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Tag Archives: Roodee

tl;dr?  Customer service seems to be a very rare thing these days, but these people still provide excellent customer service: PWR+, Quality Watch Repair.

I’ve been thinking about customer service lately.  Mostly, I’ve been thinking about how customer service is severely lacking these days.  Ok, so mostly I’ve been thinking about these examples of poor customer service (oh, and I suppose I should warn you about salty language should you not wish to brine your brain):

Ok, yes, these were brought to my attention only because I stalk some incredibly geeky yet popular people on the internets.  And yes, three of the examples involve one company and probably could be consolidated into one example.  And yes yes, I do believe that all of these issues were resolved in the end.  (I think all but the post on the Ocean Marketing PR disaster include links to new posts on the resolution.  You can google for Gabe’s resolution with Ocean.)  But still, wth?  This is how you treat people these days?  In particular, this is how to you treat customers these days?  In case you’ve forgotten, a customer is

A customer is someone a company depends upon to purchase their commodity or service.  If you depend upon someone for your financial survival, shouldn’t that logically lead you to conclude that you ought to treat that person fairly at the very least?  I realize that sometimes you’ll have the overbearing individual who tries to wheedle for more than what was agreed upon.  I understand that you may wish to discourage that one individual (politely!) in giving you repeat business.  I mean, you need to remain sane to run your business and dealing with such people probably will drive you insane.

But in the above examples, the customer wasn’t being overbearing.  They were normal customers.  They could have been you or me.  And they were treated terribly, TERRIBLY, by the other party and with no reasonable explanation.  I’m also pretty sure there was a resolution to these cases because the other party picked on some popular people.  If something like that had happened to me, I would probably just have to take it.  It’s messed up, I tell you.

So, that’s the background of the whole thing.  It’s what I expect now from customer service and I’m pleasantly surprised when I’m treated politely.  Politely!  Which really should be the baseline of how we treat anyone.  Isn’t that sad?  Why should I be pleasantly surprised when I’m treated like how one human being should treat another?  What happened to politeness and respect?

Now then, I said background, right?  That implies that there is a foreground.  Otherwise, you would just have…ground.  So here’s the foreground.  I recently had two different entities provide me with wonderful customer service.  Wonderful.  It was full of wonder.  These people really did go above and beyond.

First, PWR+.  I managed to lose Codename Roodee’s AC adapter a few months back.  Or at least, I found out I had lost it a few months back and I may have lost it a long time before that.  You might find that really weird, since Roodee is my runner.  You would think Roodee’s battery would have died and I would have realized that I couldn’t charge it back up.  But no.  Because Alienware has been purchased by Dell, they all use Dell AC adapters now.  There are Dell laptops everywhere.  I would normally just grab whichever one was handy and charge up Roodee’s battery with it.  That’s why I didn’t realize that his AC adapter was missing for so long.  I thought about buying another one from Dell, but after my recent dealings with them (oh yeah, here‘s another example of bad customer service, but this one isn’t of maliciousness but one of general cluelessness) I didn’t really want to do that.  I found PWR+ makes cheaper AC adapters AND with smaller footprints!  So I purchased one through Amazon and then it broke two months later.  Electronic components fail.  This is something I know very well.  If a component fails because of a defect, normally it’s within the first few times of using it.  In this case, it was two months of irregular usage before the defective component died (it was working fine up to that point).  The rep for PWR+ was very polite and helpful, even when I couldn’t immediately find my Amazon order ID, which is apparently the only way they can look up orders fulfilled through Amazon.  He was uncommonly patient while waiting for me to find the order ID and issued me an RMA number without any hassle.  I got a new adapter shipped out to me the same day they received my defective one.  It was a very pleasant experience over all.

And second, Quality Watch Repair (QWR).  I have been sending my watch (a ’98 ladies Seiko kinetic) to QWR for several years now.  Originally, it was because I couldn’t find watch repair places in my area that were willing to take a ladies kinetic (they’re supposedly very hard to work with because it’s a lot of mechanics packed into a very small space).  Well, after the Seiko repair factory closed down in LA, there wasn’t much else I could do besides send it out for repair.  I found QWR through a quick search online and after a brief vetting, it seemed promising.  So, I mentally prepared myself for the possibility of never seeing my watch again and sent it off (to Oregon).  You don’t always know what you’re getting with online merchants.  But, my watch came back in wonderful condition…each and every time I’ve sent it off.  Yes, I’ve sent my watch (and my dad’s and sister’s watches) to QWR several times.  Not because QWR hasn’t done an excellent job of repairing our watches, but because even after I’ve found places that were willing to take older Seiko kinetics, I’ve decided that dealing with QWR is more than worth the extra step of mailing them the watch (and waiting for it to be mailed back).  The people behind QWR are pleasant, patient, fair, and do quality work.  They readily communicate the status of your repair and suggestions on what needs to be done.  They even have a “quibble-free one year guarantee.”  The last time I sent my watch back, they deemed that it the issue was a warranty item and refunded me my shipping fees and diagnostic fee.  That really surprised me.  It would have been totally fair for QWR to keep my diagnostic fee and there was no reason for them to also pay for my shipping fees, but they did.  It really was a quibble-free guarantee.

