We all know whether we buy a two hundred dollar notebook or a seven thousand dollar gaming system we expect a product that works as advertised. Often in my time working with computers I have heard people refer to computers that experience issues time and again as lemons. Lemon laws are American state laws that provide a remedy for purchasers of cars that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance.
It is understandable that a person experiencing multiple failures could believe their computer is just a lemon and should be completely replaced. More often than not however, you will find that an entire computer is not a lemon. Perhaps a specific part or a combination of parts can lead to repeated issues, but if those parts are replaced or exchanged the issue will go away.
In this day and age the lemon is not with the computer, but the company it was sold from. It is one thing to have issues with a system, but receive first class service from day one and it is entirely another to receive good service at the start, but receive increasingly bad service during the life of your warranty and beyond.
When a computer company is formed the number one goal should be customer service. It should be the best it can be and remain consistent day after day, year after year. Computer issues can arise from many different areas from hardware, to software. Just surfing the internet can produce errors that will make you want to tear your hair out, but if you are able to call your computer company service line and get honest, helpful answers from them it makes the overall experience more tolerable.
The true lemon comes when there is a lapse in a company’s customer and technical service. This can happen for many reasons, but it mainly does due to the business model that if a department is not bringing in revenue it is not as important. When companies tighten their belts it is not the belts of the CEO’s or shareholders that get tightened, it is the belts of the customer and technical service personnel.
When this happens staffing is cut and personnel becomes overworked which can and usually does lead to lower quality and performance. In addition when new workers are added to fill positions due to large turnover rates, training is cut and lower skilled workers are accepted to match the lowered pay grade. Combined with overseas outsourcing and merging of departments and divisions, the once five star support you use to receive can quickly become two star or less.
With three to five year computer warranties being offered customers should expect the same level of quality throughout the life of their warranty and beyond. If a company changes its practices or policies which results in lower quality support the customer should be compensated. In a perfect world a company would do everything in its power to insure that their customers do not experience a drop in service no matter how long the company has been operating.
Unfortunately, as many companies grow larger and merge together the added money and personnel does not translate to improved support. On the contrary, it has been shown many times in and outside the world of computers that when this happens the first noticeable difference is a drop in customer satisfaction.
There are of course exceptions, companies that have grown or come together and made it a goal to improve service. This should not be an exception, but a norm. Just as a customer expect a product to keep a high level of performance so should they of the support behind it.
Over the next few weeks I will be showcasing examples of high and low end customer service in the world of the personal computer. My hope is to shed some light on the companies that turn their back on their customers and applaud the ones that don’t because I refuse to sit by and watch the slow painful death of customer service.