Just ask /dev/null

Revently I’ve had service-related questions for both HP and Sony. No problem, they have nice feedback/question forms on their web sites, so you just ask and get a response within two business days or as soon as possible.

Problem is, it looks like my questions have gone to the Great Bit Bucket In The Sky. And no one cares about them there. Complaints? Questions? Just ask /dev/null.

A complaint to Wired magazine subscriptions in autumn about missing issues was processed slightly better, but it was hard to believe that the answers I was getting weren’t written by bots, they were so unclear and imprecise. I finally got a missing issue in the mail and a refund on my credit card without them asking for the credit card number.

What worries me the most is that quality of service seems to become an obsolete concept. Give us your money, get your stuff, shut up.

On a positive note, I’ve had a pleasing experience with Apple’s service when I ordered my Powerbook in January. A question about delivery date was answered within ten minutes by a real person via email, with precise information about how to track the delivery on their website.

As business becomes more and more open, I’m afraid companies who do not take customer service seriously will follow the way of dinosaurs. Business Darwinism at work ;-)

4 Responses to Just ask /dev/null

  1. My Apple customer support experience is not that good. I asked them if there is any particular reason that their Powerbooks are that *MUCH* cheaper in the US online shop. (Did you notice?) After about two weeks without a reply I tried again. Again – no reply since then…

  2. I’m glad I didn’t say “Apple service is great, others suck”. One’s mileage obviously varies, and bad experiences are rather the norm today with service.
    As for US prices being cheaper, there’s no logic to it other than shipping costs, but many US manufacturers let Europeans (and Swiss ;-) pay more for their products. Maybe because we’re dumber, or richer? It’s interesting that they don’t answer your inquiries…

  3. Well, 3300 US$ vs 4060 EUR… 3.300 US$ <=> 2.780 EUR. Even if you add -let’s say- 16% tax (since in the US usually tax is not included) we end up at about 3.225 EUR in the US store vs 4.060 EUR in the german store. 4.060 – 3.225 = 835 EUR. That’s more than a flight to the US! :) Maybe they sponsor flights of their employees. They only need to “transport” a Powerbook into Europe. I guess I know why they are not answering ;)

    To sum it up: if one does not care about a “qwerty” vs a “qwertz” keyboard – get yourself a Powerbook in the US ;)

  4. You got it all wrong. You send the question via /dev/null, but you should look at /dev/zero for the (verbose but monotonous) answer. ;-)

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