Disappointing Computer Store Service

When’s the last time you had good service from a large-scale computer store or Internet provider? I’m beginning to wonder, because I’ve witnessed an increasing lack of quality from both.

There’s a particular reseller – I’ll call them Charlie’s Dynamite Wares – which used to be terrific. They stocked just about every part and had fantastic customer service. But slowly, the quality of service began to degrade. It started with a change in sales rep. My dynamite dude was promoted, and I ended up with some joe I’d never worked with before. The first few orders had tiny flaws, nothing major but not the usual top-notch service. But when minor errors became major hassles for my customers, I drew the line.

One client received three brand-new laptops, all with broken wireless out of the box. Another customer went through four print servers that wouldn’t work with his printer, despite our giving the sales rep the exact model. My own orders went wrong, too. I had to physically go to the store to look at one particular part to make sure it was correct – turns out it wasn’t, and I had to wait a half hour while they found the right one. Changing reps made no difference; the entire concept of customer service has been redefined.

So, too, with some Internet service providers. Sneaky fees, unreliable connections and nonexistent tech support equals unhappy customers. Worse, many people have no cost-effective alternatives for high-speed Internet.

Interestingly, it’s my home users and small businesses who are having the most trouble. The big companies, who pay extra for SLAs (service-level agreements), are still getting good service. It’s the little people left in the lurch, the ones who don’t have the cash for a dedicated rep or special support.

On the other hand, there’s my local mom-and-pop shop. The owners are friendly, knowledgeable, and quick to fix anything that goes awry. It doesn’t matter if the part I’m ordering is for a gigantic company or my neighbor’s grandma. Have these larger companies forgotten that all customers are worthy of quality service?

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