Does HP Care? Indications are Yes!

I recently purchased an HP Officejet 7612. This was to replace the similar Brother machine I had been using to scan a multitude of tabloid-size articles I had written over the years.  All was good until the Brother software wouldn’t open up on my Windows 7 machine. The short version: A Brother tech logged into my computer and said something on my computer is blocking the program. He had no clues. He said it could take days for me to track down. Being that no other program on the machine has a problem, I decided to bail on Brother.

I took the machine back to OfficeDepot and got the HP Officejet 7612.  I figured I would be productive right away. Wrong.  In the first 19 hours of possessing the machine I spent about 5 hours with HP’s customer service trying to figure somethings out.

Not all the customer service calls went well. I couldn’t find how to change the default directory in the software for scanning results. I called and the representative told me that I could not change the directory. A supervisor came on the line at my request and told me I could change the default save directory. This turned out to be true.

My new HP device has a feature of printing by email. Within the HP network, as long as the printer is connected to the Internet, I can have an email address for the printer. Send an email with a pdf attachment and it will print. Great. I set up the email address, but one of my email addresses on the white list of allowed email sources and . . . waited, and waited . . . for something to print. Nothing. I called HP customer service again. I was told that the white list of allowed email sources did not work. Grr. I spend all that time reading docs, testing, reading docs, testing, to learn that there is a system malfunction on HP’s part. Why not message alerting users on the HP website? “Too involved” was the answer.

I ended up writing five pages of details about my new experience with the HP device. I sent the information to the Senior VP for customer service. Withing three days of mailing the letters I got a call back from a manager. We had an hour-long conversation about some printer issues and about customer service in general. Some of the points I made to him:

* If self-service support — a trend in big business — is going to be a focus from a company, then the company needs to gear up in a number of ways: excellent documentation, easy navigation, accurate information, alerts, and good grammar. Regarding grammar: I printed out a support document for the printer and the first first sentence had the wrong verb. This is a complete turn off to read any further and to think that I want to rely on documentation for help.

* Representatives on the phone need to know the hardware. They need hands-on experience.

* Representatives need an effective way to quickly report problems to engineers and webmasters about problems.

To HP’s credit, they responded to my letters, unlike Yahoo, which has never responded to any of my letters. The difference is striking. I can get a sense that one big company actually cares about quality and the customer experience.

You may be wondering — why send a letter? Simple. Social media has it’s place, but for a long, involved, detailed story, social media just does not have the capacity for what I want to say. Additionally, not all companies monitor social media for customer complaints.