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  • Customer Service

    I've become a little jaded over the years when it comes to certain aspects of my life, but one thing I've tried to set myself up to do is inform manufacturers when I'm pleased or dissatisfied with a product or service. I'll actually take the time fill out a customer satisfaction form, and sometimes I'll handle it myself.

    This is an excerpt from an e-mail I just sent to Simpletech about the performance of an External HDD I bought.

    Iíve been a huge fan of my SmartDisk Firelite drive Iíve had for 3-4 years. Itís only 40GBs and has saved me a lot of time by letting me keep important files in my possession without resorting to burning multiple CDs. Itís rugged and survived most of this time while in my IT tool bag. Unfortunately, I hit a cap with 40 GBs and figured it was time to upgrade to something larger.

    While perusing the store at Best Buy, I found a good price on a Simpltech 160 GB USB 2.0 HDD and decided, against my better judgment, to see if I could save myself about $30 on the equivalent data storage between it and the newer Firelite. My new drive worked fine up until about 4 months after purchasing. The drive first didnít recognize the data, now it wonít register at all.

    I called support to see about a replacement and the support person was very helpful up until it came time to RMA the device. He had to have a copy of the receipt to determine if it was in warranty. Now, at work Iím required to file all of my receipts for tax purposes, but as a personal purchase the Best Buy receipt is probably buried somewhere within the pile of papers at home Iím too lazy to throw away. Essentially, I spent $100+ on a red paper-weight because I canít find the receipt.

    I understand the RMA process isnít always perfect, but you have to realize that working with numerous IT related products over the past 8 years, Iíve seen my share of great RMA processes and terrible ones. A great one that comes to mind is Netgear. After finding an old broken switch lying in a desk drawer for God only knows how long, I called Netgear in hopes of getting it replaced. With only the serial number, they were able to determine that the device was still in its 5 years warranty period and promptly shipped me a new one after I mailed them the damaged device. I was more surprised the warranty was for 5 years to be honest.

    While I could complain about the quality of a device that lasted all of 4 months, Iíd rather just inform you that itís not always about the quality of the products that concerns a customer, but how a company handles defective products. I canít see myself buying another SimpleTech product because I canít afford to waste the money, and I feel I shouldnít have to hold onto every receipt when I purchase an item.
    My e-mail got me thinking: is there anyone else here that values customer service more than product quality at times? It doesn't really make me angry that the drive died so soon as I've bought many defective products over the years. It annoys me that because I can't dig up a receipt from 4 months ago, I'm up a creek. Sure, I saved the receipt for my $2500 TV and my $400 Xbox, but on a $100 HDD when my last one is still working?

    Really, what this experience has taught me is that I need to order more online, even when I need the device sooner (I need to HDD pretty quick). I have all my old orders and receipts archived up until the device is lost or upgraded.

  • #2
    Re: Customer Service

    Couple things real quick cause I am about to cook dinner.

    A bunch of things I have bought lately I have done at home like at Bestbuy.com and did instore pickup. That way I have an e-mail receipt, and the one I get at the store. I put the paper receipt in the box the product came in and keep the box around for a while just in case.

    Also, as a member of Bestbuy rewards program, I once had a problem with a product and couldn't find the receipt and found out I could actually have a copy sent to me because they keep track of sales for points.

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    • #3
      Re: Customer Service

      I fully agree with you Fenix. Bad/defective products can happen anywhere, anytime. It's the ease with which the seller/manufacturer helps your case, whether it be through replacement or repair, that matters to me. This is of course when it is not your fault and it hasn't been a ridiculous amount of time, of course. Unfortunately, like your case at Best Buy, the only thing to do unless you bought it online is to put receipts for such things aside because pretty much any physical retailer I've come across, at least for computer products, pretty much requires you have it. In the end, that's why NewEgg.com has become my friend (even though I have limited cash to spend there). I have found them to be very responsive to my needs when there is a problem.
      "I've been working since I was sixteen. I fought in two wars. Hell, I've killed people. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it..."
      -- Red Forman

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      • #4
        Re: Customer Service

        So, after 10+ days, Simpletech has decided that customer service isn't even important enough for their Public Relations department to send me even a "blow off" e-mail or some such sort. Guess I'll lump them in with the "Alamo Drafthouse" under the filing "Customer Satisfaction is for chumps."

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        • #5
          Re: Customer Service

          On another topic: I just got off the phone a while ago with Conn's technical support. My Mitsubishi 65" DLP decided that displaying a picture didn't fit within it's busy schedule of overheating, so I called Conn's support to come out and fix it.

