The Death of Customer Service – The new Lemon law

lemon law computer
lemon law computer

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.

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.

0 thoughts on “The Death of Customer Service – The new Lemon law

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  • February 6, 2010 at 8:44 AM
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    Well, at least from a customer’s view this IS law. But why ? I am searching since several years for the reason why service does not grow with the company’s size and decreases every year. Finally this is quite easy to explain: the typical customer wants the best service for the best product at the lowest price, and if there’s no service there’s still lowest price. This behaviour just routes us to more reaction in less time with less profit. So it’s just a consequence cutting costs of after sales which is service by the way. People just ignore that a price of a product does (could or better should) include severals secondary costs like service. Due to a transparent market (we love internet) there’s nothing easier than to compare and deal with prices. And now we are wondering why we loose service since resellers get more and more transparent. Don’t get me wrong, I like the technical progress, but the way we are using it and what we expect behind it is by far disputable. With a global transparent market you can expect the death of service or rather the separation of product and service. There are still exceptions (Apple?), but when talking about company philosophy and market behaviours you need to know that the most important part is the customers buying behaviour. And today and tomorrow this is in primary just the much most transparent (service loosing) price ever.

  • February 6, 2010 at 2:27 PM
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    I’d rather have the days when you paid more for customer service but you actually could talk to people who know the product and it’s real defects.

    The global trend since the 90s is throwing quality out the window to lower costs. The only point of that is lowering operating costs. They figure that by making things cheaper they will get more customers which will make up for how many of their customers they alienate with the shitty service.

    Apart from that they screwed over all the techs and engineers that in the past had good high paying jobs with outsourced peons that get a few pennies in comparison. There is no incentive to go into the tech field for most people unless they really love it and want to make life harder for themselves.

  • February 6, 2010 at 3:45 PM
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    Yes, true. But what to expect from a customer who can decide between paying $ 50 or 100 $ for the same product. When paying you don’t see all relations about the contract and maybe I never need service. So what to expect when there’s only the decision about price ?

  • February 8, 2010 at 3:25 PM
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    Well if you’re buying from a company you need service. If not, you’d be building your own PC/car/whatever already and you’re your own tech support/mechanic. Even then eventually you will have to contact a manufacturer and either have to deal with great or crappy service, most likely crappy service if they outsource.

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