June 16th, 2014

granada holmes

Today's big accomplishment was that I finished looking over a story for a friend in the Sherlock fandom. I think I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed working on stories as a beta, particularly with people i know beyond just that relationship. It felt good, though, and I really enjoyed it. After that I went to church, rewatched some Doctor Who, took a nap - lazy Sunday, you know.

The biggest frustration this week is I lost a file with about two-thirds of a completed Sherlock story and recreating it is a bit hard. I have about half of what I'd originally had in a file but its really very stale, so I think I'm going to have to put it on the backburner, work on some other things and get back to it with a fresh mind in a week or two. I actually have two other stories in various stages of completion, so it's not like that' a real problem. Still, it's really very frustrating because it was shaping up to be a decent story. Still will, I hope.

(ETA: And apparently the story is back on, with a fresh vigor and bigger scope. If I ever need to motivate Le Muse, apparently publicly declaring that "this is what I'm trying to do but it's just not working" is quite effective.)

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Now this keyboard is getting on my last nerve and my elbow's acting up on repeatedly working to type 's' so I should probably go. My people need me.
granada holmes

and the award for worst quality customer service goes to...


It's a tie, actually, between Hewlett Packard and FedEx. FedEx is always a favorite in this category, so much that it takes quite a scrappy little underdog to even dream of sharing the award, so hats off to HP in that regard.

Bless their hearts.

And in all fairness, HP really did step up their game. Usually they're mediocre, sometimes even downright helpful. They let me chat with a tech who can actually provide solutions and take actions without me having to talk to a person in real-time, and better yet, without having to wait on hold or navigate phone menus. Their techs not only fix actual problems but have helped me set more optimal settings in different programs to get better performance, and in a few cases have transferred me to other companies' tech support chats that use compatible systems. (Like when I had a problem with malware, they were able to transfer me into a chat with a Norton Antivirus tech, my company, who walked me through the restore process.) They send me boxes when the computer needs physical repairs and provide actual pick-ups from my apartment. (From FedEx, which granted earns them points in "worst company of all time" just from the association, but that's not really their fault at the end of the day. They're more likely to win a recommendation out of me to a friend. Granted, they'd earn major points toward the more commendable goal of actually being useful if they allowed pickup and deliveries on weekends, even if it meant longer transit times, but generally I've found their service to be at least B-. Hardly the company I thought would give FedEx a run for its money.

I'd arranged a mail-in repair for the keyboard thing on Wednesday of last week, and HP sent me out the box next business day per usual. So I spent all of Thursday and all of Friday waiting for the FedEx guy. No delivery either day, at least that rung my buzzer. On Thursday my "well, we tried..." ticket was half-stuck under someone else's, and I think what they did was try to ring the other dude and never even tried my door. Which, okay, mistakes happen. And this weekend was flag day so maybe they had more shipping than usual because of the holiday so didn't get to me on Friday? No ticket, no door-rings. But I get that mistakes happen. That's some pretty low-level corporate-induced inconvenience. The true moment of awe-full WTFery comes when the man who finally delivered my "package" (this is just a box to ship the computer back in) wouldn't wait two minutes for me to box the computer up so he could take the package out again - because I have the higher-priced, quicker, supposedly lets you schedule your hours of convenience for pick-up and drop-off level of shipping rather than the lower, they had to send another guy out to collect it.

Which is really quite an impressive performance in this category. I'm still waiting on the pickup. TO their credit they did promise to be hear within two hours. I asked if I could take the longer four-hour window if they started from the time they actually promised to deliver my package (three hours before said call), just to tweak the poor person working that job. Bad Marta, no cookie, I know. I was simultaneously frustrated and really very amused by the sheer idiocy of the whole situation.

The reason HP earned a tie is because their usual rather high level of service was just... not there. For some reason the support program that's native to my computer crashes every time I try to start up the chat-with-a-tech feature. Which, okay, that's not really the company's fault, certainly not the service department. Then they redesigned their website so the pay-per-use support is front and center, but the covered-under-warranty chat is nowhere to be found. URL not only changes but is tied to the session after you log in, so it can't be bookmarked. And it doesn't show up on search for some reason. That meant it took me a while to find it every time I needed it. Again, not a reflection on the support per se, but hardly a promising start to the whole process.

They have added a LogMeIn feature which is pretty cool: it lets you agree to let the other person control your desktop and look at your settings directly. Which is fine except we're also chatting so she effectively kept cutting me off by exiting the chat window while I was talking. She also suggested. She even closed a file without my permission that didn't need closing, without saving it and without apologizing or even commenting on it. It was DropBox so I can retrieve all but the last half-hour or so of work, but it was still pretty inconsiderate. The tech also said the crash we were trying to resolve was my fault (those precise words; how do you work in support and not learn to never lay blame on the customer) because I had too many programs running (as I'd just explained, it was three: Chrome, Word, and Spotify), and that I really shouldn't be using anything other than the supported, native browser of Inteernet Explorer. Apparently the concept that a computer should be able to manage Google !@#$ Chrome was too much.

All of which sounds like I'm grousing. I guess I am. But I'm also chuckling because it was such a bad customer-service job on so many, creative levels, when all I really wanted to do was have them look into this problem when I sent the computer in and she just needed to make a note in the file.

It's too close to call, I think. Looked at objectively FedEx definitely did the worse job (and they still have thirty-seven minutes to get here or I shall be seriously, seriously ticked off), but I must commend HP for really putting in a surprisingly strong performance. Now if we could only get them to do this in a category people might actually want to win... ;-)