My nearly-new Compaq desktop system began sending me error messages recently: Warning! Your hard disk is at risk of imminent failure! I’ve had this thing for six bloomin’ months and already a meltdown? Sheesh…so I called the handy toll-free support line at Compaq/HP.
I was pleased to talk to a live human being in less than five minutes. But I just don’t think his name was really Tyler. He sounded like Fisher Stevens in the Short Circuit movies (remember those?) and I could almost picture him grinning and saying, "Number Jonny Five, do not be doing that!" But "Tyler" was pleasant and walked me through the steps to diagnose my problem. Finally they came to the astounding conclusion that my hard drive was going bad. (Hello…isn’t that what Windows said was the problem?) I was referred to several other technicians who also came to the same conclusion (why did it make me feel like I was in a scene from the Three Stooges?)
They ended up promising to send me a new hard drive with instructions and a set of recovery CD’s to reinstall all my software. Three days or so later, the hard drive arrived as promised. But no recovery CD’s. I waited a couple of days and finally called them back. Another friendly Indian-sounding voice with an American-sounding name promised to send me the disks overnight. Four days later the disks arrived. Then began the ordeal. Swapping the hard drives wasn’t bad. But getting the recovery disks to finish installing Vista and whatever else it had to do has been a nightmare. It would boot me into Windows and tell me to stand by, that more installations had to be completed. And I waited, and waited and waited.
Four hours later I decided to peek at whatever was going on behind that screen with CTRL+ALT+DEL into the task manager. Behind the screen were two small windows. One was a process logger that was counting down from 16 hours. The other was a little window that said 37%. So I waited awhile longer Four hours later, still at 37% and down to 12 hours and counting. This was nuts.
So I chatted online with another friendly representative of HP named Alfred (what do they do, watch old Batman movies over there?). Alfred’s chat was enlightening. "Please be assured that I’m fully committed to resolve the issue we have in hand." and "I fully understand you concern do not worry we will put out best effort to resolve this issue" while I was typing my explanation of what happened. Finally he said he wanted me to ship my system back to HP for repair, which would take 5 to 7 business days. I explained I couldn’t be without a working system that long, and he offered to send me another set of recovery disks. So I gave him my serial number and he wrote, "Thank you, provide me 5 minutes to pull out your record." and when it was done, "You are most welcome, I will provide you interaction id for the service provide me 5 more minutes please."
So now I await the friendly FedEx man who is almost on a first name basis with our family. And HP was kind enough to send me a transcript of our online chat plus a message that said, "We came to know that you were on the support chat line with our technician and we were delightful to know that you have been a wonderful customer .It was a great opportunity for us to serve you here. Hope the steps provided resolved the issue. In case the issue persists, please get back to us with the results and we will investigate further and resolve the issue. Please get in touch with us even if you face the simplest of concerns. We would be more than happy to serve you and get that most important smile on your face with our support."
I think Jonny Five could have fixed my system in less than ten minutes.