By Casey Liss
Every Failure is an Opportunity

I am a Sonos super-fan. I had heard for years that their stuff really does what a lot of Apple stuff doesn’t do anymore — it just works. In late 2022 I bought a home theatre setup, as well as a Roam, which is Sonos’ Jambox-style portable speaker.

I cannot say enough good things about both products.

However, yesterday, the Roam died. It was sitting on its charger, and just… bricked itself. I couldn’t reboot it, I couldn’t factory reset it, I couldn’t charge it, nothing. It’s almost as though the battery decided to ride off into the sunset.

My understanding is that this issue isn’t common, but perhaps isn’t exactly uncommon either.

So, I called Sonos support this morning, and braced for a fight — I’m about six months out of the warranty coverage.

Thirty minutes later, without any sort of arguing nor complaining, I have a RMA, and I’ll get a new Roam in a couple of weeks.

I know this isn’t a new thought, but it struck me so strongly after getting off the phone with Sonos: when a product fails, the company that sold it has an incredible opportunity: they can sour the opinion of a super-fan, or they can absolutely cement it in place.

If I had to fight to get the Roam replaced, it would have made me think twice about buying more Sonos stuff. If they refused to replace it, I would likely stop buying Sonos products altogether. The Roam wasn’t dropped, it wasn’t abused, it wasn’t left outside for days. The Roam just failed. It’s annoying as hell, but these things happen.

Sonos could have given me a bunch of stick about replacing a $180 speaker, at the cost of me possibly never spending another dollar with Sonos again. Or, they could swallow [their cost of] a $180 speaker, all but guaranteeing that not only will I continue to spend all my too much money at Sonos, but I’ll also continue to evangelize Sonos to everyone around me in the market for speakers.

They chose… wisely. I’m glad and thankful they did.