How One Bad Manny Can Piss Away Your Brand

I didn’t have an opinion on the Leviton brand until their employee, Manny, made me hate them and drove me to let my friends, colleagues and everyone else know how shitty they treated me.

On October 10 I got this voicemail from Manny at Leviton. It turned out to be bullshit from an employee whose first instinct before this voicemail was to blow me off and offer no help.

Manny and Leviton got their failed unit retuned by UPS on October 17, 2019.

I’m still waiting for the replacement Manny said I’d get after they received the one I returned.

I tried to get Manny’s to tell me when I’d be getting the replacement and he emailed me that I was “tiresome” and that he would not be keeping his word.

That’s when I shared the video I created from his voicemail on Twitter. At this point, 123 people have watched it. There have been another 64 views on Facebook. And now I’m telling the story here on my blog and sharing it on LinkedIn.

So far Leviton has had 187 times the brand impact beyond just losing me and my EV-owning wife as customers for life.

I wrote to Leviton CEO Don Hendler last week – I didn’t even get a boilerplate reply.

Sounds like Manny got his customer service attitude from the very top of Leviton.

And do you think anyone at Leviton bothered to even Google me? Fuck no.

Cluelessness is the brand attribute of arrogant companies who only see their customers as wallet share opportunities.

I’ve worked with top Fortune 500 brands since the 1980s and directly with many of their CEOs. I’ve also been considered a subject matter expert on electric cars for over a decade. Just the kind of informed customer companies like Leviton find “tiresome.”

A LEVITON CASE STUDY OF CUSTOMER SERVICE FAILURE

Let’s examine all the ways Leviton pissed on their own brand at several points of customer contact.

When we bought our first electric car in January of 2013, the Toyota Rav4 EV with the Tesla battery and powertrain, we followed Toyota’s advice on the right home charger to buy. It was a Leviton brand charger and it cost over $1300 but it came with a 10 year warranty, so we hired an electrician to install it and the 50amp breakers it needed.

It worked fine for six years, first in charging the electric Rav4 and then starting in 2017 our two new electric Chevy Bolts. Then at the end of September it went dead and couldn’t be turned back on.

I hired an electrician again to come over and troubleshoot what happened. He tested our breakers and NEMA outlet and all were working and providing juice. So we called the toll free phone number on the 10 year warranty to talk to customer service. But the number was no longer in service. Leviton’s partnership with Toyota was over and no new number was offered.

So I went on-line to track down Leviton’s EV customer service contact info. My electrician called the number and got a recording that put him on hold. But after an hour he hung up and we emailed Leviton instead.

Leviton responded the next day and Emanuel emailed me

On Oct 8, 2019, at 8:14 AM, EVSE <evrgreen@leviton.com> wrote:

Hello Joe,
Unfortunately that model is out of warranty and will no longer be accepted in here for repair.
The best we can do for you is to offer you a 25% discount on a new model from our company store at store.leviton.com and selecting model EVR40-B25.  Upon checkout use the special code CHARGE25 for your 25% discount.

Emanuel J. Ramondino
Applications Engineer, Technical Services
T: 1-631-812-6705 | F: 1-800-832-9538
Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
www.leviton.com | eramondino@leviton.com

My electrician then took the cover off the Leviton charger to test the components inside and I sent Emanuel this email:

From: Joe Galliani <joegalliani@gmail.com>

Date: October 8, 2019 at 8:37:44 AM PDT
To: EVSE <evrgreen@leviton.com>
Cc: joegalliani@mac.com” <joegalliani@mac.com>
Subject: Re:  Form submission: EVB40 #ST12E4 not working

Good Morning Emanuel,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I am wondering if you think my EVSE is unrepairable and if you know of the likely cause for failure caused by a power surge.

My electrician tested both the Circuit breaker and the NEMA plug which tested fine.

He opened the cover and this was his analysis after testing:

Perhaps this is something obvious to you based on experience and you can offer your expert advice

Joe Galliani

To which Emanuel responded:

From: “Ramondino, Emanuel” <ERamondino@leviton.com>

Date: October 8, 2019 at 10:08:07 AM PDT

To: Joe Galliani <joegalliani@mac.com>

Subject: RE:  Form submission: EVB40 #ST12E4 not working

Hello Joe,

The issue can either be the power contactor which you show or the control PCB, neither of which is not available anymore.

