Friday, December 9, 2011

My Customer Service Experience

9 days ago the hard drive on my 18 month old laptop computer died, emitting  a metallic scream seconds before spitting out the dreaded blue screen of death. With smug confidence that it was covered under warranty, I drove over to BestBuy and dropped it off with the Geek Squad where I was informed that it would be ready in 3-5 days and if something unforeseen came up, I would get a phone call. 7 days later, having gotten no such call, I dropped in on the Geeks to check the status of my repair. A sad faced young man, with emo glasses and unwashed hair hanging across his ironic face, informed me that they had tried repeatedly to reach me to tell me that a restore disk needed to be provided to them so that they could re-install Windows. If I didn’t have said disk, I could order one for $28.30 from my computer maker by calling a 1-800 number.

“That’s strange," I said. “I haven’t gotten any calls from you guys.”

“says here that we called twice…”

“What number did you call? When I dropped it off you guys asked for the best number to reach me and I gave you my cell number.”

“Yeah…but we lost it and so we used the number on file which I think was your home number”

“You lost my cell phone number?”

“ sucks, I know man..”

So this morning, day nine without my computer, I called the 1-800 number to order the disk. The phone was finally answered by a human after 3 exchanges. This particular human sounded like an innebriated Pakistani with a mouth full of marbles. After taking 10 minutes to confirm that my first name was in fact..DOUG, we proceeded to the problem at hand. At minute 26 of this call I was transferred to another department. Ordinarily this would have caused me raging gastro-intestinal distress, but I was actually encouraged when my new customer service technician came on the line. Robert’s melodious Scottish accent informed me that I had three choices:

“If you want the disk by December 13 it will be $28.30. If you want it by December 15 it will be $21.50, but if you can wait until December 20 it’s only $14.00”

“Robert, is it?” I replied, “I have been on this phone for 31 minutes trying to order a restore disk for a computer that you guys manufactured a short 18 months ago, and whose hard drive couldn’t even last 2 years. Now you’re telling me that the soonest I can get this disk is 4 days from now? How about you guys overnight the thing to me for free and we can call it even.”

Apparently the customer service technicians at HP don’t understand sarcasm when they hear it. A long silence followed. Eventually I was forced to add…"Just kidding…” After finally taking all of my credit card info at minute 39 Robert asked me if I wanted to participate in a “brief 10 question
survey concerning my service experience." This time, the awkward silence was all on me.

If anyone wants to know why the United States is losing its status as the most powerful economic country in the world, they would have to look no further than my 40 minute call.