Roomba Customer Service
I’ve owned the original Roomba for a few years and recently upgraded to the “Discovery” about a year ago. For those who don’t know the Roomba is a small circular self propelled floor vacuum cleaner created by iRobot, (a company that also makes military and police robots for collecting dangerous objects). Roomba works on all floor types, and their newest product the “Scuba” even washes and scrubs tile and wood floor. Roombas have sensors to keep from falling off stair edges, and their small virtual “wall” sensors can be used to contain the Roomba in a specified area.
Below: the Roomba “wall”
The Roomba is not as powerful as newer standard floor vacuums, but for regular floor cleanings it’s perfect. With it’s low profile it cleans under beds and most sofas. You can start it and walk out of your door, or sit and watch the Roomba chase your dog around.
Like any product with multiple gears and moving parts cleaning and maintenance is imperative, especially when the product itself is designed to get filthy. However even with proper care they can require service. I’ve had two instances over four years where my Roomba has not functioned properly. Each time I’ve dealt with iRobot I’ve ended my call impressed at how simple and quick the process was.
Recently my Roomba was not starting it’s cycle correctly. I called the support line and they had me run a quick test to determine it’s “illness.” They explained the known glitch and mailed me a small memory card attached to a serial plug which I could insert into the Roomba to update. How simple is that? A quick software upgrade via mail - although a direct USB connection and download would be easier in my opinion.
They ask for the serial number on the back, where I bought it, and how long I’ve owned it. I gave my e-mail and physical address so they could send me the patch card, we exchanged pleasantries and were done. I’m sure they internally track the serial numbers and who’s calling for service, but they don’t bother the end user with the endless details and paperwork.
Here’s what makes this type of service model different: They actual issue of SERVICE during the call is not outweighed by the overwhelming collection and analyzation of personal details. iRobot doesn’t care how, why, or who owns the Roomba. They just know a Roomba exists, it’s broke, and it needs to be fixed.
I’m a frequent reader of Consumerist.com where some participants record their customer service calls to various tech companies. These excruciating calls often extends for 10-15 minutes plus collecting details BEFORE the service part actually begins. Then after it’s analyzed you’re sent to ANOTHER phone que, which often results in the obligatory disconnect.
It shouldn’t matter WHO owns a product and whether it was purchased new out of the box or at a garage sale. If the product is within the service period and it needs repair the process should be simple. iRobot does this, and I’ll happily buy my next Roomba, pool cleaner, or bomb disposal robot from them.