Tony Morgan (One of the Simply Strategic Guys) has been blogging about his poor experience with Hewlett Packard’s customer service. It seems that someone at HP picked up on his experience from his blog posts, and now they appear to be trying to remedy the poor service he got. I posted the below on his blog when he first explained his problems. I blogged about my initial problem here.

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In September the power converter on my Compaq (owned by Hewlett Packard) laptop ate it big time. I called in, and after 3 service reps (all in India), I was finally given the proper department. I spelt my name military style – Charley Hugo Roger Ivan Steven (Chris) – after 7 or 8 attempts to get my name down so they could ship me the new part. 20 minutes later, we’ve got all the info tranferred. The next day (I too got rush) I check my tracking on the shipment, to find they butchered my address, and the package will never arrive because of that mistake. I call back to HP customer service. 45 minutes later, after 8 CSR’s, I finally get someone who can help me. I was sent back and forth between two departments twice. So rep 9 (in Colorado I think) is finally able to say I can help you…I think. He has to get a manager (takes 7 more minutes) and they are finally able to change a simple item in Fed-Ex system so I can get my power cord. In all, the call lasted 62 minutes, I worked my way through 5 phone trees, talked to 9 people, for something that should have been a 25 second fix.

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Tony brings out a good secondary point in his post today on the subject. He looks at it in light of how we treat people who come into our churches. It’s vitally important to make a good first impression, but we need to back that up on subsequent interactions. If we do a poor job of service on people’s second and third time visits, we will have wasted our initial efforts. While the church isn’t in the “customer” service business, we can learn a lot from the people who are. This past Willow Creek Leadership Summit examined this effect by bringing in the president of Southwest Airlines – Colleen Barrett. In the church we have multiple levels of “customers” depending on our position. If you are a lead pastor, your staff and your leadership team are your first level “customers”. And it carries on down the line depending on your position. Of course I am using the word cutomer in a very loose sense, as I am STRONGLY opposed to the consumer mentality some Christians take toward their spiritual lives and church involvement.

I should explain my full experience with HP so you get a better picture of my experience with them. I have a HP Printer/scanner/fax (v.40) that has worked flawlessly. It does use expensive ink cartridges, but they last a remarkably long time. No complaints at all about it. I would like a faster per page printing rate, but I sacrificed that for better print quality by buying this unit.

I have had good experiences with HP online tech support. Very informative, easy to work with, and friendly staff.

I have had very mixed experiences with my Compaq Presario R3000 Laptop (actually it’s a 3030 I think). The place inside of the computer where the power cord enters broke a year and a half ago, after 4 or 5 months use. It was still under warrenty, so I called in and they told me what to do to send it in for repair. I boxed my computer up after archiving a few important files. Within 3 days, I had a repaired computer back in my hands. The turn around was faster than I could’ve imagined. But there were problems. First the hard drive was wiped clean. They re-installed Windows XP, but everything else was gone. Second, they didn’t send my power cord back (I had sent it with the computer). The instructions never said to not send the cord, and figured they would need it to verify the computer was working. I have no idea who they farm out their repairs to, and if they have a cord to power my computer. So I called HP, and got a bit of a run around, but eventually they sent me a new power cord at no cost (I might have had to pay shipping). The new power cord I got I think was remanufactured. Every time I plugged it in, it made a popping noise (electrical arc sound). This is probably what led to it’s eventual failure. The secondary problem was that from the day my laptop was back in my hands, the display screen hasn’t functioned properly. It blacks out at random intervals (light the lightbulb goes out). In bright light, you can see the faint outline of what was on the screen moments before, and you can even see the mouse move, but it’s at 1% brightness instead of 100%. It freaked me out at first, but I eventually figured out that by tapping on the nub that sticks out to tell the computer I have closed it (to put it in hibernation mode) it causes the screen to come back on. Sometimes I’ll have to tap it 2-3 times before it works. It’ll brighten the screen the moment I first tap it, but then go back to dark a split second later. I’ve also found that sometimes I can move the screen back and forth and it will pop back on, but 90% of the time the only fix is tapping that nub.

I have loved this laptop in spite of all of that though. You might say why didn’t I send it back when the screen started acting flakey after the first repair? The answer is simple, it was the end of the semester at school, and I didn’t feel that I could afford being without a computer for another half to full week. I had finals, papers to write, and other things looming that wouldn’t work well with not having my computer.

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