Brian Edwards Media

Trouble with HP – and I don’t mean Sauce!

Update on this post:

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) a very nice lady from Hewlett Packard in Auckland rang me. She offered a generous apology for the problems I’d experienced in getting information from HP here and…  well…  somewhere else, and explained that the switchboard in Auckland had gone down on the very day that this curmudgeonly blogger had happened to call. She also told me where I could get the wireless printer I wanted and gave me some free advice on how I could get the same result with a cheaper model. Now that IS service and I thank her very much. Now HP just needs to sort out their call centre in… wherever.]

*****

Now sometimes you just need to get something off your chest. And if you’re a blogger what better place to vent your fury or frustration than in an inflammatory post. So here goes:

I recently bought an iPad. I won’t bore you with my love for this product and for Apple and all its works. Suffice to say, the machine is wonderful and so are they.

Well, like most iPad owners, I’ve been buying various nifty attachments and applications to add to my enjoyment of this wondrous machine. I won’t bore you with that either, except to say that Apple’s wireless keyboard is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

I now want to be able to print directly from my iPad. To do that I need something called ‘an Airprint-enabled printer’, in layman’s language a wireless printer. I already have an HP Officejet 6300 All-in-One printer. It works fine, but it ain’t wireless.

Fortunately the nice Apple people have provided a list of wireless printers compatible with their iPad. And Hewlett Packard make a whole lot of them. Wunderbar!

But this is all pretty new technology and it occurs to me that these particular printers may not be available in Godzone. Ringing round all the computer and printer outlets would be cumbersome. Much easier to get the answer to my question straight  from the horse’s mouth, in this case Hewlett Packard. 

My first call transports me to the Phillipines or India or Pakistan or some other foreign clime. The entirely pleasant gentleman there has trouble decoding my poor English, but thanks to goodwill and patience on both sides he finally understands my question. Specifically: ‘Is the HP Envy e-All-in-One series (D4 10a) available in New Zealand?’

Unfortunately, he has no idea what the answer to the question might be, but he does give me two numbers to ring to find someone who can answer the question.

The first number began +61, so I told the nice gentleman that that was an Australian not a New Zealand number. He suggested I ring Hewlett Packard in New Zealand.

There was simply no point in trying his second number. It had  13 digits and began with 1.  I knew that was going to give me a ‘no such number’ signal. But, reckless fool that I am,  I rang it anyway. Surprise – no such number!

Then I rang Hewlett Packard in Auckland. You may think I should have done that in the first place. But, you see, I’ve tried ringing Hewlett Packard in Auckland before and I’m still in therapy for the trauma.

But needs must.  There were several options to choose from, each of which had a lot more options, but the simple fact was that, since I didn’t need Technical Support, didn’t want to talk to Promotions and had no idea what Complaint Escalations were,  none of them seemed to apply.

But nil desperandum, there was one further option, and not just any old option, but the absolutely appropriate, the totally ideal, the made to measure option – I could speak to an operator!

I selected the human contact option. The number began to ring. It was still ringing when I began writing this post. It is still ringing now. There appears to be no-one  home at ‘Haitch P’ today, as the recorded message so quaintly expressed it.  

Maybe it’s too close to Christmas or New Year. I may ring again at the end of January. Or perhaps find a company which not only makes wireless printers but is remotely interested in communicating with people inquiring about its products.

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27 Comments:

  1. Eh … http://tinyurl.com/2f4ytkk

  2. Welcome to the world of outsourced IT vendor tech support, of which HP is an expert. If it’s less than an emergency I think emails or similar are the easiest way to go. There’s less likely to be an accent issue, and the question will tend to bounce around without bothering you until it reaches someone who can actually answer it.

  3. have you tried swearing into the phone – “like I just want to speak to a real f****** person so can get some real f****** information” – surprising how often you get straight to an “operator”.

    Probably works best on those systems that try to “intelligently” understand you, like telecom – “please describe your problem, I’m sorry I didn’t understand that…”

    • have you tried swearing into the phone – “like I just want to speak to a real f****** person so can get some real f****** information” – surprising how often you get straight to an “operator”.

      Hmmm, not really my style, any more than losing my temper. But you may have a point. People are astonished when someone who doesn’t normally swear or rarely expresses real anger, suddenly lets fly. With people who swear all the time, the words lose their impact and currency.

  4. Try EPSON they have an Auckland Office (Hobson St) full of real people. Last time I was there they were extremely helpful.

    Please remove bad spelling & sentence.

  5. No surprises there!

  6. Some of us can’t even afford an iPad, so what are you moaning about? Seems mean-spirited to take your frustrations out on those call centre operators, who can’t afford one, either.

    • Some of us can’t even afford an iPad, so what are you moaning about? Seems mean-spirited to take your frustrations out on those call centre operators, who can’t afford one, either.

      What a totally tragic loser attitude. If companies can’t sell what they produce, how does that help the people who work for those companies? Do you really think it’s a good idea for a company to give a message to callers inviting them to speak to an operator and then there is no operator to speak to. Successfully run businesses benefit everyone. As a kid from a council estate in Belfast raised by a solo mother, I abhor this sort of self-pitying shit. ‘Some of us can’t even afford an iPad – pathetic!

  7. What a totally tragic loser attitude. If companies can’t sell what they produce, how does that help the people who work for those companies? Do you really think it’s a good idea for a company to give a message to callers inviting them to speak to an operator and then there is no operator to speak to. Successfully run businesses benefit everyone. As a kid from a council estate in Belfast raised by a solo mother, I abhor this sort of self-pitying shit. ‘Some of us can’t even afford an iPad – pathetic!
    Wow – I’m with you on this, Brian. Including the swearing.