Emanuel J. Ramondino
Applications Engineer, Technical Services
T: 1-631-812-6705 | F: 1-800-832-9538
Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
www.leviton.com | eramondino@leviton.com

I then asked:

On Oct 8, 2019, at 10:45 AM, Joe Galliani <joegalliani@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello Leviton Team,

One additional question- I am curious why my Leviton EVSE does not have the 10 year warranty my original paperwork details:

Please advise,

Joe Galliani

I had to wait more than 24 hours for a response:

From: “Ramondino, Emanuel” <ERamondino@leviton.com>
Subject: RE: What You Told Me A Week Ago
Date: October 9, 2019 at at 12:26:45 PM PDT
To: Joe Galliani <joegalliani@mac.com>
Cc: “Cavaluzzi, Julia” <Julia.Cavaluzzi@leviton.com>, “Murphy, Brian” <Brian.Murphy@leviton.com>, “Przewoznik, Jennifer” <JPrzewoznik@leviton.com>, “Solimando, Robert” <RSolimando@leviton.com>

Subject: RE:  Requesting Copy of My EVSE Receipt

Hello Joe,

I was asked by the Director on this project if you can send me via e-mail the 10 Year Warranty so that she and Legal can review it.

Also, I will be contacting you shortly requesting that you return the unit (we will supply a free shipping label) after I receive the 10 Year Warranty.

Emanuel J. Ramondino
Applications Engineer, Technical Services
T: 1-631-812-6705 | F: 1-800-832-9538
Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
www.leviton.com | eramondino@leviton.com

I scanned the 16 pages of original documents and emailed them the same day. The next day I woke up to the voicemail from Manny. The following day I shipped the dead charger back to Leviton using their label.

A week went by and after UPS tracking confirmed delivery I waited all day to hear from Leviton, but nothing.

That night I sent this email:

From: Joe Galliani <joegalliani@mac.com> 
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2019 8:28 PM
To: Ramondino, Emanuel <ERamondino@leviton.com>
Cc: Cavaluzzi, Julia <Julia.Cavaluzzi@leviton.com>; Murphy, Brian <Brian.Murphy@leviton.com>; Przewoznik, Jennifer <JPrzewoznik@leviton.com>
Subject: What You Told Me A Week Ago

Hi Emanuel,

Attached is a recording of the voicemail you left me one week ago today.  You told me you would be shipping me a new EVSE to replace my failed Leviton unit.

You put no provisos on honoring the 10 year warranty other than to say you would need the old unit returned to you first.

Early today you received my retuned EVSE unit.

My expectation based on what you told me in your voicemail was that you would ship my replacement unit today.  But you have not responded to any of my queries as to when you would send my replacement.

Please ship it tomorrow.  I’ve been without a charger for my EVs for too long now.

Please advise,
Joe Galliani

That’s when Emanuel changed his story and went back on his word. He also let me know just how little he cared about me and how annoying he found my problems with their equipment:

From: “Ramondino, Emanuel” <ERamondino@leviton.com>
Subject: RE: What You Told Me A Week Ago
Date: October 18, 2019 at 5:55:46 AM PDT
To: Joe Galliani <joegalliani@mac.com>
Cc: “Cavaluzzi, Julia” <Julia.Cavaluzzi@leviton.com>, “Murphy, Brian” <Brian.Murphy@leviton.com>, “Przewoznik, Jennifer” <JPrzewoznik@leviton.com>, “Solimando, Robert” <RSolimando@leviton.com>

Hello Joe,

OK, heres how this works.
When your older unit comes here and is received in the lab, they will evaluate it and if dewtermined faulty will then ship you a new one.
Sending me multiple e-mails and voice tapings really serves no purpose for us here other than to view it as rather tiresome.
BUT, make no mistake about it, we are investigating the unit in the lab. And when they finish their evaluation, they will ship you a replacement.

Emanuel J. Ramondino
Applications Engineer, Technical Services
T: 1-631-812-6705 | F: 1-800-832-9538
Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
http://www.leviton.com | eramondino@leviton.com

It’s now been another 4 days with no charger, I’ve heard nothing more from Leviton and that’s motivated me to today write and post this.

WHAT CAN LEVITON NOW DO TO SATISFY THEIR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP NOW?

Probably nothing. By not responding immediately and then insulting the customer, Leviton not only will never be given a chance to repair their self-inflicted brand clusterfuck, they motivated the customer to amplify and magnify their failure as widely as possible.

WHAT SHOULD LEVITON DONE INSTEAD OF SETTING THEIR BRAND ON FIRE?

Once Manny made his unsolicited voicemail promise to replace the failed Leviton EV charger upon receipt of the unit, he should have kept his word instead of changing the terms of what he told the customer.

Manny should have at some point in the customer conversation at least made believe that he and Leviton cared about the customer and empathized with their problem.

Instead, Manny let the customer know that Leviton’s word was no good and that they did NOT give a shit about their customer.

Once the customer publicly posted his complaint and the video of Manny’s voicemail on Twitter and FaceBook and tagged Leviton on both, someone at Leviton should have recognized the potential impact on their brand.

But no one ever did. Perhaps they never will.

 

3 thoughts on “How One Bad Manny Can Piss Away Your Brand

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