Why do so many giant companies like BP and Hewlett Packard
forget Rule Number 1 and Rule Number 2?
I’m referring to the two legendary rules that confront
anyone entering a Stew Leonard’s food store in Connecticut
or New York:
I was thinking about all of this after a, well, there is no
better word for it than, hellish, customer service experience I had with
Hewlett Packard or HP as it calls itself. Which, in my case, can
aptly connote Hellish Problem.
HP, BP (what is it with all these initials?) forget that the
“small people” help make them big.
My troubles with HP (and I have had other problems in the past with this cumbersome behemoth), began on Friday, July 25, 2010, when my
husband, George, and I called customer service on our in-warranty laptop. Our
problem: the laptop failed to recognize our network router. Our first dealings
with customer service were OK. The rep tried to help us but unfortunately
couldn’t solve the problem and right as he was about to give us our service
number, we were disconnected.
The next day I called back only to learn that the first rep
whom we had spoken to for a mere 1 ½ hours neglected to even reference our call
or our problem.
Not only were we back to square one … we were miles away from
where we were started, beginning our descent into Hellish Problem. We were told
that even though we purchased an extended warranty, HP couldn’t find any record
of that or our order. The laptop will be three year’s old in December and we
purchased a two-year extended warranty.
HP seems to have relegated all its laptop customer service
where the polite reps go strictly by the book–as if they are part of the British army. I asked literally five times to speak with a supervisor and was
told “no.” The reason: According to HP, our laptop is out of warranty even
though I had purchased a two-year extended warranty. The company in its
blisteringly governmental inefficiency and mindset can locate an order only with
an order number. Unfortunately, I had changed email providers and in doing so
had lost emails from 2007. The laptop was purchased in December 2007 from HP’s Web site.
Finally, on my sixth request to speak with a rep and after 1 totally wasted hour on the phone with HP, I was given a supervisor who told me the same thing the rep was. No order number…you don’t exist. We don’t want anything to do with you.
Meanwhile, by some miracle, over the last two years we had
called and received customer service several times from HP and apparently no
rep had ever noted any of our calls–or even existence.
In HP’s book, we have been wiped out … erased … obliterated … .since
the company has no record of our order number or extended warranty.
HP is as tone deaf to customers online as it is offline. I
have now tweeted eight times, count it eight times about my problem asking #HP
for help and have heard NADA, nothing. Here’s my latest tweet:
Nearly 24 hours & counting & no response from #HP for customer service
complaint. Guess #HP hasn’t heard of
social media monitoring?
Meanwhile, I was able to find my original purchase order
thanks to American Express. That company has estimable customer service (one reason I use my American Express card whenever I can) and you
can easily order back copies of previous years’ invoices and have them within
So HP, or Hellish Problem company, you haven’t seen the end
Why doesn’t HP realize that how it treats customers reflects on its brand and reputlation? Why doesn’t it at minimum have a trouble-shooting center to handle problems outside the norm? Why doesn’t the company care?
I’d love to hear from you…and of course HP!!!!
Wendy Marx, PR and Branding Specialist, Marx Communications