Posts Tagged ‘support’

Great Service Saves Horrible Products

November 16, 2008
NSU Prinz - Great Car

NSU Prinz - Great Car

Sometime a great service or support person can help even the worst product. I have three recent examples to prove it.

Our company is trying to save money wherever we can and it makes sense. For example, when we rent a car we take the lowest class possible, from the cheapest company there is. This is quite fine, because in the end , it is always one person driving a brand new car.Why should we pay extra for the big brands ?

However, when we decided to go from Alamo (very cheap) to Dollar (cheapest)  we might have made a mistake.

The car I got in San Francisco was Dodge Caliber. It has to be the worst car I ever drove. The sounds are horrible, the engine is slow, but the brakes are even slower.

It does not have central locking, electric mirrors , electric windows or anything one would expect from a car manufactured after 1995.

My mothers’ 1969 NSU Prinz was a much better car. Seriously.

2008 Dodge Avenger

Dodge Avenger - Nice Car

Still. I  like the service I got from Dollar.When I got to Florida I asked the Dollar manager in the airport for anything-but-dodge-caliber.She was actually very kind and upgraded us free to a Dodge Avenger. Still a Dodge, but definitely an upgrade.  The next day I found out the GPS is not being charged. I admit that navigating in Disney isn’t very hard, but we wanted to be able to escape to Orlando as well.

It was pretty annoying to drive thirty minutes each way,so the airport , so I called Dollar to check if I can drive to a closer center in Disney. To my great surprise, the lady over the phone troubleshooted the problem with me and suggested a hidden, second lighter plug might solve the problem. And it Did ! I was so happy at that time that I didn’t care about Dodge anymore. Way to go for Dollar.

The other demonstration happened yesterday, when I finished my not so tasty-quite expensive  Tune and Shrimp salad in the resort. When I went to pay for breakfast, the women in front of me had all kind of strange coupons. Instead of letting me wait on line, the administrator just told me to continue with no payment at all. I asked again ,to make sure I would not be sent to the Disney Prison . and she replied “it’s OK, go ahead”.

I was not waiting in line more than thirty seconds. Right away, amazed by this great gesture , I forgot  about my salad ( the nice Banana bread also helped a bit ). The lesson – great support and right attitude can help a lot even when the core product is broken.

Quality and The Epsilon-Kra-Oz Constant

September 27, 2008

It is always fun to blame support organizations and use amusing quotes to make them look stupid. Sometimes I’m standing on the other side of the fence , so I try to avoid it. But when I get idiotic answers from fortune 500 companies It really makes me mad.

Here are a few answers I got recently , from very large and respectable, best of breed companies.

We admit this is a serious bug, we can’t tell you when it will be fixed,because our accountants prohibit us from  disclosing  the information to our clients.

Weird Accountant

Really, I swear to god that’s what they said. The damn accountants cannot stop Meryl Lynch and Enron from stealing  billions of dollars.So ,in their spare time, they refuse to let the customers know when their broken product is going to be fixed.

Now I’m really happy that I have an MBA. I can explain the bizarre logic. If they inform the customer of the fix, the customer future orders can not be recognized in the books because maybe the damn developers will miss the schedule. The result – it is better to hide the information from the customer.

I’m soft closing the tickets ,as the customer has not responded for three weeks.

Really? We just did a one hour webex and reproduced all the bugs for you so even Britney Spears in one of her bad days could understand them. Maybe your defunct support system lost our emails again ? How is this soft ?

SDK ? George, I never heard about something called SDK. Is this related to UNIX ?

We opened a ticket to a large vendor whose SDK has an overflow and returns long int instead of short int, or something similar. not only their support didn’t know they had an SDK ,they didn’t know what SDK stands for.

Please reproduce the server crash in your production environment so we can have better logs.

Enough said.

We don’t know how to sign our Java Applet. We are checking with R&D.

For a Java applet whose security certificate is not valid for more than a year.

Please open an RFE (Request For Enhancement ) so we will support multiple tabs in Internet Explorer 7.

One and half years after IE7 was released and few months before IE8 is about to hit the market.

In many of the cases the problem is not within support, but it actually comes from the CEO. It seems that the market leaders are willing to invest in quality just EKO ( Epsilon-Kra-Oz ) dollars above the level required to keep customers from changing the supplier. Since they are the market leaders and change is extremely hard for Enterprise Software the value of EKO is pretty small. It is about the same as Paul Young’s latest record.

In many cases I wondered “Is This It? Is this the best ,Three Letter Acronym Goes here, product in the market “? “It is so slow, and awkward and has so many bugs”.

The answer lies in the EKO Constant and that’s why a new start-up has a shot. At least until it hires top tier accountants  🙂

SDK, What SDK ?

SDK, What SDK ?

Free Sony Vaio Light Blue Cleaning Cloth – Corporate stupidity

September 10, 2008

We have two cool Sony Vaio laptops. Unlike most of our boring X61s ThinkPads they are shiny and smiling.

Unfortunately, when one of them just broke and we had to get it fixed. Now I got it back from the repair with the stupidest letter I have seen in a while.

Dear Valued customer

We Regret your Sony VAIO product required service and we want to be sure you are completely satisfied with your experience in dealing with our repair center.

As a small token of our appreciation we have inserted a light blue VAIO cleaning cloth into your unit.Please use this cloth to maintain the cleanliness of your LCD screen*

* Please refer to reverse side for proper cleaning instructions.

Really. I will scan the copy when I’m back at home.

A $3000 laptop is broken for a month. We had to buy $2000 replacement and lose at least five net days on getting it fixed. And we get a cloth ! for free ! and it is light blue ! How about a free iPhone ? that would make me happy.

Oh, maybe it is just my guilt, but it seems they also accuse of meof not being clean enough…

And to put the final touch, there are cleaning instructions on the back page.  Sure , we know how to defragment a Sony Vaio hard drive and remove sypware from the registry, but how does one use a duster ?

Final Warning :

Note: If there are tiny black or bright points ( red, blue, green or white ) that cleaning does not seem to be able to remove from an LCD dispaly , it is possible that the display has a defective pixel.

Any my free advice to anyone taking a shower ( and Sony support in praticular ) :

Note: When you take a shower,If there are tiny bright points ( red, blue, green or white ) that cleaning does not seem to be able to remove from your head, it is possible that these are your eyes .Beware to clean gently with our small appreciation of light blue cloth. Do not scratch the surface…

What you paid for is offically not supported

February 25, 2008

Some surprising facts I learnt during last months.

Shipping companies don’t have to ship.Server companies don’t have to give alerts.Security companies products don’t have to work with other security companies products.

1. If your shipping company looses a 10,000$ server they were supposed to ship, you’ll not get back your money. It has something to do with the Friblich treaty for worldwide shipping. Doesn’t it make you happy ? 
One would assume they at least notify the customer beforehand. We would have done the insurance.Yep, this is the same treaty that lets airlines loose luggage on a regular basis

2.  IBM sells high-end servers that do not report when they are overcooked.

  • Politically correct:  “The expected Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) CPU and ambient temperature alerts through IBM Director, similar to other systems, do not occur.”
  • Politically Incorrect : “Your X3650 10,000$ server is on fire. We are sorry. This is a known limitation”.

3. “Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 MR1 client/manager communication does not function if Checkpoint VPN client software is installed on the client. ”

We actually got our money back for the 3rd one. We’re almost at 2010, is it too much to ask QA to check it ?