I can't understand you, India
Oct 10, 2013 / 5:00 am
This is a story about how Hewlett Packard breaks customers into submission, like me.
The space bar on my HP laptop started behaving badly. Itwould dothis.
I bought the computer at Costco. Because it was more than three months old (it was eight months), the Associate at the store said I had to call Costco’s Concierge Service.
Oh boy. Not just an Associate. A Concierge! I’ll bet they are going to treat me like I’m in a five-star French hotel.
The concierge at Costco HQ asked me questions for 15 minutes. Once he had gathered all nature of information about me, the concierge just gave me the phone number for Hewlett Packard customer service.
That was it. He was not a real concierge at all. He was a sneaky SOB invading my privacy.
Kiss my butt Costco, as they say in France.
(It would be unfair if I didn’t say that the people at the Kelowna Costco store were very friendly and helpful).
HP is the kind of company that will find every conceivable reason why something can’t be done. Saying “solution” at HP will get you canned, along with a reference letter that would scare the Hells Angels.
I was on the phone for an hour and fifty minutes to HP-India, but in the name of mercy, this will be kept short.
I live in the woods. I have no home mail delivery, just a Canada Post box. The HP call centre woman seemed dazed at such a thought.
I said: “Let me get this straight. You live in India and you can’t understand a lack of door-to-door delivery service?”
She said HP wouldn’t recognize a postal box.
However, they would be happy to send an empty box, but only to a house, business or the Prime Minister’s office.
I was expected to put the whole laptop in the box and send it back to them.
I asked them to send it to Costco. OK, she said.
I then asked if HP would do anything else to my laptop that was returned in the box other than replace the keyboard? Yes, they would. All settings would be returned to default. All would be lost. My life started flashing before me right on my screen.
“Nooooooo!” I said. That was exactly what HP wanted me to say because they really don’t want to bother with such annoyances as warranties.
Okay, I said, send me a keyboard and I’ll look after it myself. OK?
Not so fast, she said. One of the HP techs on their list in Kelowna would have to install it.
Also, if they send only the keyboard, I would have to pay $50 for it.
“Noooooooo!” I said, thinking of the Twilight Zone.
“We would be happy to send you the empty box,” she said.
I whined: “Uncle! Uncle! Stop the torture.”
In customer service circles, this cherished result is called: Drive the customer to his knees and he will eventually hang up - or pay. Then they all high-five around the call centre after you’ve thrown in the towel. They do.
The keyboard arrived. As mentioned, I live a ways out. I told the tech I’d drop the whole works off for him at his shop in town.
“HP requires that I come to your home,” he said.
“What the hell?” I said. Maybe I’m stupid – a lot of people have said that – but does this make any sense at all?
After he left, I discovered the “e” “d” “n” and a half dozen other letters didn’t work on the new keyboard. I tried sending an urgent note in code to someone whose phone number I don’t have. I spelled broken as “brok”.
“BROK! BROK!” I screamed into my email.
She didn’t understand and emailed back asking if I was having a stroke and should she call 911. True story.
Yet another keyboard has now been installed and it works.
What red-lined my stress meter was having such difficulty understanding the person at HP-India. If they really did record my call, I would be heard repeating “pardon?” even more often than saying “Nooooooo.”
This is not a matter of race, my liberal friends. It is, simply, a failure to communicate.
There is hope.
The Canadian developers of speech-transformation software are talking to companies with overseas call centres. The software is supposed help North Americans understand heavily accented off-shore operators.
The program instantaneously filters unclear words and sentences and replaces them in the speaker’s voice with enunciation that is clearer to us.
That’s a good idea.
HP will hate it.
Poulsen can be reached at [email protected]
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