Friday, March 21, 2008

Customer Service

I actually received good customer service this week. Kudos to the tech support folks at HP who helped me out.

Back in December I discovered that my HP OfficeJet All-in-One printer wasn't working. Not only wouldn't it print, it appeared to be dead. As in a giant paperweight sitting on my desk, performing no function whatsoever aside from collecting dust. Things at the inn were slow that month, so the printer might have been dead for a day or two (or three) before I even noticed.

I popped over to HP's tech support page and selected live chat, since that is free. I'm pretty sure the guy at the other end of the line is in a country on the other side of the world and has a pretty specific script from which he has difficulty deviating, because the first thing he suggested I do made it clear that he hadn't really been paying attention when I said the printer had no power. Once I repeated that for him, he suggested I check to see if the power supply (external on this printer, thankfully) was warm to the touch. Bingo! It was not, and a properly functioning power supply should be. I thanked him, ended the chat session and popped over to parts & supplies where I ordered a new power supply. It was around $40 plus shipping, but that's a lot cheaper than a new printer. Since the printer was 2 years old, I figured it was a good investment - I'm not ready to replace it. The power supply arrived about three days later, I plugged it in and the problem was resolved. Because things were so slow that month, I really didn't suffer from having no printer for nearly a week and I was pleased that the solution had turned out to be a simple one.

All was well in printer-land until this past Tuesday night. It was late and I was about to head up to bed when I noticed that the power light on my printer was off. "Uh-oh" was my first thought, as I hopefully pressed the "on" button and waited, in vain, for it to light up. Damn. Checked the power supply immediately. Room temperature. Double-damn. Looked in my credit card bills to confirm December order date. It's too late at night for me to be able to do much else, but I know I've got to get a new power supply ASAP because I have guests checking in the next day, the day after and then a full house checking in on Friday. I use the printer to print out my check-in sheets, invoices if necessary, notes for late-arriving guests, etc. This is NOT the same situation as December, when I didn't really need the printer.

Before even having coffee the next morning (Wednesday) I called HP tech support. We went over the problem and the history. The tech looked up my order and sent me over to the parts department. The person in the parts department who took my call quoted me a price on the part. I remained calm and told him that since I was replacing a power supply that was 3 months old, I expected them to send me a new one for free. I also made it clear I expected nothing less than free shipping, next day if possible. It took a little time, but I eventually got approval for a free replacement and shipping, although I was given a Monday delivery date - best he could do, he said. Okay, I figured that was as good as I was going to get and I'd figure something out for the weekend's printing needs. My phone time invested: 48 minutes (by the timer on my handset).

Later that day, after an unsuccessful attempt to hook up a fairly old printer and an equally unsuccessful attempt to access my husband's printer off our home network, I got a shipping notification email from HP. When I looked at it I discovered that the part had, in fact, been shipped FedEx next-day. It arrived and it solved the problem. I was pleased enough to email HP and thank them for the help.

Now let's keep our fingers crossed that this power supply doesn't quit on me after another three months, because that will put me smack in the middle of my busy season.

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