          After not being able to have a technician available for a week (I called last Monday), the phone call I received today said "The technician had an emergency and won't be available till Wednesday." I guess I'm to believe they've got one tech for the entire state of Texas.

          Anyways, I don't like to kick up a fuss while my equipment is still busted (just like I don't complain about service until after I have my food), I will be contacting Conn's and Mitsubishi directly once this mess is cleaned up. I doubt I'll ever deal with Conn's again after the crap I've had with them.

          Best Buy might charge more and lack such "good" financing deals as Conn's, but when you buy the warranty: you don't have to wait over a week to get your equipment fixed. At least not from my experience.

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          • #6
            Re: Customer Service

            How long ago did you buy it and is it still under warranty?

            B
            "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." Gen. George Patton

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            • #7
              Re: Customer Service

              Originally posted by Bc2ID View Post
              How long ago did you buy it and is it still under warranty?

              B
              The TV? Like a year and a half and it's a three year extended warranty.

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              • #8
                Re: Customer Service

                Find an authorized tv repair guy and be done with it. I did this when my 60" rear projection tv went belly up...it was still under warranty so I just found a guy in the yellow pages who fixed it. All covered by the warranty...thank you very much!
                "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." Gen. George Patton

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                • #9
                  Re: Customer Service

                  I remember back in the day when I got my first computer(which was a Gatewy) I had it out of the box maybe 30 minutes and had things all fouled up to where it didn't want to restart cause of me having no knowledge at all of computers at that time. I called gateways Tech support up and they gave me the most important information I have ever got. They told me to put in the restoration disc and follow all instructions. That was it. Nothing more to it than that. So after they told me that I got it in my head to start experimenting, checking files and folders deleting what I thought was junk and so on, till I had Windows 98 down pat and running like a charm(quite a few restorations in there as well). But the thing is, if they would have told me a bunch of complicated crap to do to get things back in order I would have probably said the hell with the computer and never did any experimenting and although I am not the brightest tool in the shed when it comes to computers I can usually sit down and troubleshoot problems with them, repair, and build. I have friends and family members that call on me cause they now know me as the geeky, nerdy computer freak. Which I still ask a lot of people for help from time to time that have had way more experience but I think I do rather good for being completely self taught.
                  So that is one time I am grateful to Gateway for the most simplest thing they could have said to me and some think they did not care for me as a customer by telling me that. I would disagree.
                  I know it is a little off topic but almost the same. Customer service and technical support all falls in the same line if you go past that warranty, then you are up the creek...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Customer Service

                    I have found that Im to cheap to shell out more for a comparible product just to get a better warranty. However after having to rma a few items I'm always glad when I did anty up. I have had really good relations with OCZ. They have been ultra fast with an RMA, no questions asked, for some new ram I used. Second I had a PSU that was 3 to 4 years old, no reciept and I e-mailed them to see what I could do. Brand new PSU within the week :row__572:

                    For that reason I usaully stick with them when ever I buy ram or a PSU (well I build systems using there PSU's but I don't own one anymore simply because the Corsair 620 is such a beast). Solid customer support is sometimes better then a better deal.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Customer Service

                      Originally posted by Bc2ID View Post
                      Find an authorized tv repair guy and be done with it. I did this when my 60" rear projection tv went belly up...it was still under warranty so I just found a guy in the yellow pages who fixed it. All covered by the warranty...thank you very much!
                      The Conn's guy will be here today at 1pm. We'll see how it goes. In the future, I had already considered your advice and will probably just look into my own repair guy.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Customer Service

                        So, Conn's showed up with a new projector and after 5 minutes my TV was working again. Can't say I'm happy with the wait, but at least the guy got the job done in no time flat when he showed up. Didn't cost me anything but some pain and anguish.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Customer Service

                          Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
                          Best Buy might charge more and lack such "good" financing deals as Conn's, but when you buy the warranty: you don't have to wait over a week to get your equipment fixed. At least not from my experience.
                          Nah, they'll just claim that you're not covered by the warranty.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Customer Service

                            Originally posted by msdz View Post
                            I remember back in the day when I got my first computer(which was a Gatewy)
                            I installed Unix (Esix) on my first Gateway and it didn't work. I called their support and the figured out that the problem was the firmware on the HD controller. They send me a new HD and a new controller. Very nice. That was in '88.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Customer Service

                              Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                              Nah, they'll just claim that you're not covered by the warranty.
                              Have you personally had this happen to you? My parents usually purchase most of their electronics from Best Buy and while the PC tech guys are shooting blanks, the hardware tech support has treated them well.

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