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On a day when I took some time off from work to run some errands, I looked down as I was walking down my stairs and noticed a rip/break on my Microsoft Band 2. A little more intense examination revealed that the “thermal plastic elastomer silicone vulcanate (TPSiV)”, that is, rubber band part had torn and separated from the middle display part. While it was still connected and running, this was clearly disconcerting. Since all of the components of the Band are integrated together into the device, you can’t simply replace the band part of it. No worries, however. I had bought this a couple of months ago and I’d even paid for the extended warranty, so I was covered. What I didn’t know was whether this would be a pain in the derriere to have resolved. I needed this resolved because after two months of owning this, I can’t imagine living without out it. The feedback I receive has helped me drop over 15 pounds, get fitter and work to get more sleep (still working on that one). While I have a long way to go and no one will confuse me with Chis Evans, I’m definitely fitter and healthier; I also love the quick notifications. (I’ll review the Band separately later).

MSBand2

Microsoft Band 2

After my morning errands, I drove to the Microsoft store at Southpoint Mall in Durham to see about getting a replacement. How was I greeted? Did they reluctantly come up and grumble and suggest I did something wrong? Did they give me a number and suggest that they would be able to help me in an hour or two? Absolutely not. I walked in and was met by their point guy who was greeting incoming customers. He apologized for the Band breaking and quickly set me up so that I could have it resolved with a new Band. This didn’t just involve getting a new Band out of the back, but setting up, testing (I wanted to make sure the GPS would work because that failed on a previous unit) and transferring my warranty information to the new Band. So, I gave him the old knowing this would take a bit.

MSStore

So time to check out the toys. I looked at the Microsoft Surface Book (I seriously love this). While doing so, an employee came over and checked in on me, asked if I wanted anything to drink, he chatted with me a little bit about what I do, about some of the devices I have and then suggested taking the demo of the HTC Vive, a VR device. By the way, all of this is happening while the store has plenty of activity. It wasn’t super busy, but it wasn’t exactly empty either.

 

HTCVive

Oh yeah, I looked exactly this cool playing the demo (or not)

 

The HTC Vive demo is some of the best wait time I’ve ever had on the planet. Their demo includes standing on a sunken ship in the ocean and watching fish and a huge whale swim by while utterly immersed in the ocean depths. A painting demo where you can use different brushes and not only can you paint all around you, what you paint stays in 3-D. So if you paint with oil brushes, these ribbons of light-paint are displayed in the air all around you. You can walk around, underneath and above them; if you paint something spherical you can walk around the sphere. Really cool. Finally, you save the world by shooting up alien ships trying to take over the world and your super sleek spaceship.

When the fun was done, my Band was ready. Not only did they give me a new Band, but since I had a screen protector on my old Band, they put a screen protector on my new Band and they threw in the charger that came with that unit. So I’m coming in with “problem” and they greeted me with open arms, offered stuff to drink, suggested a cool demo of the game and went above and beyond in making sure that my new experience was at least as good as my last. Almost all of my dealings with Microsoft, either through the web or through the store have been good, but this was just one of those times where everything was done perfectly. All of the folks that helped, there were three of them whose names I’ve unfortunately have forgotten, were polite, helpful and informative. So, as much as we all like to fuss and complain about bad service in retail, I simply want to highlight a really stellar customer experience with Microsoft’s Store and some great employees.

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