submit to reddit

I ran Rent-A-Kvetch, a consumer complaint handling service, for 10 years. So I know that when you have a problem with a product and the customer service people aren’t solving it, you need to go straight to the top.
Yesterday, I called HP tech support for help setting up my new IPAQ 2755. I spoke to three offshore tech clerks whose accents were so thick I literally could not understand them. Finally, I got pissed off, and called corporate HQ at HP. (650.857.1501)
Hello Mission Control
Guess what they call customer service? They call it Mission Control. I bitched my way to a mission controller named Milo Kialjevic, with whom I was on the phone for two hours. Imagine what that call cost HP!
Should any customer have had to spend half the day on the phone to get a person who speaks English clearly AND who could actually answer a question? No way. So now I’m writing on my blog that HP Customer Service is inconsistent at best.
Steve Rubel and others call bloggers who use their platforms to bitch about lousy customner service citizen vigilantes. I completely disagree.
Vigilante Journalists Are an Opportunity
Companies that wake up to the call of citizen journalists and improve their customer service end up with customer evangelists who are any company’s best friends. Ignore bloggers and other citizen journalists and they will battle the well-derserved search engine tyranny of citizen generated content.
After all, Jeff Jarvis, Adrian Melrose and me wouldn’t complain publicly if we had not encountered real problems. Robert Scoble said “If you aren’t listening to the new word-of-mouth network you’ll miss opportunities like this to make influentials happy.”
But that’s not the point. It’s not just influentials who need to be made happy!
Customer service is in a sorry state. Relegating customers to dealing with ill-trained minimum wage phone slaves from another land is just plain bad business.
The presidents and executives of companies ought to get on the phone sometimes and see how much they can learn from listening to the problems customers encounter. And they ought to try calling their own tech support with problems to see how customers are treated. And don’t tell me that they “calls may be recorded to ensure quality control.”
There they’d have an early warning system for product flaws, and they could be part of the conversation about the company. And here’s a hint, start by following blogs.