Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tricky in Tablet PC trouble

Customer service is the only true differentiator between failure and success. In a day where customers are fickle and dollars are tight it doesn’t take much to lose any loyalty that has formed. On this occasion my writing has been inspired by a friend Dr. Neil and our mutual friend, fellow blogger and Tableteer, Tricky.

Tricky bought a Toshiba M200 in the United Kingdom and has found himself in a “bit of a pickle” (English phrase). Not only has his screen, and therefore inking abilities died, but regrettably so has Toshiba’s idea of customer service.

His M200 Tablet had a fault in the screen and the company he bought it from (PC World) has now had the device for longer than he has!

No I happened to play a small role in Tricky’s buying a Tablet so knowing he is now stuck without the ink really does stink. Tricky is a quality designer that successfully converted to Tablet and is struggling to comprehend the current situation.

If you’ve ever experienced these issues, or even worse, if you’ve experienced an issue with PC World and their customer service, I’d like to hear your story???


Anonymous said...

This is the normal level of service you get from PC World, and the sale what they want to sale and not what the customer wants, so be warned!!!

Gordon said...

I don't agree with that, per se. Look at Kevin from JkOnTheRun's experience with this TC100 that was fried in an electrical storm. The unit got zapped, is no longer in production and still HP picked it up and not only repaired the problem, they repaired another issue (his pen housing) that he didn't even report to them.

Now with regards to that just being in the PC world, I think that kind of experience applies to most things technology related. I've heard plenty of stories of Apple raking its users over the coals (very long delays in repairs, not doing the job right, etc). The same goes for most technology companies. Sometimes, sadly, companies can do a poor job with customer service.

Hugo Ortega said...

I think PC World deserves a bashing on this occasion but no doubt Toshiba is also playing a substantial role in the delay. I'm keen to hear more stories though.

Lately when it comes to warranty claims customers appear more neglected than ever. I wonder if lower margins in hardware are playing a role or plain laziness???

Gordon said...

I think there's a lot of factors. Well IBM/Lenovo for example. Before they sold the division to Lenovo, I could call IBM and ask for recovery disks for a new machine and they'd priority overnight them to me no questions asked. Now they want to charge me a $50 media fee to even discuss getting my hands on the discs. That being said, my Lenovo produced T60p is as solid as any ThinkPad I've ever owned...go fig.

Dell is another example. Corporate support is still pretty good. I get a quick answer and they're helpful. But I tried once to call in on a consumer line and waited 20+ minutes on hold and, even then, got a bit of a runaround.

I think the volume a company does and the margins definitely play a bit of a role on things. It takes a concerted effort to deliver quality service.

In the end though, I respect good service as much as I do the hardware. I'd pay more for a piece of hardware knowing that I'd be backed by a solid customer experience.

Hugo Ortega said...

My reason for posting the matter revolved mostly around this very point. While computer hardware (when comparing apples-with-apples) is all the same from shop to shop, it seems that Customer Service is all the vendors have left to gain market share.

I know the Toshiba M400 is a great machine, and argued by some as the best tablet on the market, but the Fujitsu service has been outstanding, and hence one of the primary reasons for my Fuji Tablet purchase. Admittedly my Dell experiences were always good too and so were my IBM experiences. Most interestingly when I look back in history I have bought more repeatedly at locations where Service is high on the agenda - clearly we're in a time and space where all the hardware is on a level playing field and service has become a criteria again. Thank goodness.

Tricky said...

I should have guessed that my colleagues ad co-tableteers, (Neil, Hugo), would only suffer so much complaining before taking things into their own hands and posting on my behalf, for which I do thank them because I have been far to friendly on this one, both PC World and Toshiba.

I have refrained from writing anything because I have found it difficult to write anything positive about the situation, I do have a few learning points which the ‘pc-buying’ community could learn from so here’s the facts:

Having had the Portégé for a couple of months and fallen for it, our relationship took a turn for the worse on July 3rd when the screen failed. Having taken advantage of a free extended warranty until 2009, (Registered online immediately after purchase), I called Toshiba, unfortunately they informed me that I would have to take this issue to the reseller, PC World.

Having spoken to 4 or 5 different departments within PC World, the laptop was finally collected for repair on July 17th, I was told that it would be returned within 5 working days.

Between July 21 and August 14th I called PC World no less than 9 times enquiring about the repair without one call back. I was told a number of different stories relating to my Portégé, ranging from multiple LCD screens failing to harnesses being required and Toshiba failing to deliver.

Finally on August 17th, I asked PC world how much they would be charging Toshiba, (Under warranty), for the repair, I was told that the bill would far exceed the cost of the laptop – dowahh!

On August 17th, I called Toshiba to let them know this, I also told them that I was an industry professional and it was getting extremely embarrassing, (for me and for them) that I was visiting the tablet team at Microsoft on business and having to explain why I was using a Mac Powerbook.

A helpful and efficient lady at Toshiba, Suzanne, took control of the situation and has been chasing PC World ever since, apparently the laptop will be returned today, before midday. If not I suppose that I will be writing to PC World for a refund, apparently if they take more than 6 weeks on one repair you are entitled to this... …I was told this by an in-store sales representative, I wonder if it will stand up?

OK, so here’s the positive learning points.

1- Don’t be lazy, get registered after purchase and take full advantage of extended warranties.

2- Talk directly to the manufacturer, even if at first they are not keen. I have managed to find a valuable ally in Suzanne, although I had to get past a few ‘gate-keepers’ first.

3- Journal everything, as soon as you find a fault start writing.