  8. Im not really in favour of being abusive unless the person you are speaking with is being consciously difficult.Ive had mixed experiences of call centres but have always found that being insistent and having all your facts handy can achieve an ok result.Ive also found that if you are not sucessful with one operator try again and you may find someone with better knowledge and a more sympathetic outlook.

  9. My daughter bought a Dell laptop 11 and a half months ago…2 weeks out of its Warrantee it started making strange sounds…My initial reaction was…”here we go…welcome to Dell Hell darling”.

    Well…she contacted them and they had a technician round in 24 hours. He “fixed” it. The repair wasn’t right…so he came back the next day. He gave her a new hard drive… fixed within 48 hours.

    I was amazed…she was happy…I’ll be getting a Dell when my sh!th*&p ACER finally blows.

    PS…what about the way the media is treating Pansy Wong? …nicely…politely…almost avoiding her…wow…the ex Hon Chris Carter must be wondering where he went wong.

    How about Duncan Garner chasing her into The Ladies? Come on guys…give us some money shots!

  10. Good morning Brian. I was advised by a Telecom employee to swear at their awful recorded call centre voice or, if I didn’t want to do that, just press 0. Works every time.

  11. Do you really think it’s a good idea for a company to give a message to callers inviting them to speak to an operator and then there is no operator to speak to. Successfully run businesses benefit everyone.

    Like PJR, I don’t see benefit in being abusive to operators. Most call centre work is already a low paid and depressing job at the end of the food chain before having to deal with the abusive customers.

    I think call centres are demanded by some customers but expensive to run, so companies like HP tend to compromise by running bad ones, and trying to drive people to cheaper ways of getting information (like websites and end-retailers). When I did some quick hunting around after your original post, I found it most annoying that HP’s website seemed hard to search and non-specific. That said, HP doesn’t deal much directly with individual private customers. Most of its communication would go to business customers directly, or through retailers rather than directly to end customers. Notably if you’re a business that pre-pays a vendor lots of money for a support subscription, the call centres tend to be first rate and much more responsive and helpful.

    • Like PJR, I don’t see benefit in being abusive to operators.

      Nor do I, and I’ve never suggested it and never done it. In this particular case the operator was as helpful as he could be and I was pleasant in return. It doesn’t alter the fact that the company was offering an inadequate service. My bitch is with them not their employee.

  12. Call Centres are a cause of much stress in our house. The children and I take cover or better still go out for a few hours if my husband has to ring one.

    My faith however was restored when ringing our local independant cinema to be greeted by an automated system…after the usual welcome message followed “if you would like to speak to a real human being…press one” I was still laughing for joy when a real human being answered and I congratulated them on the approach, they said their customers seemed to appreciate it….hallelujah!

  13. Two points Brian..

    1. Don’t even think about buying a Canon then! I had the same run around when I was looking for a particular model. When I finally found it by trawling the internet, I found it was available from an online store that had it’s office right next door to my building!

    2. If I get the option on those automated systems, I always press the button for sales (especially with Telcom) I find my call gets answered rather more quickly! Once I get onto somebody, I ask for their full name. I find that helps improve the service as well.

    • 2. If I get the option on those automated systems, I always press the button for sales (especially with Telcom) I find my call gets answered rather more quickly!

      Yes, a very sensible idea.

  14. I have found with recorded messages, especailly female, that it provides an outlet for a long suppressed urge (not wishing to end up in prison) to indulge in heavy breathing and request the colour of the the intimate apparel adorning the person at the other end of the line.

    I do not know whether it is my imagination but the automated response “I do not understand that question” always sounds slightly shocked.

    On a more serious note what is so wonderful about an iPad?

  15. And that is the benefit about being part of the media; you can publicise your dissatisfaction and get a response.

    For poors sods like me who do not have a forum for publicising poor service (and don’t tell me to get a blog, because nobody would read it) we just have to grit our teeth and listen to endless recorded messages.

    Good luck to you, but the only reason you got a result was the publicity. Without that HP would not give a damn.

  16. Sorry, Sophie. If you think that anyone in a call centre gives you their real name, you’re mistaken. Try calling back the next day asking for that person. I have. They don’t exist.

  17. I dont know what you are doing.. but why dont you email whatever it is to yourself, and then retrieve and print it on your existing printer, by way of your PC?? or Apple???..
    It aint rocket science ya know.. or is it????

    • I dont know what you are doing.. but why dont you email whatever it is to yourself, and then retrieve and print it on your existing printer, by way of your PC?? or Apple???.. It aint rocket science ya know.. or is it????

      Well Katie, I don’t do that because I don’t want to do that. But, if you want a reason, I’ve been doing exacltly what you describe and it’s cumbersome and annoying. Now, with the advent of some top quality wireless printers, recommended by Apple, I can stop doing that and print direct from my iPad.

  18. Ohhhh.. I have repeated telephone calls.. something about a computer service.. and it takes a long time for the person to respond when you lift the receiver.. usually right on dinner time..
    The first thing she says (and I have received this same one probably 4 times now).. “I would like to speak to the owner of this phone” I mean to say !!! Indonesian, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani.. or similar.. you know I wouldnt do business with such a cold call, if you paid me..
    Did I tell you about.. nahhhhhhhh .. not today

  19. On a more serious note what is so wonderful about an iPad? How many hours have you got, Ben?