customers, computers, support, staff

Do they? Or is it the other way around, staff support computers? Or staff support other staff, who in turn support computers? Alternatively, customers supporting themselves and turning to friends in-the-know, when the so-called support don’t help.

Recently I have experienced both, a crap customer service and the polar opposite. This is such a ridiculous side-by-side comparison, it’s hilarious.

Case 1 :
I bought a new laptop from the ALDI supermarket. Much the same deal as the desktop I am writing on just now, only in a modern laptop (notebook) form. Took it home, plugged in the power and then it wouldn’t connect to the internet at all. For the techos, the ethernet/LAN driver was shot and it refused to install from the CD. Obviously yours is working because you are reading this.

Your satisfaction is our aim! My first call to the MEDION tech support must have been before his second coffee: he suggested I take the machine back to the shop and exchange it for a working computer. If it weren’t for the fact that ALDI sell out their stock on these deals by lunch-time, that could have been the end of it. ALDI helped me by confirming they were sold out, as expected. My 11:54AM call back to MEDION tech support yielded little more than the standard parry resulting in a 2 day wait for the out-sourced repairers to contact me about collecting the faulty machine…

IMG_2883Well, nothing to lose, all these new computers come loaded to the hilt with bloat-ware. So let’s wipe the hard drive and start fresh. Before proceeding with plan B, I did notice the other glitch which you can see here, but thought it might just be a once off…

Plan B went well. A clean installation of Windows XP Home with Service Pack 2 on a freshly formatted partition not only got rid of the bloat-ware, but also, a miracle, I could install the ethernet/LAN driver. Hooray! I was about to start having faith in this new contraption when the speakers peeped and again the screen turned up the lovely psychedelic pattern, as before. The machine is paralysed. All I can do is power down and re-start it. The paralysis re-occurs at transient frequency, not as a result of any action whatsoever…

NVIDIA_errorI called the MEDION tech support again. This is where it turns … fishy. I revealed my marvelous photography to Mr Tech Support, who suggested that I install a driver for the graphics card. A driver that is newer than that listed on MEDION website’s compatible list… So I’ll try that and of course I can’t force the problem to re-occur, so for now, end of discussion. I download the driver from NVIDIA‘s website only to find this doesn’t work. It’s after 6:30PM on Friday and the MEDION Help Desk is closed for the weekend. Coincidentally, MEDION MD 96015 has a BIOS update made available on their website this afternoon. Let us be there for you! Read the BIOS update fine print.

For any errors, caused by the execution of this update, we don’t accept any responsibility for damage or lost of data.The customer agrees with that fact by executing the update.

I am now 2 days into the warranty period, and another 2 burn-up before I can ask anything about this update. Monday morning it’s 8:49AM and the result of the latest phone call to my new friend at the MEDION tech support reveals :

  • nothing about the BIOS update!
  • graphics drivers can’t be installed – yes, I figured that out days ago!
  • despite my imminent departure for China, we still can’t get a service guy to call me within 2 business days, that’s not counting today even though it’s not yet 9:00AM!

Case 2 :
DELL InspironAfter reporting on this pitiful situation to my best mate, I’d decided to try get a DELL instead. Their website listed a good special on a laptop computer with more grunt and a bigger screen. They throw in free delivery and a second battery, provided you buy via the online store. A couple hundred dollars more, but hey, I’ll get the GST back because I’m flying out soon. The big question is can I get one in time before my departure?

I call the number (worth noting down if you are suffering – 1300 730 755). A lovely woman named Ally listened to my somewhat urgent need for a new computer. First she gave me her direct contact number in case I need it at any stage. Next she assured me she could arrange prompt delivery and sell me the exact deal I was seeing on the web page. Sold! She gave me the order number and sent the order confirmation within just minutes.

I was in awe. I replied to Ally’s email with a short thanks and a commendation on her professionalism. I’m absolutely dumbstruck that it can be so easy. And I thought this level of service can only be found in Japan. It’s 2:15PM on Wednesday and I’ve just been called by the DELL delivery agent to confirm that delivery between 9:00AM and 1:00PM on Tuesday will be a suitable time (it would have been Monday if it weren’t for the public holiday).

Wow, it arrived on Friday, well ahead of schedule! Wow!

Conclusion :
MEDION, your PC support sucks. I recommend you keep a stock of any new computer that is sold through the ALDI shops (your only? distribution point for computers). Surely it’s a worthwhile investment to have at least 1 unit on hand. That way when a faulty machine problem occurs, you can solve it for the customer at least and save yourself ridicule and embarrassment. Also please train your help desk staff to not suggest returning the product for exchange – everyone knows ALDI sell out their computer stock in a matter of minutes.

From the MEDION website‘s Company Overview :

MEDION includes a particularly important element within its overall service package for retail companies and manufacturers in the form of direct after-sales support for end-users. A hotline at MEDION’s local call center provides a high level of support on matters relating to use, guarantee settlement and repeat orders. Specialists from MEDION familiarize themselves with product features prior to their introduction and communicate their ‘know-how’ to call center employees. MEDION performs any repairs needed, and for certain products, if necessary, within the UK commissions an on-site service which offers advice or performs repairs at the customer’s home or office.

Come on guys, get it together. Really.