorized Service Center on Pico in West LA. I dropped it off that afternoon; the next day I received a package via FedEx – a replacement GC sent from Redmond.

    Twice this year I’ve dealt with the aforementioned Minilec in Chatsworth, once with my DS (which I dropped and was paying for the service on) and once with my Wii (which, when I tried to update the firmware out-of-the-box, crashed and I couldn’t get online). I was in and out in less than 30 minutes each time, and with replacement systems in-hand. The staff there rocks too.

    I wasn’t a ‘Nintendo Fanboy’ before,(the ‘cube was my first console besides an atari) but I am now.

  34. hinkmania says:

    Here’s my Nintendo customer support experience.

  35. adamondi says:

    Dustbunny says:

    “If you were to take your console to Sony’s or Microsoft’s headquarters for technical support or customer service in person, how different would they treat you?”

    I have a feeling if an actual customer ever got within 10 yards of Microsoft’s HQ, their security guards would tackle you and call the police to have your ass hauled away to jail.

    Actually, I have been on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. It is really nice, and there aren’t security guards with guns hauling away people that come close to the place. Heck, the place is huge. They wouldn’t be able to police it like that.

  36. Dustbunny says:


    I’m surprised they didn’t keep you waiting on hold before they let on the Microsoft Campus & then charge you $10 an hour to talk to someone there ;-)

  37. ColbyWolf says:

    For Karttikeya:

    1 – Who knows. This is an example about how awesoem nintendo was.

    2 – I’ve never had my consol repaired in 30 minutes by a major retailer. infact, they generally have told me that it’s not their problem…

    3 – what? o.O

    4 – I disagree. i like telling stories. Weaving words together is a fine art… one which is vital in holding your audience’s attention. Think about it: if sumone tipd like dis to try n tell u a stori bout sumting dat happnd 2 dem…. you’d probably read three lines, then stop out of disgust. Using proper spelling, puctuation, and grammer is a massive step up from that, making it, at least, easier for you to read and absorb. Going the next step past THAT–and excercising your ‘writing muscles’ makes things even easier for most people to get a feel for what’s going on.

    For some people, that comes naturally, without strain or practice. For others, this would have been a chance to practice writing in a more effective manner.

    the original author, if you’ll look, cinsiders herself a photographer, a writer, and a reader” among other things. She maintains a frequently updated blog on all topics from makign V-day cards for her kid’s class, to detailing lunch at a all-cheesey restaurant.

    And to further pick about your example of hoding on to the wii with both hands? uh… you obviously havnt delt with any kids extendly. “What are you doing with The Wii? Why are we taking The Wii for a walk? I wanna carry The Wii! Can I carry The Wii? I’ll be carefull! I”m a big boy, let me Carry The Wii! Can I hold The Wii Now? please!”

    5 – As an artist, I bring my sketch pad everywhere. Why is a photographer carrying around a camera so weird?

    this isn’t a marketing scam. if it was, I don’t think they’d have gone through all the effort of getting the lady’s VOX account on sept 8, 2006, AND managing to get the VOX beta tester tag.. not to mention the… 79 posts she’s made since then. 34 in september alone.

    Have a little faith.

    Oh yeah. and I didn’t see anything else about the wii outside of that post where she applauds ’em. though I didn’t go digging back into the depths of her blog.

  38. dcndn says:

    this would be great if you could manage to get one of the fucking things in the first place. curse you, nintendo. curse you and your artificial shortage.

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    With all the PS3 and 360 horror stories (and the previous shortage of non-shitty titles on the X-box, and the current lack on the PS3), I think this cements the Wii as the first of the consoles I’ll be getting this generation.

  40. jut says:

    I’ve had nothing but great experiences with Nintendo customer support. I have three DS lites, two of which just lie on the coffee table for people who come over to pick up and play.
    One of these developed a mystery crack on the hinge. Not the well known crack, but one horizontally through nearly half of the main hinge. It was obviously not a defect, it appeared as though someone tried to bend the DS in half the wrong way. It was pretty gnarly.
    So I calls me up some Nintendo, get an RMA and send it in so they can check it out. I’m expecting to pay because it’s pretty apparent misuse. But low and behold, I receive a shiny new DS lite back in the mail with no charge.
    I think Nintendo has filled enough money bins and doesn’t see the need to gouge existing customers. Lots of other companies should take a lesson from them.

  41. br549xt93 says:

    Back in the day, our dog chewed through an old school controller for the NES. We sent it to Nintendo and they replaced it for free, even though it was the dog’s fault. Another time, our old gold Zelda game stopped saving our games, we sent it in and got it replaced too. I should remember that the next time I’m in the market for a new console.