Bose is a great example of a company that delivers a unique experience. I have had a few after-sales experiences with Bose, and they’ve all been very positive and consistent. Most recently, I purchased the new iPhone adapter for Bose’s QuietComfort 2 Noise Canceling headphone, only to find out that the adapter didn’t fit my QC2 headset. After a call into Bose, we found out that two versions of the QC2 exist, and the adapter packaging did not specify this distinction.
I was an early adopter of their Noise Canceling technology (I also own the QC1), but they did not punish me for it. With a little bit of tugging, they offered to replace my 4-year old headset with a brand new set for free. Gladly my new headset arrived before a 5-hour plane ride to the east coast. Another experience like this with Bose came when I moved from Europe to the US about 12 years ago, I wanted to exchange my 901 equalizer with a 110 volt one (so I did not need to down-convert my 220-volt European equalizer). Again, here, Bose offered to replace the equalizer free of charge.
Whether you like the sound of Bose is your own decision, but the flexibility of this, still private company to balance earnings with a sincere interest in keeping its customers happy, is admirable. More fundamentally, successful companies understand that building a lasting brand means they pay attention to customer retention.
Apple is doing similar things by turning part of their retail store into a support center. Great businesses don’t look at support as a cost center but as a way to satisfy customer experience and have them coming back for more.