And…those were my thoughts on customer service.  Apparently it still exists.  Sometimes it exists in abundance.  We should support those businesses that supply customer service in abundance.  And we should probably avoid those business in which there is a dearth of customer service.  That’ll learn them.

THIS. And note the pile of screws to the right.

That is the current state of LeeEv right now.  In case you have forgotten or were otherwise unaware, LeeEv is my main system at home.  Please note his current state of (mostly functional) disrepair.

I took the front bezel off of LeeEv because I had finally, FINALLY gotten around to ordering parts to fix the hinge mounts.  As you can see (by the logo that is also the power button), LeeEv is an Alienware laptop.  Specifically, he is an m15x circa 2009, pre-Dell takeover.  I have to say, his innards are marvelous.  And that screen is wonderful.  I really like it.  But I also have to say that his mechanical design SUCKS.  Big time.  It’s like the design team spent all their time trying to think up expensive parts to put inside the machine and make the outside LOOK nice, but function like…not well.

Remember how I told you that LeeEv’s left hinge had issues?

This is the left hinge.

Do you not see how stupid their hinge mount design was?  The hinges screw into some very flimsy plastic attached to the front cover.  Do you not see how much of that plastic has crumbled away?  The plastic was obviously not up to the job of dealing with a laptop hinge.

Well, after dealing with maer’s hinge earlier last week, I finally decided to order parts from Dell to fix LeeEv’s hinges.  Yes, that’s right.  Dell.  Alienware was bought out by Dell.  It’s not really a huge deal, except that I am firmly convinced that Dell has thrown out all the records for 2009.  I, lucky person that I am, bought LeeEv in June of 2009.  Dell took over Alienware in September.  The support issue for these pre-Dell Alienwares is murky.  Both sites say to go to Dell, but more often than not, I find that Dell reps have no idea what LeeEv looks like or what parts he needs.

Example #1: The first time I tried ordering parts for LeeEv, it was rather simple.  I just wanted a replacement power brick.  LeeEv draws a lot of power (it’s the ginormous screen and vid card) so the brick is correspondingly huge.  I had heard that after Dell took over, they redesigned the brick so that it was a more reasonable size.  I thought I’d pick one up so it’d be easier when LeeEv went with me on trips.  But when I looked that the part online, it looked like the plug was a different size.  I decided to verify with tech support.  She assured me that it was the correct part for my m15x even after I asked her to double and triple check because I had an older laptop.  She was adamant it was the right part.  Ok, fine.  I ordered it.  It arrived.  It was the wrong plug.  I had to go back to tech support and tell them about it AND THEY WOULDN’T BELIEVE ME.  I finally had to get out my calipers, measure the jack on LeeEv and then the plug on the new power supply and report both sizes, which are quite different, to them before they would believe me.  And I tried to tell them again that I had a 2009 Alienware m15x, not a current one.  They seemed to understand (I have since reconsidered).  I got to return the part with shipping covered both ways because the situation was so stupid.

Example #2: This one is directly related to the hinge problem.  I ordered the new hinges after talking to tech support again.  I told them several times that LeeEv was a 2009 m15x and that it didn’t look anything like the current generation.  The rep said she understood and looked up the parts for me.  I asked her to send me the quote, which she did.  I also asked if I was able to verify the parts online to make sure that they would fit my laptop.  She said pictures were not available online because the front cover was a rare part and only available through a direct quote.  Fine.  I ordered it anyway.  They came yesterday.  They are completely the wrong parts.  Oh shock and surprise.  The cover and the hinges they sent me are for the current generation of laptops.  Obviously, I am annoyed.  I talk with tech support again and again they don’t understand my problem.  They are placating, but they obviously have no idea what I’m talking about.  I actually have yet to obtain the RMA number to return the parts they sent me.  In the meantime, my right hinge now looks like this:

Destroyed.

It was already starting to go and when I was trying to see if I could somehow get the new hinges and cover to work on LeeEv (not even the slightest possibility), the right hinge mount gave out.  Yay.  That means LeeEv has two broken hips.  I’m propping the screen up using my sewing machine.  This whole thing is so dumb and I have precious little time to waste on it.

When I was looking into fixing the hinges before, I had chanced across a third party vendor that sells parts for older m15x’s.  They even have a photo of an older m15x on their site.  This…gives me hope.  It may be a false hope…but I will have to contact them and see if I can get parts to finally get LeeEv back running like a normal laptop.

Aside: Codename Roodee, my runner system, is also an Alienware (an m11x), but I acquired Roodee only last year.  Dell has since redesigned the hinge mount completely and the whole unit feels much more solid than LeeEv ever did.  If you’re looking into buying an Alienware but are skittish about the manufacturing quality, I can assure you that if you buy a new one (gen 3 or later for an m11x, I assume something comparable for the other laptops) the build quality is excellent and what you expect it to be for the price you pay for an Alienware.  I am quite satisfied with Roodee.