Andy climbing in Promised Land

Whatever happened to service?

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich, RLC Design, Wide Format Printing 3 Comments

Ah, for this post I’m feeling a little aggravated. So, it’s a vent post.

First off, I’m not including any company names yet, but I’m getting close. I’ll give these folks a chance to make things right, and we’ll go from there.

3 weeks ago I noted that the Z3100 was feeling poorly.  Bottom line, it can’t print glossy media for me at all.  Banding and streaking are occurring, and after speaking with HP the suspicion is that the carriage is not adjusting properly depending on the thickness of media that I’m putting into it.  With canvas and thick art papers like Optica One it’s doing fine.  On HP PID gloss and other glosses (including the Red River Metallic) it starts banding half way through a 16×24.  No good.

So, on June 3rd I called in a trouble ticket with my service plan company.  The woman I spoke with seemed rather confused.  Okay, very confused.  She told me she couldn’t find a service center near me, and she would need to research on what service center should be used in my case.  We left the conversation in an odd spot.  She told me, “We’ll get back in touch within 3-5 days with more information on the service center sir……..”

Hmmmm?  3-5 business days, or just days?  That wasn’t clear.

Finally, last Thursday I got tired of waiting and called the service plan company again.  The person who initially answered me transferred me to the computer help desk folks.  The gentleman I spoke to was actually very helpful.  He looked into what had transpired, and told me that for some reason the first support person I spoke with put my trouble into a service center in Michigan.  Michigan?  Really?  He apologized for the clear error and called in my trouble with a national support company that they deal with.

Within about 15 minutes the national service providers called me to get my information, information on the trouble, etc.  I was pretty enthused.  A call back.  That’s nice.

Well, we got a trouble ticket number and the scheduler on the phone told me I would be contacted shortly regarding scheduling a service visit……that was last Thursday the 10th.

Today I decided it was time to follow up again.  I called the “national service” company with my ticket number that they’d assigned me.  The gentleman on the phone took a few minutes and then told me they’d determined last week that they did not service my particular piece of equipment.  He also told me that they got in touch with my extended service plan company and advised them they would not take the service call.

Funny…..nobody called me.

So, once again, I called my service plan company.  The initial person I talked to didn’t have much information, but she did acknowledge that they were informed by the national service company that they would not take the trouble.  I asked why I wasn’t contacted, and was given no reason.  She then put me through to the computer help desk again.

Finally, reaching the help desk I encountered an “unhelpful” gentleman, nothing like last week’s guy who really was all over it (in a good way).  I couldn’t even get this fellow’s name.  Sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles throughout the call.  Seriously, lots of folks at call centers seem to be eating when they take your call, or maybe they just had oral surgery.  Gosh, they should take the day off if they had oral surgery…

We determined that yes indeed, the other company refused to work on my issue.  He had another company option for me, and told me that in a few days I should be contacted.  He did not provide me with the service company’s contact information (the last guy did provide that), and I had to ask twice what this newest company’s name is.  I also asked if a new ticket ID would be issued for my reference (like the last company).  He had no ticket number for me.  So, it was left that I should hear back from them soon, but nothing specific.

I’ll tell you the bummer items.  And I do understand that service plan companies are insurance companies, but a few items bugged me.

  • Every person I’ve called so far asks a few standard questions, and they’re always the same questions even though we’re 3 weeks into the issue.
  • Each person I have spoken to has triple checked the price of the item, and exclaimed, “That’s the price of the printer, are you sure?”
  • The price of the printer seems more important to each person than my issue.
  • Each person has to have me re-explain the issue.  Haven’t they been taking notes?  Do they have a computer system?  It doesn’t seem like it.
  • They’re all trained to say, “I understand your frustration sir…..” generically.  Let me tell you, I haven’t raised my voice yet, but I’m about to.  3 weeks of runaround and “understanding.”   NO service.  Understanding will not keep me in business.

Now, I’d suggest you keep your eyes open for a post this time next week.  If I don’t get actual support then I’ll talk about all groups involved.  I mean a month of pursuing an issue with a service company will not rate as acceptable, and I’ll feel free mention companies involved.  Hopefully instead I’ll be blogging that I final got some support.  I mean, I did pay for it.

Finally, this issue has been extremely costly.  What’s gone on?

  • For the first week when the issue arose I spent 2 full days cleaning print heads, diagnosing the issue, reprinting test swatches, cleaning again, etc.
  • I’ve wasted an entire roll of HP PID paper testing the issue.  Not cheap.  I’ve dumped ink purging the heads, cleaning the heads, running test prints, etc.  Ran new cartridges down by 25% with all the testing.  You don’t want to know what ink costs for this thing.
  • New print heads (say several hundred dollars) have been installed just in case.  The prior print heads weren’t the issue, so I threw away several hundred dollars.  Let me tell you, small business here.  Tossing money out the window is not a fun prospect.
  • In 4 weeks time I’ve turned down more than $1000 worth of glossy work.  A client called this past weekend with a $400+ glossy print job.  I had to explain to her why I couldn’t do it.  She called again yesterday to see if there’s any progress.  I had to tell her no progress had been made.
  • My next concern is that this will start impacting the canvas soon.  I really need service.  If the printer goes down I can promise you, the business could go down right behind it.  Small business margins are thin, you’d think service companies would understand that.

Now that I’m done venting I feel a little better.  I’d feel a lot better if somebody would show up here soon and help me run this trouble down.  I know my customers would appreciate it too!

Comments 3

  1. I hate to laugh, but it’s so ironic because I did a post just yesterday about the lack of customer service as well…

    We live in trying times….SLA’s, scripted call sheets, and blinders make everything tougher
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Free advertising from me today… =-.

  2. Post
  3. I’ve been reading your blog for only a month, but sure enjoy the photos. AFter reading today’s post, I feel for you. I think at this point I would call HP and ask for a replacement. Try and get the Sales Manager or his assistant. I’ve never purchased “service contracts” because I feel they are overpriced, and the chance of getting any satisfaction from them when needed is almost nil. Plus they lock you in with the company that produced the lemon.

    On a different note: do you ever use slave flash? Just curious. I bought one last week for a very reasonable price on ebay, and haven’t experimented with it much.

    I live in Phoenix, and hope to visit your shop sometime in the next month or two.

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