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Careers: Personal Branding Imposters and Big Companies

Why are so many large companies branding imposters? On the hand, they spend zillions trying to brand themselves through advertising? On the other hand, they provide far too little oversight or dollars to customer service. They fail to realize that most active customers interact with a brand through customer service rather than advertising. And somehow, few seem to have taken to heart that in today’s interconnected world, consumers finally have a voice.

Why are so many large companies branding imposters?

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On the hand, they spend zillions trying to brand themselves through advertising? On the other hand, they provide far too little oversight or dollars to customer service. They fail to realize that most active customers interact with a brand through customer service rather than advertising. And somehow, few seem to have taken to heart that in today’s interconnected world, consumers finally have a voice.

Meanwhile, too many big companies remain faceless impenetrable bureaucracies with no personality as Rohit Bhargava points out in his brilliant book, Personality not included.

In the spirit of exercising my consumer rights and I hope piercing a tiny crack on the corporate “keep consumers out” shield, here is an open letter to the CEO of Hewlett Packard. I will publish one to the CEO of 1and1.com in Part Two of this post, to be published separately.

Mr. Mark Hurd
Chairman of the Board
Chief Executive Officer and President
Hewlett-Packard Company

Dear Mr. Hurd:

I was once a big fan of Hewlett-Packard’s customer service when you truly stood behind your products and customers. But that seems to have gone by the boards as you have relentlessly outsourced your customer service to people who don’t care about your brand.

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I have now spent 16 hours, count that 16 hours, with three different HP technical support people, not to mention one technical support supervisor, one case manager, one would be case manager and one executive customer service person. What do I have to show for my efforts? A printer that only works manually, not from the computer, and a broken Windows Installer? Both were working prior to my calling HP. I also have two Service Ticket Numbers, 801-599-4173, 801-667-5327 and a Transaction Number, 7500-631-029.

How has HP let me down and tarnished its brand in my eyes? I was promised callbacks by two different tech support people who after each to their credit spent hours trying to get my printer to work promised to call me back to finish the job. Neither ever called me back.

I asked to speak to a boss in your case manager’s office and was told: “My boss doesn’t talk on the phone.”

I asked a person in your executive customer service to schedule a tech support call for me and was told, “I can’t do anything because they are in another country.”

Pardon me, but is HP a 21st century technology company?

I complained to a case manager at your corporate headquarters about my problems and she assured me that a technical support person would call me back the next evening and that she would call me back that very same evening to insure everything had been taken care of.

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At that point, I was about to give HP the Customer Service Merit Award.
But not only did the tech support person not call me back but the case manager didn’t call that night either. The case manager did mean well but she just seemed to get her tasks wrong. She eventually got back to me (48 hours later) but seemed to be oblivious to the fact that a tech person was to have called me the day before as was she and that I couldn’t solve the problem myself. She too told me she couldn’t schedule a tech call.

I am hoping that this letter forces you to take a good look at your company’s customer service – or rather non-service – and how it is hurting your brand.

Sincerely yours,

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx, PR and Personal Branding Specialist, Marx Communications

 

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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