Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Service! Please!!!!

Just after Christmas my laptop got seriously sick - first it wouldn't boot then, when it did boot, it decided that it didn't like Windows any more! (At least that sentiment is one that it shared with plenty of other people.)

Last Thursday, January 7, I managed to get it operational again thanks to some help which finally arrived from the manufacturer in the form of a new hard disk. Now we are fully operational again - I even managed to transfer everything from the old disk to the new one so I've not lost any work. What I did lose, however, was a lot of patience with the leadership of organisations that claim to provide "service".

My first encounter with the manufacturer's service department was positive. Their Australian operations were closed on Monday December 8 because of a public holiday. Fair enough. So I phoned their other listed service help line number (obtained off the internet through another computer) and the technician was very helpful. We worked through all the checks he nominated and he made a diagnosis which made sense. He then said I would need to contact the Australian service number on Tuesday to follow up and get action taken.

And that's where my problems started.

First the technician made it clear that my warranty had expired 14 days previously and that I would now have to pay for any repairs. He then told me that I couldn't have spoken with anyone on Monday because it was a holiday. We then went through the same diagnostics as previously and agreed on the same fault. I was then told someone would phone me back with a quote which I would have to accept before anything could be done.

It took several days and much contact with local management before I finally got the quote and then a little while longer for them to understand the vagaries of Australian Consumer Law which takes a very dim view of essential parts of anything needing replacement just after the warranty expires. Still, as I said, by Thursday we were back in business and I am grateful for the very helpful technician in India and then for the management action at Dell that finally got things happening.

But I still had a problem. My email wouldn't work. So I contacted Microsoft who had supplied me with Outlook. My previous problems now faded into insignificance. I had in front of me the original case for Microsoft Office and all the details. I had been using this for several years and it was registered with Microsoft. Now I was told by the service department that Microsoft hadn't make an XP version and that I must have a dodgy copy. It didn't matter that I could quote chapter and verse including all the requisite information she requested. She was right. I was wrong. She than added fuel to the fire by making it clear that no-one could even help me with the diagnosis until I crossed Mr Micrsoft's palm with significant sized monetary notes.

I hung up; contacted a friend; and the problem was resolved in 3 minutes.

Then I needed to get my antivirus back. In fear and trepidation I phoned the Norton people. What an amazing change. In about 2 minutes the technician had checked my details and 15 minutes later I had my antivirus back and fully operational. No fuss. No problems. Great, helpful, immediate service.

Now I fully appreciate that other people may have had totally different experiences with Dell, Microsoft, and Norton from those I have set out above. My point is: we should all have had the same experience - and that should have always been a positive one. Whether or not a person receives good service should never be a random probability - it should be built into the culture of the organisation.

And that is a leadership issue.

For further information about Doug Long and how I may be able to help you, go to http://www.dglong.com

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